Author Topic: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club  (Read 8271 times)

englishteacheralex

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #100 on: November 28, 2020, 07:49:58 PM »
Sorry sorry sorry, as long as I'm putting on my teacher-ish hat here, I think I previously implied that women had to do something for money. Of course, that something was GET MARRIED. Preferably to someone who didn't have to do anything for money. As a member of the landed gentry, if you didn't get yourself married you were dependent on relatives for a living for the rest of your life. If that didn't pan out, you pretty much became a governess, which was really, really disgraceful--a fate worse than death.

Zoot

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #101 on: November 29, 2020, 11:43:51 AM »
Sorry sorry sorry, as long as I'm putting on my teacher-ish hat here, I think I previously implied that women had to do something for money. Of course, that something was GET MARRIED. Preferably to someone who didn't have to do anything for money. As a member of the landed gentry, if you didn't get yourself married you were dependent on relatives for a living for the rest of your life. If that didn't pan out, you pretty much became a governess, which was really, really disgraceful--a fate worse than death.

Which, to skip to a different Austen work, is why Miss Taylor, the governess of the Woodhouse household in Emma, basically hit the lottery when she accepted Mr. Weston's proposal of marriage; she went from being a governess (and a governess on borrowed time, as Emma was twenty-one and Miss Taylor was only still in the household thanks to Mr. Woodhouse's inertia) to being a married woman of the genteel class.  It was a fortuitous stroke of luck for her.

Emma is going to be a fascinating one for us all to work through, as well--so much money stuff in that one!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #102 on: November 29, 2020, 01:41:17 PM »
I just watched the 2019 adaptation of Emma on HBO (we got a free trial) last night and it was fabulous. Might be my favorite Austen adaptation save for the Colin Firth P&P.

Kitsunegari

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #103 on: November 29, 2020, 02:13:09 PM »

To be honest, the more I learn about Regency period England, the more I understand why America happened. There's so little freedom for so many people, not just women. Status and money were so codified and obsessed over and actual talent and discipline and hard work were not valued so much as part of the ethos of the time in the circles that Austen was a part of (at least that's how it seems to me).

To be fair this applies to a majority of places and times in which survival was assured. For most of humanity history, you were either part of the majority of peasants that fought to keep alive or part of a complex upper crust which didn't have to fight for bread but had to move in a very codified society with very little freedom.
It makes me really appreciate living in modern-day western society - we have a freedom and comfort of life unheard of for most of history.

diapasoun

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #104 on: November 30, 2020, 04:17:59 PM »
Speaking of other Austen works... we're almost done with our time with Sense and Sensibility! That means we get to move on to our next read.

Unless folks have strong protests otherwise, I'd like to suggest we move through the works in chronological order, which means that our next book would be Pride and Prejudice. I'd also like to stick with our two month discussion time -- I know it's slow, but that makes it easy to fit these books into our busy lives, and I'm really personally enjoying how deep we get to dig into these with the slower pace.

There are multiple versions of Pride and Prejudice available on Project Gutenberg for those looking for a free e-book; here is one.

Kris

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #105 on: November 30, 2020, 04:41:06 PM »
Speaking of other Austen works... we're almost done with our time with Sense and Sensibility! That means we get to move on to our next read.

Unless folks have strong protests otherwise, I'd like to suggest we move through the works in chronological order, which means that our next book would be Pride and Prejudice. I'd also like to stick with our two month discussion time -- I know it's slow, but that makes it easy to fit these books into our busy lives, and I'm really personally enjoying how deep we get to dig into these with the slower pace.

There are multiple versions of Pride and Prejudice available on Project Gutenberg for those looking for a free e-book; here is one.

Wow, that went really quickly! I think the chronological order makes sense.

ixtap

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #106 on: November 30, 2020, 04:44:18 PM »
Wherein Mustachians Question a Truth Universally Acknowledged...

diapasoun

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #107 on: November 30, 2020, 05:04:38 PM »
Wherein Mustachians Question a Truth Universally Acknowledged...

... that a person in possession of a credit card must max it.

(please add yr own)

mspym

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #108 on: November 30, 2020, 06:00:24 PM »
In summary, all three marriages made in S&S have each partipant ending up with the correct partner. Silly as they are, Lucy and Robert will end up having a very silly marriage that is no worse than any other aristo marriage at the time and likely to be happier than most, given how dedicated Lucy is to her own self interests.

pachnik

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #109 on: November 30, 2020, 08:30:59 PM »
Speaking of other Austen works... we're almost done with our time with Sense and Sensibility! That means we get to move on to our next read.

Unless folks have strong protests otherwise, I'd like to suggest we move through the works in chronological order, which means that our next book would be Pride and Prejudice. I'd also like to stick with our two month discussion time -- I know it's slow, but that makes it easy to fit these books into our busy lives, and I'm really personally enjoying how deep we get to dig into these with the slower pace.

I like the idea of going through the novels in chronological order.  :)

tygertygertyger

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #110 on: December 01, 2020, 09:04:10 AM »
I did find it interesting that Elinor and Edward got engaged BEFORE they had the money thing figured out - especially after the entire rest of the book talked about how difficult it would be to marry on no money! Quite including his own recent engagement. His parish gig wasn't anywhere enough until his mom relented and gave him dollars. But Elinor and Marianne did end up with the exact amounts of money they each thought would be needed for a good life, so a happy ending for all.

SweetRedWine

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #111 on: December 01, 2020, 01:26:28 PM »
This is a really great discussion!

I've read all the books several times before, and it's so neat to hear what everyone is noticing!

mspym

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #112 on: December 01, 2020, 01:37:46 PM »
@tygertygertyger I don't know if the parish living wasn't enough to marry on. It was £400 a year for 2 people and a free house, so about what Elinor's family were living on. The extra money from his money just took them into "comfortable" territory.

ixtap

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #113 on: December 01, 2020, 02:10:25 PM »
@tygertygertyger I don't know if the parish living wasn't enough to marry on. It was £400 a year for 2 people and a free house, so about what Elinor's family were living on. The extra money from his money just took them into "comfortable" territory.

At 200 pounds a year, it is even more stretched than the current situation and his patron didn't seem willing to entertain the idea that he could attempt to support a wife with the living as is, and though it would be "capable of improvement,"  seemed doubtful it could ever support a family. A living was basically the rights to the donations and lesser tithes, as well as a parsonage. Brandon made it seem that the parsonage itself would need to be improved to be fit for habitation, at the vicar's own cost, as well as doing the things a good vicar does to improve the local welfare, thus increasing the lesser tithes to make the annual income more comfortable. Part of this is just being involved enough with the community to know whether or not they were giving their full tithe.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #114 on: December 01, 2020, 03:11:33 PM »
Typically vicars did have to make their own improvements to their parsonages. That's why Mr. Collins is always so full of excitement about Lady Catherine's improvements to his parsonage--it was rare.

BTW Lady Catherine is a character I think really gets shafted by Jane Austen. She's one of the few female characters in Austen who has money, power and prestige without having to marry for it (Emma also comes to mind) but Austen makes her ridiculous. I have a fantasy of writing a fan fic a la Wicked in which Lady Catherine gets to tell her side of the story about that little upstart, Lizzy Bennet.

mspym

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #115 on: December 01, 2020, 03:27:47 PM »
Ah my mistake, thanks for the pick up @ixtap, £200 p.a. is tight if you are hoping to maintain one's gentility and or support a gentle wife. A maid of all work instead of a man and a parlour maid (hat-tip Mrs Jennings.)

ixtap

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #116 on: December 01, 2020, 03:29:53 PM »
Typically vicars did have to make their own improvements to their parsonages. That's why Mr. Collins is always so full of excitement about Lady Catherine's improvements to his parsonage--it was rare.

BTW Lady Catherine is a character I think really gets shafted by Jane Austen. She's one of the few female characters in Austen who has money, power and prestige without having to marry for it (Emma also comes to mind) but Austen makes her ridiculous. I have a fantasy of writing a fan fic a la Wicked in which Lady Catherine gets to tell her side of the story about that little upstart, Lizzy Bennet.

As I recall, Lady Catherine didn't make improvements, she told Collins what he should do to spend his money on improvements (suggestions, he called it). And it is generally acknowledged that she did indeed inherit her estate from her late husband. Although the styling of "Lady Catherine" suggests that she was born with a title, that did not necessarily bring much money. Austen is rarely kind to the titled. Darcy's estate is probably even bigger, but its cool, because he doesn't have a title to go with it, since it was his mother that was born to that class, rather than his father. Austen may be willing to explore the foibles of the landed gentry, but they are redeemable, while the titled are pretty much on their own, with Anne being the exception that proves the rule.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #117 on: December 01, 2020, 04:07:23 PM »
Lady Catherine made the improvements according to my giant annotated P&P, which goes into great detail about the circumstances of the clergy. I have to reread the annotated version to prepare to teach it again this year in January, so the timing of the thread is fortuitous. I always have to refresh my memory on this stuff. The problem is that if I get too excited I become unbearably pedantic and spend way too much time blathering on.

ixtap

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #118 on: December 01, 2020, 04:23:21 PM »
Lady Catherine made the improvements according to my giant annotated P&P, which goes into great detail about the circumstances of the clergy. I have to reread the annotated version to prepare to teach it again this year in January, so the timing of the thread is fortuitous. I always have to refresh my memory on this stuff. The problem is that if I get too excited I become unbearably pedantic and spend way too much time blathering on.

"She [...] had once paid him a visit in his humble parsonage, where she had perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, and had even vouchsafed to suggest some herself–some shelves in the closet upstairs.”

He is fawning over her for approving of what he has done and making suggestions, rather than her making any investment. His proof that she is generous is that she has had him to dinner twice, not that she is helping out with his living quarters with anything but words.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 04:30:06 PM by ixtap »

Zoot

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #119 on: December 01, 2020, 07:45:39 PM »
There is a suggestion in a conversation between Darcy and Elizabeth that Lady Catherine did contribute to the improvement of the parsonage (Chapter 32, according to the e-text I'm consulting):

Quote from: Jane Austen
He took the hint, and soon began with, “This seems a very comfortable house. Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to Hunsford.”

“I believe she did—and I am sure she could not have bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object.”
« Last Edit: December 01, 2020, 07:49:05 PM by Zoot »

ixtap

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #120 on: December 01, 2020, 08:26:35 PM »
There is a suggestion in a conversation between Darcy and Elizabeth that Lady Catherine did contribute to the improvement of the parsonage (Chapter 32, according to the e-text I'm consulting):

Quote from: Jane Austen
He took the hint, and soon began with, “This seems a very comfortable house. Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to Hunsford.”

“I believe she did—and I am sure she could not have bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object.”

Interesting contrast that puts even more emphasis on Collins' questionable gratitude, in that case...

Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #121 on: January 01, 2021, 05:15:25 PM »
Do we have a scheduled start for Mansfield Park?

diapasoun

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #122 on: January 07, 2021, 09:03:15 PM »
Mansfield Park will be in February and March, unless there are objections.

I'm just finally starting Pride and Prejudice after a long vacation not paying attention to roughly anything. I look forward to some laser like book focus...

pachnik

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #123 on: January 08, 2021, 08:00:57 AM »
Mansfield Park will be in February and March, unless there are objections.

I'm just finally starting Pride and Prejudice after a long vacation not paying attention to roughly anything. I look forward to some laser like book focus...

It sounds like you had a good break, Diapasoun. 

+1 to Mansfield Park in Feb. and March.

Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #124 on: January 08, 2021, 08:22:59 AM »
Mansfield Park will be in February and March, unless there are objections.

I'm just finally starting Pride and Prejudice after a long vacation not paying attention to roughly anything. I look forward to some laser like book focus...

Sounds good to me!  Enjoy P&P :)

asauer

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #125 on: March 08, 2021, 05:43:09 PM »
Is it to late to join this?  I can't believe I missed so much!

diapasoun

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #126 on: March 08, 2021, 09:35:12 PM »
Oh heck yeah! I might uh... even read a book this month, if work manages to not eat me. >.>

Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #127 on: April 07, 2021, 06:04:42 PM »
So I finally got ahold of Mansfield Park - only a month late!  I accidentally requested "Jane Austen's Mansfield Park" at first, which is apparently a collection of essays about the book.  So I had to return that and re-request the right one.

Anybody else still in?

pachnik

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #128 on: April 10, 2021, 08:50:55 AM »
Count me in.  I just started Mansfield Park.   And have gotten into a bit of the lay of the land so to speak.   

Three sisters - Maria marries very well even though her dowry was only 7,000 pounds.  Miss Ward marries Reverend Norris and they have an income of 1,000 pounds which is fine since they don't have any kids.  And then Miss Frances who marries an army man and becomes Mrs. Price.  She's the poor relation. 


Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #129 on: April 10, 2021, 11:57:11 AM »
I like to put all the numbers in an inflation calculator for reference.  The book was published in 1923

The Norris' 1000 pounds -> 61,940 in 2020 GBP -> 85,000 USD
Maria's dowry of 7k GBP -> 433k 2020 GBP -> 594k USD

Pretty solid amounts, by modern middle class standards.

Zoot

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #130 on: April 11, 2021, 09:22:58 AM »
I like to put all the numbers in an inflation calculator for reference.  The book was published in 1923

The Norris' 1000 pounds -> 61,940 in 2020 GBP -> 85,000 USD
Maria's dowry of 7k GBP -> 433k 2020 GBP -> 594k USD

Pretty solid amounts, by modern middle class standards.

Mansfield Park was originally published in 1814, so if you used 1923, the amounts would likely be even higher.

Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #131 on: April 11, 2021, 04:54:25 PM »
I like to put all the numbers in an inflation calculator for reference.  The book was published in 1923

The Norris' 1000 pounds -> 61,940 in 2020 GBP -> 85,000 USD
Maria's dowry of 7k GBP -> 433k 2020 GBP -> 594k USD

Pretty solid amounts, by modern middle class standards.

Mansfield Park was originally published in 1814, so if you used 1923, the amounts would likely be even higher.

How strange, my copy lists the original copyright as 1923.  I've corrected the numbers below using 1814 - the numbers actually aren't that different, as inflation was very low for much of the nineteenth century.

1000 pounds ->81,436.62 GBP -> 111,625.58 USD
5000 pounds ->570,056.34 GBP ->781,379.08 USD

Zoot

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #132 on: April 12, 2021, 09:36:50 AM »
These figures really bring home the significance of some of the other numbers cited in Austen's works.  Georgiana Darcy, for instance, is said to have a fortune of 30,000 pounds--roughly $4.6 million according to the revised numbers.  Darcy's 10,000 pounds per annum would translate to an income of $1.5 million a year, while Mr. Bennet's 2,000 pounds per annum yields about $312K per year--respectable, but not in the same league as Darcy or even Bingley (whose 5,000 a year translates to $781K).  Miss King, whom Wickham drops Elizabeth to pursue, has a fortune of 10,000 pounds, making her worth that same $1.5 million.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #133 on: April 12, 2021, 10:14:14 AM »
Well...

Inflation calculators are quite an oversimplification when you're talking about a time period 220 years ago. Historical cost of living was very different from today's numbers. Goods, food, and clothing were all much more expensive, while labor was quite cheap. It is more instructive to think of relative income--look at what the various families across Austen's landscape have to live on and make assumptions based on that.

IIRRC, my annotated copy of Pride and Prejudice says to think of Mr. Bingley's income (5k pounds per year) as ~250,000-300,000 pounds per year in today's currency. Mr. Darcy's income of 10k pounds/year would be ~500k-700k pounds/year, which would make him in the top 10% of wealth in Britain at the time.

Miss King has an inheritance of 10k pounds (NOT per year--that was the total principal that she had), which would be a decently attractive sum of money but not really in the same league as Darcy/Bingley.

Zoot

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #134 on: April 12, 2021, 11:31:53 AM »
Well...

Inflation calculators are quite an oversimplification when you're talking about a time period 220 years ago. Historical cost of living was very different from today's numbers. Goods, food, and clothing were all much more expensive, while labor was quite cheap. It is more instructive to think of relative income--look at what the various families across Austen's landscape have to live on and make assumptions based on that.

IIRRC, my annotated copy of Pride and Prejudice says to think of Mr. Bingley's income (5k pounds per year) as ~250,000-300,000 pounds per year in today's currency. Mr. Darcy's income of 10k pounds/year would be ~500k-700k pounds/year, which would make him in the top 10% of wealth in Britain at the time.

Miss King has an inheritance of 10k pounds (NOT per year--that was the total principal that she had), which would be a decently attractive sum of money but not really in the same league as Darcy/Bingley.

Yup, with you 100% on relative income.  It's hard to parse the numbers from a modern mindset, because the difference between 10,000 (Darcy) and 5,000 (Bingley) or even 2,000 (Bennet household) isn't that great--it's more helpful to think of it in relative terms.  Knowing Darcy's income is 5x the Bennet household's puts things in perspective.

Also with you on Miss King's fortune being 10K "static" pounds, not annual income; the pattern I see is that women's financial situation was always cited as a flat amount (yielding an income of 4% of that flat amount per year), while men's financial status was cited as annual income, not a flat amount.  Again, helpful to think of in relative terms--Miss King's fortune was 10x what Elizabeth would someday inherit, and Georgiana's was 30x.

(edited: punctuation)

Raenia

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Re: Austen With A Mustachian Twist! Ongoing Book Club
« Reply #135 on: April 16, 2021, 10:21:29 AM »
So far the main thing I'm noticing in this book, financially, is the characterization of Mrs. Norris.  She thinks she's being sensibly frugal, but she's actually cheap.  Happy to volunteer other people's money for Fanny's care and future, but shocked when anyone asks her to contribute.  Coming up to Mansfield not because she wants company, but so she doesn't have to order a dinner that day.  Totally supportive of the planned expenses for the play, as long as she's not expected to help out.

There was a passage early on that I'm having trouble finding again, to the effect that if she had had children, she might have got used to spending all their income and never saved a penny, but having instead gotten in the habit of putting some by, she never liked to spend it, even once she was living alone and comfortable.  I think this happens to a lot of FIREees, early on in RE - it's hard to change from a savings mindset to a spending mindset.  We have to work to overcome the aversion to taking money out of savings, and seeing the balances go down.