A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, January 09, 2006

D'arcy Wentworth who?

This is quite interesting . . . to me, at least. Jane Austen is my absolute favorite author (and Georgette Heyer, who is mentioned, is another of my favorites). Fitzwilliam Darcy is one of the greatest characters in the history of novels. Lovely.

From the Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine: D'Arcy Wentworth: Heroic Inspiration?

Jane Austen's Aunt was once at risk of transportation to Botany Bay for shoplifting. It is piquant that Austen named two of her major male characters Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth in Persuasion, because a leading inhabitant of New South Wales in those years was D'Arcy Wentworth, disreputable but acknowledged kinsman of Lord Fitzwilliam. D'Arcy Wentworth's career smacks more of Georgette Heyer than Jane Austen, since he was a highwayman four times acquitted. Rather than push his luck further, he went, a free man, as assistant surgeon with the Second Fleet in 1790. As a young teenager Jane Austen may have read about him in the Times.

Remembered in Australian history, his origins somewhat fudged, as father of the better-known W.C. Wentworth, D'Arcy turns out to be a complex and significant character. All his life he was an outsider. Born in Ireland in 1762, he was the youngest son of a Protestant innkeeper whose family had come down in the world. D'Arcy qualified as an assistant surgeon in London, but then gravitated to vice and crime; through flash arrogance, Ritchie thinks, rather than a self-destructive urge.
Read more about D'arcy Wentworth and family here.

I saw the newest version of Pride & Prejudice during Christmas break. You can read my thoughts here.