Reading and Repeating Bring Darcy and Lizzy Together

I struggled with unifying each of the readings for this week’s discussion. I’m eager to hear from our guest lecturer in class, as Deegan’s summary of digital humanities in Research Methods for English Studies was just that, a summary. I was able to glean the overarching concept of the use of digital research methods, but I would have liked to have seen more examples. To Deegan’s credit, her topic is more expansive and, as she mentions in her introduction, a still changing field. Because the topic is so broad and Deegan was responsible for one chapter in a larger text, she had to write at a much higher level. The additional readings she suggests will be useful in providing a deeper understanding of the methods in digital humanities. The Lynch article leveraged digital methods as well as archival methods and was a good way to see the output or product resulting from these methods. For me to best understand this research method, I think I will need to learn by seeing and doing.

I couldn’t help but think of our Canvas portal when reading “English Research Methods and the Digital Humanities.” The Lynch article, the Michie article, articles from previous weeks’ modules, and the adaptation videos are all available from the same source (for us students, through the curation of Dr. Peebles). This is an example of the ways in which digital resources enable the study of literature.

Though I struggled with tying together each of the readings this week, the final volume of our main reading, Pride & Prejudice, is one of my favorite things to read.  Austen’s use of dialogue and subtext is powerful. And the fact that Lady Catherine’s intrusion results in exactly the opposite of her intent is brilliant. Because we are privy to Elizabeth’s internal thoughts, we as readers, witness firsthand the change in her opinion of Darcy and her growing love for him. So much occurs in these final chapters, but all the events lead to the union of Darcy and Elizabeth. Lydia’s plotline is nearly catastrophic, but it serves as an opportunity for Darcy to serve as a rescuer and ultimately seal Elizabeth’s opinion of him as more than favorable. Much like his initial departure, Bingley’s returning to Meryton and rekindling his romance with Jane is owed to Darcy in his attempt to fix what he may have broken. Lady Catherine’s visit serves as the final element in uniting Darcy and Elizabeth. If she hadn’t visited, Elizabeth may not have hoped that Darcy still loved her and had she not recounted her visit and Elizabeth’s reaction, Darcy may not have hoped that Elizabeth’s feelings had changed.

And it was interesting to read this in concert with the Lynch article, particularly the “Reading and Repeating” chapter. Lynch refers to Elizabeth asking Darcy to “account for his having ever fallen in love with her (Austen 260, Lynch 218).” But the entire volume relies on reading and repeating. The volume begins shortly after Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy is altered by the knowledge gained from her reading his letter. She repeats some of the contents of this letter to her aunt and uncle when they recall her previous condemnation and her reporting of his behaviors toward Wickham (Austen 174). Later, Elizabeth reads a letter from Jane providing the details of the Lydia/Wickham scandal, and Elizabeth repeats this to Darcy. Once Lydia’s reputation is salvaged, Elizabeth regrets having told Darcy (211-212) as now that her reputation is saved, no one other than those originally aware, would know. However, as she will later learn from reading a letter from her aunt, if she hadn’t read and repeated Jane’s letter, Darcy would not have intervened and Lydia would have been ruined. Had Elizabeth not read and repeated her aunt’s letter to Darcy, while profusely expressing her gratitude, Darcy may not have been convinced of Elizabeth’s changed opinion and Elizabeth may not have known that he did this all for her (250). Reading and repeating drive the narrative in the novel.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016. Print.

Deegan, Marilyn. “English Research Methods and the Digital Humanities.” Griffin, Gabriele. Research Methods for English Studies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013. 218-245. Print.

Lynch, Deidra Shauna. “Jane Austen and the Social Machine.” The Economy of Character. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press. 207-249. Print.

 

 

 

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