Re: Apples and Oranges and Countries of Origin!

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Posted by Gayle on October 07, 1998 at 08:31:40:

In Reply to: Re: Apples and Oranges and Countries of Origin! posted by Pat on October 06, 1998 at 15:42:23:

Marcia wrote
: : I am constantly referring to poor Cora and Alice as English gentlewomen (because of their references to London, etc) when they are obviously of Scottish descent, as you pointed out earlier. I meant to apologize sooner, and forgot in the face of these other interesting discussions. But since they were daughters of a Scotsman who was in service to England, I hope I can be forgiven! Please??

Gayle replied:
: : How many people would have cared to dissect the patterns of Scottish culture and thought, let alone the complicated mixture of race and nationality that constituted the Munro family? Michael Mann cast them totally in the context of English gentlewomen, and you'll notice when I talk about the movie, that's exactly the way I think of them, too. There was no point to Mann getting into nationality distinctions - the assumption of English elite not only sufficed, it provided an automatically understood frame of reference for every movie-goer in the world. If you read the book, you deal with the nitty gritty, but the movie was smoother without all that stuff.

And Pat said:
: Even though they were Scotts, calling them English gentlewomen is not so far off. If their father attained staff rank in the army in those days, he was likely from a gentleman's family (despite being poor) and would have been well educated as his daughter's would have been . That would mean school in England and/or an English tutor (poor, but of good family). I've probably read too much Jane Austin!!.
: Pat

Hi Pat!

Thanks for the additional input on this. I don't have a very good feel for how the Scotts and the British actually interacted socially in those days, but your comments ring true, particularly when you mention Jane Austen. I went back and read and reread some of her works recently, and now that I think of it, it seems Scotts and English intermingled almost without distinction between them in the 18th century literature. It is a significant factor that simply never rose to the conscious level with me. I think of Scotland as being very distinct from England - even moreso than history and tradition actually made them, I guess. But you're right, the Munro sisters would have been very much a product of their father's English education and military connections. Good job of kicking my thinking alive!


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