I Love a Good Jane Austen Reference.

Yesterday I wrote about why women are losing in the new marriage market, which explored the cover story All the Single Ladies in this month’s Atlantic.  (If you haven’t yet, go read that post before you go any further.)

The cover story is crazy long, and it took me nearly a week to get to the rest of the magazine.  Imagine my shock when I began at the beginning of the issue, flipped to the editor’s note, and was greeted by…a picture of Elizabeth Bennet!  (Well, Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet.)

Sure enough, the Atlantic’s editor in chief–whose name, interestingly enough, is James Bennet–had been reading Pride and Prejudice (which he downloaded, free, for his iPad).  And he uses Jane Austen’s characters to illustrate the shifting attitudes in marriage we are experiencing today.  Fewer and fewer adults are marrying these days, he says, and one explanation may be “a result of women’s no longer feeling compelled to marry a Mr. Collins.”

Mr. Collins as the iconic example of a woman settling for less?  I love it.


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  1. Heatherly says:

    Mr. Collins *shudder*

    There’s a quote floating around- “It takes a mighty good husband to be better than none.” So grateful we live in a society where we do not HAVE to marry, but can wait for the husband that is better than being single and happy.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Ack! Not Collins!
    I’ve often wondered if we as parents create a no win situation for our daughters by treating them as princesses throughout their adolescence. How could any 20 something young male possibly live up to their expectations?

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