Dear reader, as you may have noticed I find it annoying when I read in some sources that Jane Austen lived a sheltered life. It is as if we believe that women somehow were immune to the troubles that were going on around them. Surely it is more accurate to say that as women had no economic or political power they were in a much more precarious position; they had to learn to suffer in silence as their needs and wants were mostly unconsidered when the important decisions were being made. When we acquiesce and label women like Jane Austen as “sheltered”, it is as if we are buying into the propaganda of the times that by treating them as inconsequential we are really protecting and sheltering them. Continue reading
Tag Archives: money
Jane: in need of a ‘competence’
Filed under Money
Will a cottage do?
Invariably when someone waxes lyrical about how unimportant they think money is, how he’d/she’d be happy to live anywhere and that money doesn’t matter, you can be pretty sure they may profess too much or have never faced a shortage of it. Anyone who has struggled with insufficient money to pay their bills or rent knows that money does matter. Accumulating wealth may not, but paying for necessities does. In the Austen world of the Austen Six it certainly seems to hold true.
In the Austen Six there are a variety of characters who are mercenary to the extreme but profess the opposite. My favourite, New-Best-Friend-Isabella Thorpe, from Northanger Abbey Continue reading
Filed under Money
Those that think too much of ‘pewter’ miss out on the warmth that real relationships can bring; the satisfaction that your partner won’t flee when the chips are down and when the real trials of life begin. Those with superficial values can be bought and seduced by the trappings of position: the overseas post, the expensive dinners and the holidays in exotic locations. Those that can enjoy the fruits but still act ethically towards their families and the people they work with are heroes indeed.
Recall in Sense and Sensibility, the deathbed promise is elicited from Manipulated-and-Mean-Husband-Mr John Dashwood to help his step mother and two half sisters. His father has no power to leave his second wife and three daughters any money. Continue reading
“Pewter” and “vulgar economy” – What did Jane say about money?
Jane Austen said in one of her letters – “I like what Edward calls pewter too”. She was not sentimental or romantic about money: a mercenary attitude to life was not appropriate but one had to be pragmatic. This attitude can be evocative of this earlier time where there was not access to easy credit. And an earlier time when there was not the safety net of the welfare state. My late mother embodied this time too. One of the many memories I have of her is the citing of the proverb, “It is not money that is the root of all evil, it is the love of money”. Such phrases are gleaned from a generation who had a much tougher time and could spout a proverb in the time it took us to switch a TV channel.
Every Charles Dickens fan would remember Macawber in David Copperfield saying, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Continue reading