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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mad, bad and dangerous To know -- and rich too!: The dark Darcy of Pride & Prejudice---and a REALLY cool book cover!

I think the book cover shown above (the purchase of which may be achieved via the above link) may just be the coolest Jane Austen-related image I've ever seen, so I wanted to show my admiration for it, and maybe bring a little extra business to the publisher, Oldcastle, with this post. I myself plan on buying one of these just so I can put it out on display in my man-cave in our new house after we move in, just where visitors will walk by, see it, and do a double (or triple) take!

Here's what the illustrator, David Mann, says about the making of the cover:
"This cover was originally painted only as a sample for the publisher, but ended up being published on the first Pulp! The Classics. I used a photo of Colin Firth to paint from, as I felt that he’s still the definitive Mr Darcy for most people, the aim was to produce a Colin Firth-esque visage, not necessarily a bang-on portrait. I’ve subsequently been told it looks just like him/ nothing like him / a bit like him / just like myself! The rather smouldering expression seems to lend itself to the comedy cigarette treatment. I’m not necessarily a big fan of cigarette smoking (anymore), but I did notice a fair few vintage pulps featured the activity of smoking/leering on their covers – so mine do too. Add the strapline, and then it’s over to the designer Elsa Mathern." 

What also particularly appeals to me personally, and what I believe was not known to Mann or Oldcastle before they created that cover, is that I have for a number of years believed that Jane Austen intended the Darcy of the shadow story of Pride & Prejudice to be perceived by the knowing reader as a pretty dangerous clerk for a young woman to encounter in one of the aisles of the Regency Era marital superstore --a man with looks, wealth, aristocratic status AND an unwillingness to accept the word "No" when he wants some thing....or, at least, some woman (like Elizabeth Bennet)!

CAVEAT EMPTOR would be especially apt advice in that moment.

Here's a link to a post of mine from 2 years ago which gives a brief survey of the kinds of stuff I've written previously which all point to this dangerous Darcy, the kind of guy that Mary Bennet tried to warn her older sister Lizzy about with not one but several whispered warnings,.....but Lizzy, after she saw Pemberley, was deaf to all such advice, and utterly beyond salvation!

I’ll bet Colin Firth in particular likes the cover, because it helps liberate him from the strait-jacket of the idealized Darcy that is everywhere!

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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