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Class, Inheritance and Society: The Economics of Love in Jane Austen

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Jane Austen is all about numbers: how much per year is someone worth; how many suitors does a woman have; how many possible heirs might someone produce? These questions are not just for her female characters, as who you choose to marry in early 19th century England (as most places in most times) will affect the quality of your life no matter who you are. In addition, your social class also determined how vulnerable you might be to both those seeking fortunes and other benefits of a romantic relationship. We will go beyond the intricate plots and absorbing characters to look at the social and economic background of which Austen and her characters are always acutely aware. Favorites such as EmmaSense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice will be the major texts discussed in the presentation

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Margaret Oakes