Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners

DSC05960Jane Austen’s novels are set in the social context of Georgian society. Though she never intended to write a historical novel, today, her works provide a glimpse of the class to which she herself belonged- the gentry.

This book provides a witty commentary on Jane Austen’s world and the women who inhabit it. The book gives advice on how to refuse a proposal of marriage and what to wear for a morning walk, among many others. It continually addresses a social situation with WWAHD- “What would an Austen Heroine Do?”

The book observes that the most agreeable visits occur the morning after a ball where:

It is good manners for an unattached gentleman to call on his principal partner of the night before, to enquire after her health and continue their acquaintance. In the same way that Mr Darcy  comes to call on Elizabeth Bennet, when she is staying to the adjacent vicarage to where he is staying shows more than the usual attentiveness.

In today’s society such niceties are largely considered antiquated. Indeed, if a guy rings the day after he meets and dances with a girl, he might appear a bit too keen.

The etiquette guidelines set in the book is hardly for our modern times. It is however, a great window to times gone by, whether we mourn its passing or celebrate the dropping of its yoke.


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