Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of cold-hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually attracted them; and they sympathised with each other in an insipid propriety of demeanor, and a general want of understanding.–Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 34
Hope everyone is having a good mother’s day. In honor of the occasion, I wanted to post one of my favorite moments from S&S, surely one of JA’s best on the moral ambiguities of the mother-child relation. A keyword search on “mother” brings up some interesting episodes, to be sure. And I wanted to observe that, unlike the generally positive 19c and 20c images of domesticity, which we take for granted, it’s always seemed to me that the few images we have of motherhood or maternity in 18c British writing are usually quite attenuated: mothers are rarely idealized, or even particularly sympathetic, in both men and women’s writing. Any ideas about this?