I have been asked on occasion why I’ve made Georgiana Darcy the protagonist of Miss Darcy’s Beaux. To some, she is an unremarkable character, a bit of a wallflower, bordering on dull, but I see her introversion as full of potential, in the tradition of many Austen heroines.
In this guest blog post for the always fascinating blog Babblings of a Bookworm I explain what makes me like her so much and why she has the depth and complexity to be a wonderful heroine.
Timid Georgiana Darcy has always been one of my favourite Jane Austen characters. Georgiana is Mr Darcy’s young and amiable little sister, and he cares for her a great deal. In Pride and Prejudice, she not only allows Elizabeth Bennet to see another side to Mr Darcy; Georgiana’s close escape from George Wickham’s clutches looms behind Darcy’s dramatic intervention to find his nemesis and make him marry Lydia Bennet. All in all, Miss Darcy’s role in the story is not insignificant, but she is always in the background, rarely coming to the fore.
From the first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I have wondered about Georgiana, her story and her motivations. In the novel, Jane Austen leaves us some clues as to her temper, character and even looks. We know that she is ten years younger than Mr Darcy and very accomplished in all sorts of skills, including playing the piano and the harp, singing, drawing and languages. As to her appearance, Elizabeth describes her as follows:
“Miss Darcy was tall, and on a larger scale than Elizabeth; and, though little more than sixteen, her figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. She was less handsome than her brother; but there was sense and good-humour in her face, and her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle.”Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 44
Above all, Miss Darcy’s defining characteristic is that she is painfully shy, partly due to a reserved nature which she shares with Darcy, but also a result of her circumstances. Georgiana is an orphan from a very early age, and her guardians are two grown men, her brother and Colonel Fitzwilliam, who have many other concerns and may not have the empathy and sensitivity required to deal with a quiet young girl, beyond ensuring her formal education, material comfort and general wellbeing.
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