Dancing to the Altar in Recent Film Adaptations of Jane Austen’s Novels

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love” (9), … of dancing and excelled in the art, as we know from her letters. She wrote to …

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Dancing to the Altar in Recent Film Adaptations of Jane Austen\’s Novels
FitzwilliamDarcy, for example, dislikes the activity, and it takes all of Volume One ofPride and Prejudice to overcome his distaste. In Emma, George Knightley says,\”`Fine dancing, I believe, like virtue, must be its own reward\’\” (258). Claudia Johnson affirms that \”the ball hereis not shot as a set-piece of Regency spectacle\” but \”is conceived almost as asemi-private scene so as to bring out Fanny\’s awakening to the pleasure of herbody and the circulation of erotic interest between and among the two prin-cipal couples\” (8). While Rozema\’s film is attractive and evocative, however, itis not accurate as an adaptation of Austen\’s novel. InNorthanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is partnered by John Thorpe until sheis matched with her life partner, Henry Tilney. As Colin Firth, who plays Darcy in the BBC version, says, \”I think the scenewhere they dance together is wonderful because it lays out the whole of theirrelationship at that point perfectly\” (Birtwistle 102). Thus, through Austen\’s skilful choreography, Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane andBingley, dance their way to the altar. . . 3rd ed.

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