May 13, 2011


Today I am excited to welcome Maria Hamilton, author of the newly published Mr. Darcy and the Secret to Becoming a Gentleman, to Psychotic State Book Reviews. Welcome, Maria!

I asked Maria to talk about Mr. Darcy - - the sexiest man in literary history. 

Mr. Darcy: The Sexiest 200+ Year Old Man in History
by Maria Hamilton

I like to think of myself as cerebral and I hope that I judge a man’s worth by his actions, integrity, and thoughtfulness. That said, there’s nothing better than a sexy man. Depending on my mood, I find George Clooney, Seth Myers, Ewan McGregor (particularly in a kilt), and even Fareed Zakaria sexy. The real question is: why is Mr. Darcy always on the top of my list?  It cannot be just his looks because aside from Austen's brief description of him in Pride & Prejudice as a "fine, tall person" with "handsome features [and a] noble mien," we do not truly know what he looks like (although in the back of my mind I am pretty sure he closely resembles Colin Firth in 1995 even though I am not actually certain what constitutes a noble mien). Given the ambiguity regarding his looks, it is surely Mr. Darcy's personality traits that make him my perennial favorite but that is no less an amazing feat given that his character was formed and is bound to a society that no longer exists.

I believe Mr. Darcy has survived the test of time for hundreds of years because he is an odd combination of concrete values and mysteriousness. We know enough about him from his actions in Pride & Prejudice to be sure of his goodness while the particulars of what constitutes that goodness is vague enough to be timeless. Austen has created a hero that can be counted to do what is right when it is required but before he does so, we know very little about him. For the first half of the book, the reader is not sure they should even like him. He may be the villain. He then sacrifices his pride and works tirelessly to rescue Lydia for Elizabeth's sake but we are never privy to the inner struggles that propel him to do so. In that regard, he seems stoic and his motivations are not necessarily tied to the era in which he lived since they transcend it. In that way, we know enough about Mr. Darcy to count on how he will react in different situations and feel confident that even if he doesn’t initially succeed, he will impress us in the end.

It is that knowledge that led me to write my novel, Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman. I wanted to take Mr. Darcy and put him in a slightly different situation and then watch how he behaves. I introduce the reader to Mr. Darcy after Hunsford when he is attempting to overcome Elizabeth’s rejection and struggling with the knowledge that he has unfairly separated Mr. Bingley from Jane. He decides to correct his mistake much earlier and in the process of doing so returns to Hertfordshire. Once in Hertfordshire, he needs to actually court Elizabeth Bennett in the sort of overt manner he doesn’t get a chance to do in Pride & Prejudice.

In writing the story, I always felt there was a certain logic to what Mr. Darcy would and wouldn’t do and that allowed me explore some of the scenes that are missing from Pride & Prejudice, like Darcy confessing his interference to Bingley or asking Mr. Bennett for permission to wed Elizabeth. It also allowed me to write dialogue and scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth as they get to know each other’s hidden personalities and become more intimate. I hope that through them the reader can see what makes Mr. Darcy timeless and sexy.

Thank you, Maria, for being here and for sharing your thoughts on the sexy and noble Mr. Darcy.  So what is your opinion, readers?  Does Mr. Darcy top your list or is there a sexier literary man out there? 


Meredith said...

Most definitely! Along with Edward Rochester and Laura Hile's Admiral McGilvalry. I like how Maria zeroed in on what makes Mr. Darcy sexy, and I completley agree with her. It isn't his looks, it's his good principles and the dash of mystery! Girls love trying to figure a man out, don't they? And even though Elizabeth despises him, what does she do? She tries to make out his character.

Lori Johnston said...

Right on the money, Meredith. I think the dash of mystery is so attractive. Mr. Darcy certainly poses a challenge for Elizabeth, attempting to figure out what is going on underneath that stoic exterior. I will admit that watching P&P I fell in lust with Colin Firth portraying Mr. Darcy but fell in love and adoration with the innate goodness of the man based on his actions and reactions. Sigh.

On a similar note, Alan Rickman's portrayal of Colonel Brandon in S&S makes my heart yearn and thud - - the character is utterly selfless, with such a deep and good heart. In stark contrast to Willoughby, and even John and Fanny Dashwood and Lucy Steele.

Unknown said...

Interesting post. I found your blog via your email from Book blogs.