Autism was not a recognised disorder in Jane Austen's lifetime, nor for well over a century after her death. But there were certainly people who had autism, and Phyllis Ferguson Bottomer proposes that Austen wrote about them, without knowing what it was that she was describing. "So Odd a Mixture" looks at eight seemingly diverse characters in Austen's classic novel, "Pride and Prejudice", who display autistic traits. These characters - five in the Bennet family and three in the extended family of the Fitzwilliams - have fundamental difficulties with communication, empathy and theory of mind. Pride, it seems, may not have been the chief reason for Mr Darcy's awkward behaviour at balls, his frequent silences or the monologue he delivered the first time he proposed to Elizabeth. This fascinating book will provide food-for-thought for students and fans of Austen's classic novel, and for anyone interested in autism spectrum disorders.
1. Introduction. 2. Characters, Caricatures and Conversation. 3. Background. a. Autism Spectrum Disorders for Janeites. b. Pride and Prejudice for Autism Experts. 4. The Bennet Family. 5. The Fitzwilliam Family. 6. Happily Ever After. 7. How did Jane Austen Know? Bibliography. Subject index. Author index.