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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Northanger Abbey

    Hi! I am reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Could someone please help me out from the questions as below? Thanks!

    Q1: Did a clergyman has high social status in 18th century of the UK? How much did a clergyman earn at that time if you know? What is the difference between a clergyman and a pastor?

    Q2: Why did Jane Austen say this? Does the name of Richard refer to handsome?

    though his name was Richard - and he had never been handsome

    Q3: What 's the connotation of the words as below? Does it mean 'the more children, the better in the UK at that time"? And I sense Austen wrote this in sarcastic tone. Am I right?

    A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number.

    Q4: What did 'beggar petition' refer to?

    Q5: Is it true that in the 18th century women and men were not allowed to know each other voluntarily even they had happened to talk a few words with each other? Should they be introduced formally by somebody?

    Q6: Should the women always wear a bonnet if they were out?

    Q7: Could a girl refuse to marry a man her parents arranged if she didn't love him in the 18th century? Could the couple divorce at that time?


    No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard - and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings - and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on - lived to have six children more - to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features - so much for her person; and not less unpropiteous for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief - at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities - her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid - by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England.
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 27-Sep-2008 at 21:50.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Northanger Abbey

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hi! I am reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Could someone please help me out from the questions as below? Thanks!

    Q1: Did a clergyman has high social status in 18th century of the UK? How much did a clergyman earn at that time if you know? What is the difference between a clergyman and a pastor

    Clergymen had moderate status. They were men of position, but not of high status. Their stipend depended on the patron of the church and on the tithes paid by the parishioners. Some were rich, some were very poor. There is no fundamental difference between a clergyman and a pastor.



    Q2: Why did Jane Austen say this? Does the name of Richard refer to handsome?

    though his name was Richard - and he had never been handsome

    Jane Austen is here being ironic.

    Q3: What 's the connotation of the words as below? Does it mean 'the more children, the better in the UK at that time"? And I sense Austen wrote this in sarcastic tone. Am I right? As I said above, she is being ironic. "Northanger Abbey" is an ironic take on the currently fashionable "Gothick" novels, which were full of excess and unlikely situations.

    A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number.

    Q4: What did 'beggar petition' refer to? "The Beggar's Petition" - A poem: The Beggar's Petition by Thomas Moss

    Q5: Is it true that in the 18th century women and men were not allowed to know each other voluntarily even they had happened to talk a few words with each other? Should they be introduced formally by somebody?

    In polite society, an introduction was required before a man and a woman could be regarded as being of the same social set. There is nothing to stop men or women speaking to the other sex on everyday matters, such as saying "Thank you" if a door was held open.

    Q6: Should the women always wear a bonnet if they were out? Yes - a girl below the age of 16 could go bareheaded, but a woman who is over that age had to have their head covered in public.

    Q7: Could a girl refuse to marry a man her parents arranged if she didn't love him in the 18th century? Could the couple divorce at that time?

    Technically, yes, no girl could be forced into marriage. In fact, there are many cases of girls being married off by their parents - love certainly was not a major factor. However, "love" is one of those arguable states, and there is no doubt that many of these arranged marriages were very successful. I think too that there is a vast difference between what Jane Austen would perceive as love and what people today see in it. She was very well aware that physical attraction was not necessarily the best foundation for marriage, particularly if money was short. Mr Bennett in "Pride and Prejudice" married for love, and look what happened there!

    Divorce required an Act of Parliament, so was only available to the truly rich.
    .

  3. #3
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Northanger Abbey

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you very much. You're always very helpful.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Northanger Abbey

    Further to your question about "Richard", I have found this note which is informative. It doesn't totally answer your question, but it does have ideas.

  5. #5
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Northanger Abbey

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Further to your question about "Richard", I have found this note which is informative. It doesn't totally answer your question, but it does have ideas.
    Anglika, thank you. Where's the note?

  6. #6
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Northanger Abbey

    Sorry - forgot to put in the link

    Northanger Abbey - Google Book Search

  7. #7
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Northanger Abbey

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Sorry - forgot to put in the link

    Northanger Abbey - Google Book Search
    It's fine. Thank you, Anglika.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Northanger Abbey

    More on clergymen and Richard:

    As Anglika said 'Clergymen had moderate status. They were men of position, but not of high status. Their stipend depended on the patron of the church and on the tithes paid by the parishioners.' To put it in the context of Jane Austen novels, these three come to mind:

    Mr Collins in P&P. His patroness was Lady Catherine de Burgh, so he was not badly off, but he was 'not his own man'. His power came from an accident of birth - he was going to inherit the Bennet's farm.

    Mr Eldon in Emma. (I'm not sure about his being a clergyman, but I think so.) He was not badly off, but - like Mr Collins - he was a figure of fun (chiefly because of the appalling Mrs Elton.)

    Edmond Bertram (??), Fanny Price's cousin in Mansfield Park . I think he was Austen's only entirely sympathetic clergyman - and he only became one right at the end. In fashionable families, the first son was educated to take over the estate; the second, after school/university, joined the Royal Navy (the 'Senior Service'); the next became a career soldier - rising to General or Brigadier; it was only then that a son might consider Orders. If you read MP I think (it's a long time since I read it - I'm not even sure of his name) you'll find that when his family threaten to withdraw their support ('cut him off without a penny') he wonders whether he can earn enough as a clergyman to marry. (He, like the others in Austen, had a 'living', with pastoral care of a 'flock' who formed a 'congregation'; Latin pastor, shepherd, grex -gis, flock. So the terms 'clergyman' and 'pastor' were effectively interchangeable. But some clergymen had no pastoral duties, so they couldn't be called 'pastor's. This isn't news for Anglika, I'm sure!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Sorry - forgot to put in the link

    Northanger Abbey - Google Book Search
    Before I read this, I wondered whether it might be possible that there was a character called Richard in The Mysteries of Udolpho (which plays a big part in Catherine's imagination). But this idea must have occurred to the authors of that note, so I doubt it.



    b

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    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Northanger Abbey

    Hi BobK,

    Thank you very much for your reply.

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    JACOOL is offline Member
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    Default Re: Northanger Abbey

    [QUOTE=thedaffodils;359308]Hi! I am reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

    Talking of books and particularly, Jane Austen's , whom I'm so interested in her books, What made you read this particular story? If may ask. However, I'm only asking to find a reason to start reading it, since I've bought it quite a long time ago, yet got busy reading other books. I want a boost, if I may say. thanks.

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