Publication Date: 14/02/2024 ISBN: 9780300269604 Category:

Love and Marriage in the Age of Jane Austen

Rory Muir

Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 14/02/2024 ISBN: 9780300269604 Category:


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What happened when Jane Austen’s heroines and heroes were finally wed?

Marriage is at the centre of Jane Austen’s novels. The pursuit of husbands and wives, advantageous matches, and, of course, love itself, motivate her characters and continue to fascinate readers today. But what were love and marriage like in reality for ladies and gentlemen in Regency England?

Rory Muir uncovers the excitements and disappointments of courtship and the pains and pleasures of marriage, drawing on fascinating first-hand accounts as well as novels of the period. From the glamour of the ballroom to the pressures of careers, children, managing money, and difficult in-laws, love and marriage came in many guises: some wed happily, some dared to elope, and other relationships ended with acrimony, adultery, domestic abuse, or divorce. Muir illuminates the position of both men and women in marriage, as well as those spinsters and bachelors who chose not to marry at all.

This is a richly textured account of how love and marriage felt for people at the time-revealing their unspoken assumptions, fears, pleasures, and delights.

Publisher Review

"Muir's well-informed, entertaining book surveys romantic love and marriage among the real-life counterparts of Austen's characters in an England threatened with invasion and agitated by calls for political reform."-Jenny McAuley, Financial Times "Digs wide and deep into the historical record to provide a documentary account of what falling in love and living happily ever after really involved in late Georgian England."-Kathryn Hughes, Sunday Times "[Muir] draws on fiction, diaries, letters, biographies and the work of social historians to present a panorama of experiences of love and marriage in gentry and aristocratic circles."-Norma Clarke, Times Literary Supplement "A delightful new book. . . . Animated by much original reading, here we see a colourful age in great colour."-Unseen Histories "The stories are compelling, and a liberal sprinkling of contemporary quotations makes this an absorbing read for anyone with an affection for the age."-Felicity Day, Who Do You Think You Are? "Muir evokes the romantic life of Regency Britain in all its variety, from flirtations and honeymoons to children and divorce."-Andrea Valentino, The Critic "There was more happiness in the married state among Jane Austen's contemporaries than you might think . . . a serious and worthwhile study."-Maggie Lane, Jane Austen Society Newsletter "Rory Muir's comprehensive, elegant, and incisive book will delight readers by shedding new light on a subject that we thought we knew everything about, but didn't."-Paula Byrne, author of The Real Jane Austen "An insightful exploration of Regency hearts and their entanglements. Muir's elegant yet compassionate history vividly reveals the realities of love and marriage, along a spectrum from difficulty to delight."-Hilary Davidson, author of Jane Austen's Wardrobe

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