What Arranged Marriage Looks Like

Tolstoy wrote that arranged marriage was common in Russia before 1800 or so. Typically, the larger the estate, and the more at stake, the less things would be left to a young man or woman’s “feeeelingz.” Mr. Darcy, in Pride and Prejudice, has an effective arranged marriage with Anne de Bourgh, the heir of a great estate. His refusal (dumb!) to marry Anne (who was sickly but probably a very fine woman otherwise, raised up to her elevated class and station), instead choosing Elizabeth Bennett, makes up the drama of the novel.

To give you an idea, this is the house (“Rosings”) where Anne lived, as represented in the 2005 BBC production, and which she would have inherited along with all of the productive agricultural assets which made this lifestyle possible, and which Darcy would have been master of, if he had married Anne, as both his mother and Anne’s mother wished.

Here is Anne de Bourgh herself, as played in the 2005 BBC production:

I know what you are thinking: “I wouldn’t bang her for a billion dollars!” Obviously, Pride and Prejudice is extreme women’s fantasy, albeit gorgeously written.

OK, girls, here is Mr. Darcy, to whom Anne’s marriage was arranged:

And here is his house (“Pemberly”), a mere rustic shack by comparison:

But the point … oh yes, the point … is that arranged marriage was common in the West, as it is also common in India and East Asia.

Here is a representation of an arranged marriage between two middle-class people, in Tokyo in 1860, from the NHK drama Shinsengumi (2006). (Go to 4:16. For some reason, embedding YT times has been problematic. For a little better view of what she looks like, go to 40:57.)

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

One thought on “What Arranged Marriage Looks Like

  1. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of clinical information about arranged marriage, as it seems to be unpopular and “outdated”. So it’s difficult to study as a working model. But I do think it should be given a serious and detailed consideration.
    You have contributed a lot of writings on the subject of marriage in a short amount of time. I am curious to know your motivations for pursuing this subject.
    You may want to create a category for “Courtship and Marriage”, so that readers can find the related posts easily.


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