I'm well aware that mine can seem an obsession, and a dangerous one, but I've been thinking and writing about libertines and rakes again. Do you remember "My libertine Sunday" or "Of Richard, libertines and escapism" ? I've been thinking about Jane Austen's vision of libertines these days and I wrote this post for MY JA BOOK CLUB. Jane Austen, obviously familiar with the libertine as a stock character inhabiting the worlds of Restoration drama and Gothic literature, adapts the libertine and makes him an anti-hero for the purpose of social satire and moral instruction . A firm believer in poetic justice herself, an Austen libertine may end up rich but miserable like Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility or equally poor and miserable as Wickham in Pride and Prejudice.
But are there real rakes in Jane Austen's major novels? Libertines?