Category Archives: 1 Introduction

Candour, Pride and Prejudice

The strange history of the word candour

[This is a lightly edited extract (missing some of the footnotes) of the section Candour of the chapter Austen Criticism (II).]

It has become the received wisdom of our contemporary culture that a discerning mind will endeavour to eliminate distorting, sentimental, generous, optimism from its outlook, and adopt more realistic attitudes that properly discern the selfishness that motivates actions (psychological egoism) and some have seen Austen’s programme as one of casting aside such sentimental blinkers. So it is worth considering whether Austen stands charged, as Elinor was in Mrs Dashwood’s eyes in Sense and Sensibility, of preferring to ‘take evil upon credit than good’ (Vol. 1, Ch. XV [15.28]).

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