Posted on March 26, 2010 - by Janice
Travel Solo to Bath: What is it about Mr. Darcy?
Janice at The Jane Austen Centre Tea Room
To travel solo to Bath, England is to wander into many centuries of the spa experience from Roman times to modern with the Thermae Bath Spa. But there’s much more. There is the beautiful Pulteney Bridge, one of only four in the world with shops along the full span on both sides, fabulous shopping on the high street for current fashionistas, the Royal Crescent and, of course, Jane Austen.
This city rose to prominence in the 18th century and was made a World Heritage Site in 1987. I can’t help but think that Jane Austen, the continued popularity of her novels and especially her enigmatic Mr. Darcy, had a lot to do with it.
As I travel solo I often hold internal debates.
This time I debated Mr. Darcy. What is it about him that attracts the women so. Yes, Colin Firth is fine to look at, but the sullen nature of the Darcy character is more than I can bear. Am I alone in this opinion?
According to some reading I’ve done, Mr. Darcy is not only loved for the character we know but also as he shows himself in other personas and time frames. He is Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and Big in Sex in the City. How can I be the only one who objects to these men. I won’t deny that they have a certain sex appeal but I find the entire package to be more repelling than compelling.
And yet, I went to the Jane Austen Centre and thoroughly enjoyed the introductory presentation and seeing the costumes that had been used over the years in various renditions of Austen’s stories. I saw the portrait of Darcy (Colin Firth) on the wall and smiled. There was something familiar and warm about it. And, I must confess, I think the warmth I felt had more to do with a certain sensibility (no prejudice against Pride) than the fact that I had found a warm shelter from the cold rain outside.
My trip to Bath highlighted my ambivalence towards Mr. Darcy and I’d like to learn what the women readers think. Do you find the Darcy character attractive? And, whether you do or don’t, why?
My comment: I, myself, used to be attracted to that type, and still can be, until I remind myself that most tall, dark, handsomely brooding and quiet men I've known were much different than I’d thought. Often the “still waters” did not run deep, if in fact, they ran at all. Or they were nursing some deep hurt/anger/bitterness with no sign of letting it go any time soon. In my humble opinion, some women are drawn to those strong, mysteriously quiet types, because they can ascribe to them the characteristics they would like them to have. If someone isn’t real forthcoming in telling you who he really is, you can just imagine the best. (It’s mostly in fiction that some man is dark and mysterious and shy and quiet until he gets to know you, and then, lo and behold, he emerges smiling and happy, an open book, spilling forth his deepest feelings and showering you with love and outward signs of affection, never again to take up the brooding persona.)