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Thread: Understanding The Society In Which Jane Austen Sets Pride And Prejudice

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    Woman from Maine sciencefan's Avatar
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    Smile Understanding The Society In Which Jane Austen Sets Pride And Prejudice

    Understanding The Society In Which Jane Austen Sets Pride And Prejudice
    by Pamela Whalan
    Jane Austen Society of Australia: Study Guide

    I have found the most insightful web site explaining the
    economic and social background of Pride & Prejudice!

    Here are a few excerpts:


    “Austen was acutely conscious of the cost of living and the price of everything, including the price of matrimony. So perhaps I should now give you some idea of the cost of living. One pound in 1810 had roughly the same purchasing power as $A100 [Australian] today.”

    “The code of conduct of the gentleman of the period meant that a gambling debt was a “debt of honour”. It had to be paid before you paid tradesmen, the rent or any other legitimate debt. If you did not pay your gambling debts you forfeited your right to respect from your fellow officers and gentlemen.”

    “In Jane Austen’s works if a gentleman is among the first to join the ladies after dinner it is a sign of her approval. She is telling you that this man has a higher mind than to spend the evening getting drunk and swapping dirty stories.”
    Last edited by sciencefan; 03-01-2007 at 12:32 PM.

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    Woman from Maine sciencefan's Avatar
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    Elopement

    There is a lengthy description of the grave consequences of ELOPEMENT.

    If Wickham had eloped with Georgiana,
    he would have legally controlled her inheritance!


    "If a girl eloped and was married without a marriage settlement any money that had been legally hers at the time of the marriage became the property of her husband without any safeguards on how he could use it. He could disappear the next day and the girl could be left penniless. Does this give you some idea of the enormity of what could have happened if George Wickham had successfully eloped with Georgiana Darcy? Can you see how important it was that Lydia Bennet should have money settled on her before the wedding took place? Elopement was not just a moral lapse but also a most imprudent step. A man who would talk a girl into eloping with him was not a gentleman according to the code of conduct of the time because by eloping he was ruining the girl’s reputation and, even more importantly, he was profiting financially by preying on her innocence and ignorance of the world."

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