Members Meeting - Sept 15 2012

Lovers' Vows 

Portrait of Novelist  Elizabeth Inchbald  by  Dean

Portrait of Novelist Elizabeth Inchbald by Dean

Diana Patterson of Mount Royal University, Calgary, spoke on Elizabeth Inchbald's play Lovers' Vows in Mansfield Park, a novel, she notes, which does not fit into the postcolonial frame. She painted a vivid picture of the social context of the people and place involved and the content of the play, Lovers' Vows, and its performance in the novel. This play, very popular at the time, was published in numerous editions and performed all over Britain, especially in the upper echelons of society, and has a story centring round adultery and revenge, with a happy outcome. Fanny Price and Edmund did not approve: the young people 'were not thinking as they ought'. The dramatic return of Sir Thomas ('Julia with a face all aghast, exclaimed, "My father is come!"') puts an end to the theatricals. Diana discussed the social and family implications and the function in the narrative of this pivotal part of the novel, indicating that Austen's purpose was to illuminate her characters - but did Jane really approve of this 'itch for acting'?