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|JA and large incomes.
Written by donald s. taylor
(3/9/2003 4:46 p.m.)
Since JA's father, as Claire Tomalin has shown, had to be very actively involved in producing the income to support his large family--not only farming the glebe but running a boarding school, it is interesting that in the novels JA pays so little attention to the armies of people that had to have been involved in producing the incomes from rents and agriculture of Northanger Abbey, Norland, Pemberley, Mansfield Park, Sotherton, Donwell Abbey, and Kellynch Hall. Mr. Willoughby enters the picture only because of his disgusting son, Crawford's bailiff helps to suggest a temporary reform in Crawford's character, Larkin is sometimes puzzled by Knightley's charities and love, and tenants are notified to line up to bid farewell to Sir Walter Elliot--that seems to be about it. Is JA protectively ignoring the economic bases of the gentry lifestyle. She doesn't ignore it, as Auden so strikingly noted, in matters of marriage. There she is beautifully clear in all the books, and in fact the materialism of the class is the gridiron on which the marriage games are played.
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