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?


Becky said...

What about the guy in Mansfield Park, Mr. Crawford? He was such a scoundrel! I also think that "cousin" of Anne's who planned on having a lady on the side if they married, would fall into this category, right? They both, essentially, get there's in the end. Also, the women side step these moral cads and win the moral high ground with the hero of the story, right? You almost have to have the "rake" to have the hero look really good! :)

Maria Grazia said...

In fact, Becky, I've included both of them in my post on My Jane Austen Book Club. You'll find also other characters, like Willoughby or Wickham, and others. I guess JA was rather fascinated by this type of characters though she had to chastize them because of her audience!Thanks for commenting. MG