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Sunday, August 1

Jane Austen Character Throwdown: First Sons

Last week's Regency food throwdown was the least visited of all the polls. Regency food, it seems, does not please the 21st century palate. This week we ask you to consider the first sons of two families: The Tilneys and the Bertrams.

Because of the laws of primogeniture, the first son stood to inherit the entire fortune, which made for many spoiled, unpleasant, and self-centered persons who were careless of the feelings of others, including their siblings. Of two first sons described by Jane Austen who play minor roles in her novels, who do you like the least? Frederick Tilney or Tom Bertram.

Captain Frederick Tilney, Northanger Abbey (Mark Dymond 2007)

Frederick Tilney is the heir of Northanger Abbey, an army captain, a decided flirt, and given to mischief. Captain Tilney flirts with Isabella Thorpe, and leaves her after she breaks off her engagement to James Morland.

Tom Bertram, Mansfield Park (James Purefoy 1999)

When Fanny arrives at Mansfield Park, Tom the heir is already 17 years old. Tom is a bit of a carouser and ladies man, and likes to drink and gamble the night away. His extravagant ways cause his father no end of worry.


Enid Wilson said...

Both were bad, difficult to decide.

Steamy Darcy

Teresa AF said...

Wait a minute, wait a minute... All these votes for Frederick Tilney? Lets stop and think about this for a moment.

I did a write in: Hello, Edward Ferrars! Just compare the two. Frederick did almost the same thing as Edward (pursuing a woman he had no business pursuing) and all without disguise. Edward's only redeeming quality is that Elinor liked him... and for that we give him a pass.

sandyquill said...

Couldn't believe you left out John Dashwood. Selfish man, weak willed, manipulated from doing what HE KNEW was right by his horrid wife... Ew!

I wrote him in. :)

Vic said...

Sandy, Thank you! I should have qualified my statement with "single first sons."

Michelle Leatherman said...

For my part, I dislike Frederick Tilney more than Tom Bertram and Edward Ferrars because the reader does not see the elder Tilney punished or really even held accountable for his misdeeds.

Tom and Edward face consequences, and are, at least in Edward's case, sorry for what they have done.

BTW, I love your site. Great new contributors as well!

Nonna Beach said...

I chose Fredrick Tilney. I found him to be despicable,(like his father), much more so than Tom Bertram could ever be ! I am glad that in many societies on earth today that women get an equal share of estates, although, titled families still have to tow the line historically.

I like the idea of titles etc. noble and royal, as long as they behave and live honorably, such as Queen Elizabeth II. I admire her a lot but am saddened by the choices and mistakes her family members have made !