Jane Austen and Online Dating

Knowing I am interested in all things Austen, a dear friend sent me a newspaper clipping of an article from a local newspaper (yes, there are still people out there who read newspapers!).  The article, “Why Jane Austen would approve of online dating,” by Elizabeth Kantor, starts by asking if modern society has allowed these tools into areas that are not appropriate.  I am including the article here (click to enlarge):

Kantor, who wrote THE JANE AUSTEN GUIDE TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER, concludes that Jane Austen would in fact approve.   In her discussion, she points out that assembly balls provided a place where introductions could be performed after the various issues of concern could be weighed.  Kantor shows out that the internet sites do allow a screening process so that introductions are made based on similar values, interests, tastes and so forth.  As I understand it, the online service takes the place of the master of ceremonies, lady patroness or other person in charge of the gathering.  I was rather astonished by the idea of Miss Austen approving until I read the section where she mentioned that California’s attorney general got Match.com, eHarmony and Sparks Networks to start doing background checks (protecting clients against identity theft, and potential assault).  All things considered, I am rather inclined to agree with her conclusion.  If viewed properly, and used prudently, these sites allow people to meet who have been screened for basic criteria, with a view to a possible long-term relationship.  Once introduced, it is up to the parties to take it from there.   Not significantly different from the assembly ball!  If the online dating process is conducted thoughtfully and decorously, I believe that Miss Austen WOULD approve!  What do you think?

4 Replies to “Jane Austen and Online Dating”

  1. I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.

    1. Your observation is very just, Jessica. However, not everyone played by the rules in Jane’s time either! Think of Isabella Thorpe and Lydia Bennet! (Kantor mentions that Samuel Richardson preferred that men go to church to meet single women.)

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