The Scarlet Pimpernel is also a romance, one that formulaically matches Pride and Prejudice. It’s told from the perspective of its female protagonist, Marguerite, who, like Austen’s Elizabeth, is blind to the true character of the novel’s hero. Elizabeth thinks Mr. Darcy is an arrogant jerk. Marguerite thinks Sir Percy is a cowardly fool. Or they do for the first halves of their novels, because after a pivotal middle scene (Mr. Darcy proposes, Marguerite confesses), the second halves are spent revealing Darcy’s and Percy’s secret heroism. Austen uses the word “disguise,” Orczy prefers “mask,” but both metaphors must be removed.

That also requires some suffering, since Elizabeth and Marguerite must recognize their mistakes in order to be united with their heroes. Austen says “humbled.” Orczy says, “the elegant and fashionable [Marguerite], who had dazzled London society with her beauty, her wit and her extravagances, presented a very pathetic picture of tired-out, suffering womanhood.” Unmasked hero and humbled heroine may now live happily everafter.

Jerry Siegel adopted the Austen-Orczy formula too. As long as Lois Lane can’t see through Clark’s disguise, she can’t be united with her Superman. But Austen mostly and Orczy entirely limit their perspectives to their heroines’ points of view. Siegel sticks with his hero. When Joe Shuster draws Clark changing into Superman, readers witness the unmasking, but Lois doesn’t. She’s stuck in the first half of Elizabeth’s and Marguerite’s plotline. Austen’s and Orczy’s readers learn with their heroines, but Superman readers can already see Lois’ mistake. Shuster even draws Clark laughing behind her back. She is “humbled,” but she can’t learn from it and so can’t be united with her would-be lover. The romance plot is frozen.

Siegel did try to reach the second half of Pride and Prejudice though—perhaps as a result of having reached marital closure himself. In 1940, two years into writing Superman, and two months into his own marriage, he submitted a script in which Superman unmasks to Lois.


LOIS: “Why didn’t you ever tell me who you really are?”

SUPERMAN: “Because if people were to learn my true identity, it would hamper me in my mission to save humanity.”

LOIS: “Your attitude of cowardliness as Clark Kent—it was just a screen to keep the world from learning who you really are! But there’s one thing I must know: was your—er—affection for me, in your role as Clark Kent, also a pretense?”

SUPERMAN: “THAT was the genuine article, Lois!”


The revelation completes the Austen formula. When Darcy tells Elizabeth, “You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled,” the two can unite because now they are on the same plane. Superman comes to his “momentous decision” after Siegel introduces the superpower-stripping “K-Metal from Krypton,” the only substance that can humble the Man of Steel.

But the story was rejected. An editor wrote in the margin: “It is not a good idea to let others in on the secret.” It would have run in Action Comics No. 20. Instead, Clark reveals himself to Lois in No. 662, fifty years later. They married in 1996, the year Jerry Siegel died.

Pride and Prejudice and Superheroes

"Without Pride and Prejudice, my favorite 1930s space alien, Superman, would not exist. Jane Austen is Jerry Siegel’s secret collaborator, and without her, the comic book genre that followed Action Comics No. 1 wouldn’t exist either."

(via ravingsofanundiscoveredgenius)

kivrin:

"Code Name Verity" Extra… The Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

meganmccrery:

image

Elizabeth Wein, the author of Code Name Verity, says, “This book started off rather simply as a portrait of an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot.”

Through the darkest days of World War II, an elite group of courageous, gifted women risked their lives as courier pilots, flying Lancaster Bombers,

Spitfires, and many other aircraft in hundreds of perilous missions. The role of these women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary was to deliver the planes to the male RAF pilots who would take them into battle, dangerous work which the women carried out unarmed and without radios.

"It was a kind of freedom you never get any other way, it was as if you had wings sewn on your back."  ~Yvonne Macdonald, ATA pilot

Reminds me of the fascinating piece I heard on BBC Radio last month about ATA pilot Lettice Curtis who passed away in July at age 99. 

theeconomist:

Daily chart: booze, bonks and bodies. The various Bonds are more different than you think. Pierce Brosnan was the most bloodthirsty, bumping off around 19 baddies per film. George Lazenby was the Bond for the babes, whereas Daniel Craig is notably less successful with the ladies. Maybe that’s because he drinks the most martinis.

theeconomist:

Daily chart: booze, bonks and bodies. The various Bonds are more different than you think. Pierce Brosnan was the most bloodthirsty, bumping off around 19 baddies per film. George Lazenby was the Bond for the babes, whereas Daniel Craig is notably less successful with the ladies. Maybe that’s because he drinks the most martinis.

lobo-de-luna:

I recently found the song Climb to Sakteng and at once fell in love. Today I finally felt it was worth sharing. A gorgeous song that captures the serenity I feel when out in nature. You should watch listen to this, please.

austenchanted:

He took her hand; - whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say - she might, perhaps, have rather offered it - but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips - when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go. Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive. He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped. The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more. It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature. She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity. He left them immediately afterwards - gone in a moment.
Zoom Info
austenchanted:

He took her hand; - whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say - she might, perhaps, have rather offered it - but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips - when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go. Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive. He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped. The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more. It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature. She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity. He left them immediately afterwards - gone in a moment.
Zoom Info
austenchanted:

He took her hand; - whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say - she might, perhaps, have rather offered it - but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips - when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go. Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive. He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped. The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more. It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature. She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity. He left them immediately afterwards - gone in a moment.
Zoom Info
austenchanted:

He took her hand; - whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say - she might, perhaps, have rather offered it - but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips - when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go. Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive. He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped. The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more. It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature. She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity. He left them immediately afterwards - gone in a moment.
Zoom Info

austenchanted:

He took her hand; - whether she had not herself made the first motion, she could not say - she might, perhaps, have rather offered it - but he took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips - when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go. Why he should feel such a scruple, why he should change his mind when it was all but done, she could not perceive. He would have judged better, she thought, if he had not stopped. The intention, however, was indubitable; and whether it was that his manners had in general so little gallantry, or however else it happened, but she thought nothing became him more. It was with him, of so simple, yet so dignified a nature. She could not but recall the attempt with great satisfaction. It spoke such perfect amity. He left them immediately afterwards - gone in a moment.

aidn:

breakingnews:

Buckingham Palace guardsman under investigation after video shows him pirouetting on duty
ITV News: A Grenadier Guard has been caught on camera busting some moves outside Buckingham Palace, but the soldier is expected to receive disciplinary action for his dancing.
Read more here

let him dance

aidn:

breakingnews:

Buckingham Palace guardsman under investigation after video shows him pirouetting on duty

ITV News: A Grenadier Guard has been caught on camera busting some moves outside Buckingham Palace, but the soldier is expected to receive disciplinary action for his dancing.

Read more here

let him dance