Talk:Georgian society in Jane Austen's novels

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Majors reference books for this article would be:

  • Nicolson, Nigel. The World of Jane Austen. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991.
  • Todd, Janet, ed. Jane Austen in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels, 2003.
  • Sales, Roger. Jane Austen and Representations of Regency England. London: Routledge, 1994.
  • Hart, Roger. English Life in the Eighteenth Century. London: Wayland, 1970.

Plus a great many others, dealing with more specific aspects :

  • Maggie Lane: Jane Austen and Food
  • Giffin, Michael. Jane Austen and Religion: Salvation and Society in Georgian England. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
  • Batey, Mavis. Jane Austen and the English Landscape. London: Barn Elsm, 1996.
  • Piggott, Patrick. The Innocent Diversion, Music in the Life and Writings of Jane Austen. London: Douglas Cleverdon, 1979.
  • Selwyn, David. Jane Austen and Leisure. London: Hambledon Press, 1999.
  • Byrde, Penelope. Jane Austen Fashion. Ludlow: Excellent Press, 1999.
  • Neill, Edmund. The Politics of Jane Austen. London: Macmillan, 1999.
  • Mooneyham, Laura G. Romance, Language and Education in Jane Austen's Novels. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

--Azurfrog (talk) 18:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

The clergy in Jane Austen's novels[edit]

The French version of this section had it right - for JA, being a clergyman is just a job. The emphasis has shifted in this adaptation, and gives a false impression. I've tagged it because I don't have time to rewrite it just now. Awien (talk) 14:19, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Ongoing translation[edit]

Just to let people know (in case it might be useful in order to avoid duplication) that I will be working on the Gentry section next, but it will be slow because I will only have stolen moments. Awien (talk) 13:30, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Duly noted! By the way, what are your intentions as far as sourcing is concerned? --Azurfrog (talk) 23:03, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Good question. Haven't yet checked whether transferring the ones from the French article would work, but you may have ideas? Awien (talk) 23:33, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
90% to 95% of them are in English : Janet Todd's Jane Austen in Context, or Deirdre Le Faye's Jane Austen: The World of her Novels, or other sources like that, a lot of them partly available on the Web anyway. As far as I can remember the only book in French could be David Cecil's A Portrait of Jane Austen (Un portrait de Jane Austen). The real difficulty would be 'transcoding' the templates: "Ouvrage" to "Cite book", or "Lien web" to "Cite web". But you get used to it after a while. --Azurfrog (talk) 23:51, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Now when you say stuff like "'transcoding' the templates" you're really talking furrin ;-) Autrement dit, be my guest! Awien (talk) 00:13, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
"Désolé de parler chinois !" :-) I'll try and 'transcode' a few... --Azurfrog (talk) 10:51, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Simmaren and I, who have been working on the Austen articles on at a glacial pace, have a lot of notes here, if you would care to look through them and see if any of them would help you. Awadewit (talk) 08:35, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! No time now, but noted. Awien (talk) 13:08, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
My! Quite a trove! I had seen plenty of your articles, work pages, talk pages, yours and Simmaren's, but I hadn't chanced upon this one so far. Duly noted, and thank you! --Azurfrog (talk) 23:18, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


If somebody knows how to add a pic of Chatsworth, maybe that would be a worthwhile addition. Awien (talk) 18:20, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Education, feminine trades[edit]

These are the next sections I propose to work on - again so that work isn't getting duplicated. Awien (talk) 00:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Done. On to the role of women . . . Awien (talk) 22:24, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Role of women done. Awien (talk) 20:58, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Ongoing translation[edit]

On to Homes (and did Revenues of the clergy without announcing the fact beforehand). Awien (talk) 21:00, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

The Peerage in Jane Austen's novels[edit]

Decades ago, when I was in in University, I read some books in the University library to enhance my appreciation of the Patrick O'Brian's nautical fiction -- written about the same period.

The following passage, from Georgian society in Jane Austen's novels#The gentleman, concerns me:

"The concept of gentleman in England is more flexible than that of nobleman in France. A gentleman is distinguished by his personal qualities as much as by his status as a member of the landed gentry. He does not need to be of noble lineage, like his French counterpart the gentilhomme, or to have a noble name."

It seems to be written by someone who doesn't understand the key difference between French and English nobility. Different rules inheritance meant that there were multiple orders of magnitude more individuals in France who could claim "noble lineage". One of those books I read in the University library explained how few English peers there were. It said that the French rules for nobility entitled every child of a noble to claim to be from the nobility.

Consequently, at the time of the French Revolution, one in 25 citizens of France could claim to be from the nobility.

Meanwhile, at the time of the French Revolution, there just 92, count'em 92, English peers, entitled to hold a seat in the House of Lords. Mind you, by 1815 the English peerage had been considerably expanded, what with war heroes, like Wellington and Nelson being raised to the peerage, and other peerages being awarded for genuine political accomplishments, or as patronage for partisan political support. It still never came within orders of magnitude of the number of French citizens who could claim to be nobles.

Yes, eldest sons of Dukes were addressed with a courtesy title. But the weren't peers, could be elected to the House of Commons. They were still commoners. At the time of the French Revolution there were only 7, or was it 9, Dukes in the House of Lords. The children of some peers were entitled to be called Lord So-and-so, Lady So-and-so. But, like the eldest sons addressed with a courtesy title, they were commoners, and their children did not inherit any special form of privileged address.

There are five ranks in the House of Lords. Most common is the lowest rank, Baron, and their children are merely addressed as the Honourable So-and-so.

Anyhow, I suggest this makes the passage I quoted so misleading it should be either removed entirely, or completely rewritten. Geo Swan (talk) 19:46, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Income spread[edit]

In Georgian society in Jane Austen's novels#Income spread the article states:

"One hundred pounds a year: in Jane Austen's novels, this is a very low income, that of a poor curate, for example, or of a civil servant working in a government office, or again of a small shopkeeper. However, it is rather satisfactory compared with that of a farm labourer which can be as little as twenty-five pounds a year[N 3]

My recollection was that a farm labourer could expect a shilling a day. But they wouldn't be able to find work, every day. Harvest, planting, and other periods of the farm year, called for extra labor. During these periods the labourer would be expected to work a very long day, but could expect to be provided with substantial meals. A shilling a day, if you could only count on, say 100 days of work, at harvest, planting, etc, that is an annual income of about 5 pounds, not 25.

Near this section there is a picture of a very young Horatio Nelson, who was promoted to the rank of Post Captain, in the RN, when he was about 20. He would have earned 400 pounds a year, when in command of a ship, and half-pay, when ashore. IIRC the half-pay of a naval lieutenant was either 50 or 100 pounds a year. Only commissioned officers earned half-pay, when not employed. Fanny Price's brother, the Midshipman, would receive no half pay.

About twenty years ago I bought a book with a title something like "What Jane Austen Ate, What Charles Dickens knew". Book reviewers praised it for providing the necessary scale for a modern reader to properly understand the value of a shilling. I was very disappointed, by the crude methodology used. It compared the price of aloaf of bread, then, with the cost of a loaf of bread in 1985 money, for a variety of items. There was a chapter of a book I read in my University library, written by a genuine scholar, that provided much more satisfactory explanation. But I read that book for fun, and never anticipated a need to take notes, so I can't tell you the title. Certain items simply can't be compared. How much did an ipad cost in 1800? Clothing, even for the poor, handmade, and probably a hand-me-down. Geo Swan (talk) 19:47, 17 July 2017 (UTC)