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AUSTEN-L Digest - 3 May 1997 to 4 May 1997 - Special issueHenry and Maria

Karen writes:

> It's perfectly clear during the engagement that the most
>Maria can feel for the guy is indifference, and that one most days her
>leading emotion is contempt.  The breakup of the marriage IS
>foreseeable, and this was an age when the breakup of a marriage was a
>serious disgrace.  The only one who DOES try to stop it is Henry
>Crawford, and instead of giving him the praise he deserves for his
>actions, JA and Fanny both condemn him.  It's not rational.

I'm not sure what praise Henry deserves for trying to break up Maria's
engagement to Mr. Rushworth.  JA makes it pretty obvious that he is never
really interested in Maria, except as part of his game of making both
the Bertram sisters love him in order to gratify his "selfish vanity."
Furthermore, by leaving for Bath just as he has raised Maria's hopes that
he is serious in his attentions, he practically forces her into Mr.
Rushworth's arms as a way of saving face.  "Henry Crawford had
destroyed her happiness, but he should not know that he had done it; he
should not destroy her credit, her appearance, her prosperity too.  He

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Article-ID: 05_1997&537541
Score: 80
Subject: Interview with Reed Hundt-Part II