Duty and Desire (Anglais) Broché – 4 juin 2007
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Pamela Aidan’s trilogy answers this question, creating a rich parallel story that follows Darcy as he meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet. In this second installment, which covers the “silent time” of Austen’s novel, Darcy is struggling privately with his feelings for Elizabeth but still must fulfill his roles as landlord, master, brother, and friend. When Darcy pays a visit to an old classmate in Oxford in an attempt to shake Elizabeth from his mind, he is set upon by husbandhunting society ladies and friends from his university days, all with designs on him—some for good and some for ill.
Like its prequel, An Assembly Such As This, Duty and Desire will dazzle even the most discriminating of Austen fans. Aidan remains true to the original’s spirit and events, masterfully capturing the Regency backdrop and incorporating fascinating new characters of her own to create an irresistibly authentic an entertaining novel.
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Le volume I est très très bon, le volume III envoie carrément du bois.
Celui-ci, le II, est certes très bien écrit et présente bien les interactions sociales de l'époque ainsi que les tourments de Darcy.
Néanmoins c'est vrai qu'il y a dans ce 2ème volume un petit côté polar/surnaturel/ambiance lourde que j'ai assez peu savouré.
Pour tout dire, on n'attend qu'un chose, c'est de revoir Elizabeth pour atteindre le dénouement qu'on aime tant...
c est dommage car en effet il recouvre la période pendant laquelle effectivement on se demande ce que fait Darcy
le premier et dernier tome sont tres agréables cependant
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While the continuation of Darcy's relationship with his valet is particularly delightful, the strategic plot choices seem out of character.
Finding solace in God is certainly a plausible means by which Miss Darcy would overcome her experience with Wickham but to turn to evangelical Christianity rather than the Anglican Church is less realistic. As a ward of an elder brother determined to shelter her and guide her to adulthood as a proper aristocratic woman, it is more likely that he would have seen to it that she pursued a deeper faith within the more conventional church. Having already suffered the consequence of a poor choice of governess, Darcy would have been ever more careful about the character and background of a replacement.
Likewise, the entirety of the plot twists at the country manor is implausible. It served a valuable purpose is demonstrating Darcy considering alternative potential matrimonial options to Elizabeth Bennet and one by one finding reasons to eliminate them. However, that he would attend let alone stay at such an event is entirely out of character for him. It is more likely that he would have pursued a similar interest within the confines of proper London aristocratic society rather than in the plot's bizarre environment.
All in all, the second tome of a trilogy is usually regarded as the least attractive of the three. The final leg promises to give us Darcy's perspective as he struggles more directly with Miss Bennet in the evolution of their relationship. I for one continue to await its publication with undiminished anticipation.
In the event, "Duty and Desire" was not what I expected, instead much better than expected. The first half was charming and engaging and rich with characterization, hardly harmed by its paucity of action. Georgiana's character reveal was plausible and took Darcy's dilemmas to a new level.
The controversial second half flowed very well for me, made clear sense, and had a real and necessary point to it. It all may have seemed to some readers as very monstrous and non-Austenesque - but that's the perverse hidden reality behind the pampered and unhampered lives of many of those to the manor born with silver spoons in their mouths. This was a real alternative for someone in Darcy's position, and he needed to see it for what it is in its stark reality in order to better see and appreciate Elizabeth for who she is. And frankly, it presents a nice mediating contrast and perspective to the banality of Hertfordshire, which hardly seems so utterly bad to Darcy by comparison.
For those who call this "mystery" story absurd and unbelievable - is it really? If anything, it seems more in touch with the actual reality of the times, as lived by its unreal ruling class, than Austen's soft-focus version. (Check out Fay Weldon's revealing "Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen" for more on this point.)
And for those who feel this "mystery" is out of keeping with Austen's literary style - would it really be such a stretch for the author of that Gothic farce "Northanger Abbey"? I agree it would not fit comfortably in the world of "Pride and Prejudice" - but "Duty and Desire" is reaching outside that world (which is mostly Elizabeth's world) into the fringe of Darcy's world to show what he is choosing AGAINST when he chooses to re-enter and commit to Elizabeth's world of wise and kind morality.
Belatedly I realize the core of why I like this particular volume (and the series as a whole) so very, very much. Aidan is taking her characterization of Darcy through a very complete and deliberate psychological odyssey. Each incident stands on its own in terms of entertainment value, but also serves the careful purpose of taking Darcy to every psychological place that he needs to pass through in order to reach his destination (i.e. Elizabeth). Aidan doesn't miss much, and pulls few punches - Darcy really has to go through the ringer, and even entertain some dark temptations that he would naturally be exposed to during his time of despair and vulnerability. The whole work has great psychological realism and resonance for me.
One thing that especially frustrated me was the emphasis the author made on religious contemplation. Jane Austen, herself, was certainly a woman of deep religious conviction, but she was as scrupulously careful about keeping her books free from heavy-handed portrayal of religious belief as she was from heavy-handed portrayal of feminist thought. Even though these themes do pop up in her novels, they are never dwelled upon. But this is where Pamela Aidan's most impressive ability -- her ability to keep close to Austen's style -- failed. She failed to maintain Austen's light touch. Nearly the entire first third of this book has a strong religious orientation, and I even put it down in exasperation several times. I never did that with the first book.
Later in the book, we are informed that Darcy's sister, Georgiana, has undergone a religious transformation the likes of which you might see in a newly born-again Christian of modern times. I suspect (I really hope), that Aidan is simply using this as a plot device. Since Darcy himself worries about Georgiana's excessive devotion to her faith, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's so. The third book should be the most interesting of the three, and I await it with great anticipation. Let's hope Aidan writes it as she did the first one and drops the heavy-handed style of this one.
I like the wonderful backdrop of Regency England in this installment. Again, Aidan succeeds in writing a Pride and Prejudice continuation for the historical reader. I love the scenes with Darcy and his valet. Aidan has created something vaguely similar to what Austen made with Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. Those scenes are entertaining and fun. However, I had a hard time believing a lot of the actions Darcy makes here. They are very out of character for him. Would the real Mr. Darcy stay at the manor's assembly checking out and dismissing potential wives as though he were sampling meats at a deli? No way! We all know that Mr. Darcy hates those kinds of social events. Why would the author have him attend such a party? He is more of the loner type who prefers to reflect on things at his own leisure. Also, the whole thing about Georgiana and her converting to the Anglican church is overblown, in my opinion. It's not that the storyline isn't believable -- it's just that, unlike Jane Austen, Aidan wasn't able to incorporate the topic of Christianity into the overall storyline quite as well as Jane Austen had done. As for the whole thing with Lady Sylvanie... Well, let's just say that I wasn't thrilled with the fact that Darcy had been interested in someone other than Elizabeth. While it is completely realistic that he may have been interested in someone else during the time in which he had no contact with Lizzy, I nevertheless was not pleased with this storyline. This novel is such a change from An Assembly Such as This. The author could have done so many things during Darcy's large absence in Pride and Prejudice and instead fills in the gaps with implausible storylines. I was underwhelmed with Duty and Desire. I hope These Three Remain will be better than this.
After completing the first novel in the series, I looked forward to what this second might bring. I was most seriously disappointed in the performance.
First, Aidan forgets that Austen was NOT a fan of the gothic novel. Austen's "Northanger Abbey" was a parody (at times) of this genre. Her characters in her other works have survived and are beloved for the very reason that they are so 'real', and do not require extraordinary circumstances or fabricated events in order to shine and reveal who they are. Aidan on the other hand appears to revel in the gothic genre and to take it seriously, applying it wholeheartedly to the world of Austen, where, in my opinion, it has no business.
Aidan so deviates from the spirit of Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" that I found myself impatient with the absurd circumstances she placed Mr. Darcy. The small, engaging (and believable) 'mystery' of his valet, Fletcher (introduced in the first novel), was eclipsed by the outrageous and unbelievable events of this second novel. Forgetting the source of the attraction Austen's fans (the most likely readers of her books) have to Pride and Prejudice, Aiden abandons herself to this other-worldly world of intrigue, politics, a sinister castle, blood, fear and unwieldy passions.
I found myself impatient with how this novel and its events reflected back on the world of the Bennet's. The Bennets and Hertfedshire had no place in the world described in this novel. So much was this the case that one could not fathom that Elizabeth and Darcy even shared the same planet.
While I understand Aiden's purpose was most likely to show that Mr. Darcy was dissatisfied with his life and the people he met in his usual circles, so different from the country where Elizabeth and his heart rested, I feel that Aiden did more to damage Mr. Darcy's character than to reveal it.
I say without hesitation that though I enjoyed the first novel, I despised this second. I have no dislike for the gothic genre, enjoying Jane Eyre as much as other novels of the time, but its just not a good fit either with Austen's characters, or the world in which Austen lived and attempted to recreate for her readers. Aidan would have done much better to have revealed new characters and situations that would show Mr. Darcy's character in the course of his 'every day life' than how he reacts to being in a sinister castle with danger all around.