Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Money makyth man

If I remember correctly Mr Bingley in P&P has an income of £10,000 a year. Mr Darcy, it is suggested, has loads more but the figure is never specified. Too vulgar.

I am not sure whether Mr Collins’ income (which goes with his living) is ever specified but there are contemporary men of the cloth in Jane Austen and other authors whose living (ie, parish or curacy) brings in as little as £50. Occasionally the price of a loaf is cited as 1½ pennies. And a horse is sold for £8.

Academics busy themselves with deconstructive detail yet ignore (Too vulgar?) the significance of cash. What’s needed in all period books is a table of relative incomes (for differing strata of society in that novel and at that time) and of relative costs so that we can pin down the status of a character, get an idea of what sort of life he or she is leading and attach accurate meaning to various transactions. Authors tended to be vague perhaps because they reckoned contemporary readers could work these things out. But centuries have slipped by.

I discussed this with Plutarch and he makes a grumbling request about versts so you can tell which authors he’s reading. Come on people of tenure – make yourself useful.

YIKES! Ysabelle has not only got a degree and a job but has started a blog. For anyone interested in what it’s like to pass through academia at the present time and then lay siege to the job market click on Y’s name at the top of my links list. I should add she uses a full range of punctuation symbols.