Sheryl CraigJane Austen and the State of the Nation
New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 196 pp.
Jane Austen's England was plagued with widespread poverty, an unprecedented national debt, economic recessions, bank failures, and the Post-Waterloo crash, followed by a national financial depression. No wonder Austen's characters are preoccupied with money. Jane Austen and the State of the Nation mines Austen's novels for references to all of these economic upheavals and to taxation, the Poor Laws, minimum wage debates, the Bank of England bailout, and the Corn Laws; and in doing so, reveals Jane Austen's liberal-Tory political bias, and her complexity as a novelist and chronicler of her time.
Introduction: Jane Austen's legacy-- Juvenilia: a liberal conservative
-- Sense and Sensibility: poor law reform
-- Pride and Prejudice: the speenhamland system
-- Northanger Abbey and the Watsons: the restriction act
-- Mansfield Park: the condition of England
-- Emma: William Pitt's utopia
-- Persuasion: the post-Waterloo crash
-- Sanditon: a political novel.
Sheryl Craig, is Instructor of English and Philosophy Department, University of Central Missouri, USA.
Jane Austen (1775-1817)