Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman

Curated by Lynne M. Thomas

Feb 21 – May 24, 2019

A paper doll of a regency man in walking dress.

On display in the Ellen and Nirmal Chatterjee Exhibition Gallery

Join us in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library for our spring exhibition, “Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman,” curated by Lynne M. Thomas, Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Professor.

Many of us are initially introduced to the works of Jane Austen through modern television and film adaptations of her novels. In adaptations, a “proper” Regency gentleman may be easily created simply by casting a British actor with a posh “received pronunciation” accent and a good costuming department. To be considered a gentleman in actual Regency society, however, was a different matter.

Works selected for this exhibition illuminate how gentlemen contemporary to Jane Austen were educated, dressed, occupied themselves in work and leisure, participated in politics, and managed their love lives, providing additional context for Austen’s characterizations of gentlemen, both admirable and troublesome.

The exhibit is on view from February 21st, 2019, until May 24th, 2019. We invite you to attend our opening reception on February 21st for a lecture on the materials and the context surrounding them.