Wednesday, February 24, 2010



Jane Austen dealt with these themes. And in the cloistered social and class contexts out of which she wrote of marriage as: economic bargain, expansion of family empire, social placement and attaining sinecure, she could still portray an ideal of marriage grounded on love as the coming togther of mature, well matched and complemetary sensibilities.

Flaubert's vision is so mordant that he makes Austen’s idea of marriage based on love, or any idea of marriage based on love, an impossibility. In him, there seems only sentimental vacuity, base exploitation of it, or the sheer hum drum of matches founded on calculated need, where personal compromise, sacrifice and self suppression in exchange for financial security and stability are marriage's grounds. From an oppressive and and almost totalitarian provincial conventionality and the sentimental, unrealizable, romantic dream of its escape, comes the inevitable tragedy that befalls Emma Bovary and her husband too in his unreal and perverse idealization of her.

What I find missing in the discussion here is, what I would argue, love, as complementary difference, as a necessary condition of, as someone put it, being married well.


So different, this man
And this woman:
A stream flowing
In a field.

William Carlos Williams

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