Deconstructing Mr. Darcy: Just how rich was he?

| By Jennifer Albers-Smith |

I took this awesome class in college at University of Michigan that–10 years later–still resonates with me. It focused exclusively on Jane Austen and her contemporaries. We read all of Austen’s novels as well as Radcliffe, Burney, and Wollstonecraft, and it was easily the best four months of my academic career. The professor was really innovative and brought in one of her colleagues, Kathryn Dominguez, from the Economics department to do a lecture on what things cost in Jane Austen’s time.  She put together this great PowerPoint deck that I still have to this day because I thought it was so intriguing.

Numbers pop up all the time in Austen’s novels, but the reader really has no sense of how rich Bingley and Darcy are or how “poor” the Bennets are by comparison.

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True Confessions of a Jane Austen Fan Girl

By Jennifer Albers-Smith

From the moment I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, I was hooked. I love Jane Austen’s novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice, with Sense and Sensibility coming in a distant second. I have read P&P over 10 times, watched multiple mini-series and movie adaptations, joined the Jane Austen Society of North America, and, still, I just can’t get enough.

Recently, I went to a library book sale in my hometown, and was browsing the adult fiction section. My sister happened across two books that had “Mr. Darcy” as part of the title, grabbed them, and handed them over. Of course, I purchased them and read them both the same week. One, Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange, was pretty good – better than most JA fan fiction novels. The other, though, left me completely bereft after reading – Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman by Maria Hamilton. I loved it. The first thing I did after finishing it was look to see if there was a sequel.

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