New Spin on the Darcy Moment
Well, we have heard a lot about this being Toby Stephens' 'Darcy Moment.' This article, however has a different approach:
And does this (praise be!) mark an end to the tiresome lionisation of Mr Darcy? I say Mr Darcy, but of course we all know I mean Colin Firth.
The slow burn ignited, and up in flames went effigies of Rochesters past; William Hurt (impressive sidewhiskers, but a bit bland), Timothy Dalton (rather shifty, but not in a good way), George C Scott (not dishy enough) and of course, Orson Welles (impressive, but I've never forgiven him for Citizen Kane, surely the most over-rated movie ever made).
All of which brings me back to the disagreeable cult of Mr Darcy, who in recent years has been consistently voted the greatest romantic hero in literature.
Last year a survey of heroes (romantic or otherwise) by the literary website Books.co.uk saw the aloof incumbent of Pemberley Hall triumph over the likes of Romeo Montague, Heathcliff and Rhett Butler, with Mr Rochester languishing very unfairly, I feel, at 15th - just ahead of Mr Pickwick.
It doesn't take a Nostradamus to predict malign forces at work; Mr Darcy's position has rather more to do with Colin Firth than Pride and Prejudice. How else can one account for the fact that Mark Darcy, of Bridget Jones' Diary - also played by Firth - somehow managed to insinuate his way into seventh position.
But why? Charlotte Bronte's Edward Rochester is a passionate, powerful man, by comparison to whom Jane Austen's Fitzwilliam Darcy appears not merely repressed, but sexually continent to the point of constipation. Yes, he's proud and insufferably arrogant, which - shhh! don't tell the feminists - always goes down well with us career girls, but there's something rather unmanly about his prickliness.
Unfortunately for the Darcy camp, last year I witnessed a 'literary death match' between Darcy and Mr Rochester in which Rochester beat Darcy more than two to one. And I'm sorry to say that most of the pro-Darcy aguments were nothing more than 'how could you not like him?' or 'how could you like Rochester? I don't understand.' How can that compare with: "my bride is here because my equal is here," "my second self, and best earthly companion," "I longed for thee with soul and flesh," with his intriguingly complex character? It just wasn't fair.
I think Charlotte Bronte still says it best in this letter where she defends her creation:
Mr. Rochester has a thoughtful nature and a very feeling heart; he is neither selfish nor self-indulgent; he is ill-educated, misguided; errs, when he does err, through rashness and inexperience: he lives for a time as too many other men live, but being radically better than most men, he does not like that degraded life, and is never happy in it. He is taught the severe lessons of experience and has sense to learn wisdom from them. Years improve him; the effervescence of youth foamed away, what is really good in him still remains. His nature is like wine of a good vintage, time cannot sour, but only mellows him.
Monday, October 09, 2006
New Spin on the Darcy Moment