Jane Austen’s hero has long been held up as the dashing romantic every woman wants in her life. But he’s actually a dangerous negger, says one literary critic.
Speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival, writer Dolly Alderton, insists: “[Mr Darcy] being held up as a romantic hero is a myth which has had a really insidious ripple effect on dating culture right up until now.”
As for this “negging” business, negging, Wikipedia tells us, is an “act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval.” For example, “You’re quite pretty for a fat person” or “You’re funny. I didn’t realise women could be funny.”
Alderton claims that when Mr Darcy said within Elizabeth Bennett’s earshot that she was “tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me,” he was actually displaying a bit of early nineteenth century negging.
The critic didn’t hold back in her assessment of the neggerish Mr Darcy. “[He’s a] conceited, bullish and rude snob who, as my fellow millennials would say, needs to check his privilege. The idea that a man is there to be cracked or is hard to get or something to be won I think is very, very damaging. It should not be that difficult. Elizabeth is the prize to be won.”
Novelist Sebastian Faulkes, also present at the event, also stuck the knife into Darcy, labelling him a “manipulative, hypocritical, self-centred depressive, aware of some of his faults but unapologetic for them, because he is bound by arrogance to ignore them.”
So there you have it girls. Mr Darcy: fine for ogling as he climbs out of a lake, but best avoided otherwise.