A Portrait of the Project: our official website is announced!

I’m delighted to announce that the Nation, Genre and Gender Project’s official website is now up and running! We created this site (in association with Vermillion Design) in order to showcase some of what we do here at Nation, Genre and Gender, when we’re not overthinking Jane Austen’s novels or identifying weird gender tropes in…

Insult of the Week: inferior poets are absolutely fascinating

Ah, poetry.  One of the great literary forms, with a history stretching back as far as the earliest written word!  Beloved genre of such giants as Sappho, Homer, Chaucer, and the anonymous author of The Poetic Works of a Weird (1827).  Being writers themselves, surely our novelists must have a healthy respect for the poetical…

A little light political commentary

  “How very suddenly you all quitted the European Union in June! It must have been a most agreeable surprise to Mr. Farage to see you all join him so unexpectedly; for, if I recollect right, he has been at odds with the EU for many a year. He and Mr. Johnson, and his fellows…

Dowries and Dowagers; or, Conjectures on Why Lady Catherine de Bourgh is So Rude

It’s one of Pride and Prejudice‘s pivotal and iconic scenes.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who’s incensed at “an alarming report” about her nephew’s likelihood of marrying “a young woman without family, connections, or fortune”, travels to Longbourn to confront Elizabeth, confident of being able to persuade or bully her into dropping any matrimonial ambitions in…

When is Elizabeth Bennet’s Birthday?

In Breihan and Caplan’s excellent 1990 article Jane Austen and the Militia, which throws a considerable amount of light on the historical underpinnings of Pride and Prejudice, the authors argue persuasively that the book is set in the years 1794 and 1795, by picking up on the many small military-historical hints that Jane Austen dropped…

“A charming amusement for young people”

In Chapter 6 of Pride and Prejudice, Sir William Lucas and Mr Darcy exchange some thoughts on the merits of dancing… Sir Lucas proffers “What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society.” A less than impressed…

The 5 Least Important Characters in Pride and Prejudice

Two weeks ago we sent out a call to fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, to come answer a survey on how they rate the importance of the characters in the novel.  And the results are in! While we’re not going to release the full list of rankings just yet, I can assure you…

Pride and Prejudice and People

Are you one of Jane Austen’s legion of obsessive fans?  Have you read Pride and Prejudice once, or occasionally, or until the covers are falling off?  Do you know your Sir Lewis de Bourghs from your apothecary shopboys?  If so, we need your help! We’ve put together a survey which contains the full list of…

Wot larx: men in ladies’ clothing edition

While characters in some of our novels adopt the typical clothing of the opposite sex for serious purposes (for example, the title character in Katherine Cecil Thurston’s Max), others – especially gentlemen – disguise themselves solely for the lolz. Jane Eyre‘s Mr. Rochester famously dresses up as a fortune-teller in order to spy on his…

Insult of the Week: Not one agreeable quality

After her beloved sister Jane’s romantic disappointment, Lizzy has had enough of pleasant, wealthy bachelors: I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall…