Elizabeth Bennet has nothing on Kristen

Kristen and I don’t always agree on questions of taste. (We’ve settled on “modern organic” as the best way to describe our taste in home decor, but we continually argue over the term’s definition.) One thing we do agree on is this: Victorian romances kick oh-so-much ass. I guess you’d expect that from a paragon of modern elegance like Kristen, but it’s probably not the first thing you’d think of if I started ranting about great literature–especially if you knew me in high school when I was just a fat kid who liked porn (and had several years to wait before he got the pleasure of his first kiss). In my AP classes, I became acquainted with the classics of the genre: Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights (which, frankly, should have been remade into a vampire movie by now). For my senior English project, I probably surprised all my fans by choosing to analyze Flaubert’s Madam Bovary instead of, among others, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four–a novel I absolutely loved and had read several times by that point.

Then again, the choice is probably less surprising to anyone familiar with the mid-nineteenth century controversy surrounding Flaubert’s novel chronicling the adulterous lifestyle of the title character: When excerpts were released in the French press, Flaubert was tried (and eventually acquitted) for obscenity.

Basically, I chose the book because I thought there might be boobs in it.

Nearly ten years later, I couldn’t tell you whether Emma Bovary’s lusty chest was ever bared in the book, but I can tell you that the social (and personal) mores she cast off like so much nineteenth-century French clothing cemented my interest in the intricate social codes that held society together before the Great War tore society apart.

As an undergrad, I went so far as to track down a copy of The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, a codification of sorts of the medieval idealization of women and the proper way to pursue them (theoretically in a platonic way). These ideas not only helped set the tone for Arthurian romances by Chrétien de Troyes and others, but they clearly paved the way for the intricate courting methods described by Jane Austen and Emily Brontë.

Anyway, I thought of this when we turned the TV to a showing of Pride and Prejudice after SNL ended tonight. Now that I think about it, my personal fondness of the Victorian social codes probably played a big role in my decision to ask Kristen’s parents for their permission before I proposed to Kristen. I’ll eventually get those stories up here, but for now I just want to say that I’m glad Kristen didn’t react to my proposal of marriage like Elizabeth Bennet did to Mr. Darcy’s: “You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.”

Kristen just blacked out for a second and didn’t say anything. Take THAT, Jane Austen.

One comment

  1. “You have bewitched me, body and soul. And I never wish to be parted from you from this day forward.” — Mr. Darcy

    *Swoon*

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