- Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
"Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" is the collective name given to a trilogy of historical
romance novels written by Pamela Aidan. As the title suggests, they are based heavily on Jane Austen's novel " Pride and Prejudice" as seen from the perspective of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the central male character of Austen's novel.
The trilogy of novels explores Darcy's perspective on the events of "Pride and Prejudice" - in particular focusing on his developing relationship with and feelings for
Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist of the earlier novel. However, the novels also explore Darcy's character, life and interests within the social and political world of his time, and introduce in prominent roles characters who only briefly appeared in the earlier work or were not present at all, thus expanding on Darcy's life and character.
As with "Pride and Prejudice", the central conflict within Darcy's character in the series is his attempts to reconcile his feelings for Elizabeth Bennet with his own pride and reservations about her social standing and family, and the effect this would have on his own stature.
The trilogy is composed of the following works:
An Assembly Such as This": First published in 2003, the first novel focuses on Darcy's initial visit to Hertfordshire, as depicted in the opening chapters of "Pride and Prejudice".
Duty and Desire": Originally published in 2004, the second novel focuses on the period of time when Darcy is absent from "Pride and Prejudice" following his departure from Hertfordshire and before he reappears at Rosings Park.
These Three Remain" First published in 2005, the final novel in the trilogy focuses on Darcy as he appeared in the later chapters in "Pride and Prejudice" from his reappearing in the narrative at Rosings Park.
* [http://crownhillwriters.com/YMD/index.html "Young Master Darcy"] is a short story found only online, about the Darcy of Aidan's books as a young boy.
As the "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" is essentially a retelling of "Pride and Prejudice", many of the main characters of the novels appeared previously in Austen's original work. However, as the novels are presented as being from Darcy's point of view, several of these characters are given more prominence and significance within Aiden's novels than they were in the original novel, and events that were not immediately known to the reader of Austen's work are given instant focus and development within Aiden's. The novels also feature several original characters who did not appear in Austen's original works.
Fitzwilliam Darcyis the central character of the novels. A proud, wealthy yet reserved and formal man, the novels focus primary on his developing yet conflicted feelings towards Elizabeth Bennet and his various attempts to either forget her or secure her affections. His romantic dilemma covers a larger struggle between his instilled ideas of acceptable behavior and his true decency of character. Elizabeth Bennetis a young and attractive woman of lower social class who (initially at least) holds Darcy in some disdain due to his manners. She is Darcy's romantic interest throughout the novels, and a central theme of the books is Darcy's attempts to reconcile his feelings for her with his qualms about her class and family. She is the central character of "Pride and Prejudice", and as with Darcy in the earlier novel, she is absent for long stretches of the overall narrative (and does not appear at all within the second book), but is a central background presence within all of the novels.
Fletcher is Darcy's valet, who does not appear in "Pride and Prejudice". He is an intelligent and talented man who is very loyal to Darcy, who clearly appreciates him in return despite his reserved manner and his formal approach to the relationship between master and servant. He is quick to see both his master's feelings for Elizabeth Bennet and the appropriateness of the match, and makes several discreet attempts at matchmaking between the two during the novels - attempts that Darcy does not entirely appreciate.
Georgiana Darcy is Darcy's beloved younger sister, who appears in "Pride and Prejudice" (although her character is fleshed out in more detail within this trilogy). A shy and reserved girl, she recently suffered heartbreak at the hands of George Wickham, Darcy's nemesis, who attempted to elope with her for her vast fortune. A subplot of the trilogy focuses on Georgiana's gradual maturation with the help of the religious teachings of her new
governess, Mrs. Annesley, which both pleases and bemuses Darcy.
Lord Dyfed 'Dy' Brougham is a good friend of Darcy's, who does not appear in "Pride and Prejudice". An old university friend of Darcy's, he hides a quick-witted intelligence and sensitive nature behind a seemingly foppish exterior and reputation, and is very socially active. Brougham is eventually revealed to be an espionage agent employed by the Home Secretary; he is in many ways reminiscient of
Percy Blakeneyin " The Scarlet Pimpernel". He is close to Darcy and very fond of Georgiana.
Charles Bingley is another good friend of Darcy's, who appears in "Pride and Prejudice". A good-natured and wealthy young man, he is naive and somewhat easily-led, and Darcy is quite fond of and protective of him. He has fallen in love with Elizabeth Bennet's elder sister Jane, but Darcy - conscious of the risks to Bingley's social reputation that the Bennet family presents and ignorant of Jane Bennet's own feelings - attempts to prevent the union.
Caroline Bingley is Charles Bingley's sister, who also appears in "Pride and Prejudice". A snobbish and proud young woman, she holds the Bennet family and their society in some disdain. She has an unsubtle and unrequited romantic interest towards Darcy, which leads to many displays of jealousy on her part when he begins to show interest in Elizabeth Bennet.
George Wickham is Darcy's nemesis, a childhood friend and seemingly charming young man whose true personality is duplicitous and untrustworthy. He attempted an elopement with Georgiana Darcy in order to cheat her out of her inheritance, and later - having joined the local militia - poisoned Elizabeth Bennet against Darcy with lies about Darcy's treatment of him. He is a central character in "Pride and Prejudice", and although the character does not appear frequently within the trilogy in person, he is a significant background presence, and the effects of his actions and Darcy's anger towards him are frequently explored throughout the books.
Lady Sylvania Sayre, who does not appear in "Pride and Prejudice", is a swindler and Irish revolutionary who briefly captivates Darcy. After failing to seduce Darcy into marriage, Lady Sylvania attempts to trap and blackmail him into supporting her political schemes. Darcy contemplates her hate-blighted life and finds it uncomfortably like his own.
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