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Rachel-K
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Lost Memoirs: Wealth and Worth

[ Edited ]
Austen's novels always seem to intimately examine the construction of the social world of her day, and each fictional interaction seems (in part)a contest of, and commentary on, the contradictions between genuine worth and worldly wealth and status. How do these same elements play out in Syrie James' fictional account of Austen's life?

What is the Austen family's standing? What is Jane's "position" in particular? How does it affect her life and behavior?

Message Edited by Jessica on 01-31-2008 04:08 PM
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CanTri
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Re: Wealth and Worth

I think Austen and Ashford sum it up nicely on pg. 46 & 47.

...
Austen: You are a gentleman and heir to a title and, apparently a vast estate. Whereas I am a woman with no fortune, and of very little consequence.
...
Ashford: So you see, although I may be rich in property, you are rich in family, and therefore the far more wealthy & important of us two.
...

Kim in NY
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kiakar
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Re: Wealth and Worth



CanTri wrote:
I think Austen and Ashford sum it up nicely on pg. 46 & 47.

...
Austen: You are a gentleman and heir to a title and, apparently a vast estate. Whereas I am a woman with no fortune, and of very little consequence.
...
Ashford: So you see, although I may be rich in property, you are rich in family, and therefore the far more wealthy & important of us two.
...

Kim in NY




It is good when people realize that wealth is not everything. I think usually that person is very intelligent and a good person, when they realize that wealth doesn't make a person worthwhile. The family, the person on the inside is what matters. Jane was froma wonderful loving happy family that went through the same heart aches as others but had each other to lean on and therefore made them stronger than money ever does to people.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Wealth and Worth

I've always considered the affair of Harris Bigg-Wither as proof that, even given her society, she truly understood & believed that wealth alone did not make someone worthy of being a spouse. It illustrates too that self-esteem is not something to be taken lightly.

Perhaps that's why her heroines appeal - they don't settle. They're willing to wait for someone worthy, not necessarily someone wealthy.




kiakar wrote:
It is good when people realize that wealth is not everything. I think usually that person is very intelligent and a good person, when they realize that wealth doesn't make a person worthwhile. The family, the person on the inside is what matters. Jane was froma wonderful loving happy family that went through the same heart aches as others but had each other to lean on and therefore made them stronger than money ever does to people.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Rachel-K
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Re: Wealth and Worth



LizzieAnn wrote:
I've always considered the affair of Harris Bigg-Wither as proof that, even given her society, she truly understood & believed that wealth alone did not make someone worthy of being a spouse. It illustrates too that self-esteem is not something to be taken lightly.

Perhaps that's why her heroines appeal - they don't settle. They're willing to wait for someone worthy, not necessarily someone wealthy.





This is a great way to put it! Also in the context of the times--this was a radical idea! You really would suffer for it, by having no financial support.
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SyrieJames
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Re: Wealth and Worth

I've always thought that this quote by Jane Austen (taken from her unfinished novel The Watsons) epitomizes her beliefs about wealth and worth:

To be so bent on marriage—to pursue a man merely for the sake of situation—is a sort of thing that shocks me; I cannot understand it. Poverty is a great evil, but to a woman of education and feeling it ought not, it cannot be the greatest. I would rather be a teacher at a school (and I can think of nothing worse) than marry a man I did not like.

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The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen





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Rachel-K
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Re: Wealth and Worth

We've talked about what an excellent job Syrie does of letting us take an imaginary tour of the world behind Jane Austen's novels, and I realize (after reading your comments) that there is one pronounced difference for me between the atmosphere of Syrie's novel and the atmosphere of Austen's novels: the overhanging threat of the women's¢Â  financial situation feels much more realistically present--soaks the atmosphere of this one. Austen takes on this subject, but I don't remember *feeling* the threat of poverty in her novels, do you? It isn't just a flighty-superficial matter of marrying for money, is it? The question of poverty feel real, and that raises the anxiety level of the decisions the women have to make, doesn't it? And it makes their decisions more stoic!
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kiakar
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Re: Wealth and Worth



rkubie wrote:
We've talked about what an excellent job Syrie does of letting us take an imaginary tour of the world behind Jane Austen's novels, and I realize (after reading your comments) that there is one pronounced difference for me between the atmosphere of Syrie's novel and the atmosphere of Austen's novels: the overhanging threat of the women's¢Â  financial situation feels much more realistically present--soaks the atmosphere of this one. Austen takes on this subject, but I don't remember *feeling* the threat of poverty in her novels, do you? It isn't just a flighty-superficial matter of marrying for money, is it? The question of poverty feel real, and that raises the anxiety level of the decisions the women have to make, doesn't it? And it makes their decisions more stoic!




And it was definitely true. If the man died then the woman was completely exhausted from any wealth or plenty. It is really tough to think that a woman had any pride in herself at all. She was treated as bad as a slave especially in the early days. No laws protected her at all.