This study addresses a paradox in the lives of women in Jane Austen's time who had no legal access to money yet were held responsible for domestic expenditure. The book translates the fictional money of the novels of Jane Austen's day into the power of contemporary spendable incomes, and from the perspective of what the British pound could buy at the market, the economic lives of women in the novels emerge as part of a general picture of women's economic disability. Through the work of writers such as Austen and Edgeworth, as well as those of magazine fiction, the author examines the professional lives of women authors, their publishers, their profits, and the demands of their reading public. By linking authorship to the economic lives of contemporary women, Women Writing About Money links the fantasy worlds of women's fiction with the social and economic realities of both readers and writers.
Introduction; 1. The general calamity: the want of money; 2. Gothic economics: the 1790s; 3. The gifts of heaven: consumer power, 1800–1820; 4. Shopping for signs: Jane Austen and the pseudo-gentry; 5. Picturing the heroine; The Lady's Magazine 1770–1820. 6. Fictions of employment: female accomplishments; 7. Writing for money: authors and heroines; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Books for 1995