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Jane Austen, Edward Knight, & Chawton:…
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Jane Austen, Edward Knight, & Chawton: Commerce & Community

by Linda Slothouber

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0692319743, Paperback)

When Jane Austen's third brother, Edward, inherited the estates of his rich relatives, he took on their surname, Knight, and he took control of property scattered across five English counties. Jane visited her brother at his home in Kent, and she spent her final years in a cottage he owned in the village of Chawton in Hampshire. From these vantage points, she observed Edward's approach to managing his estates and learned about the concerns and activities of wealthy landowners, knowledge that is reflected in her novels.
Using original estate books, bank records, letters, and other archival sources, Linda Slothouber has created the most detailed portrait to date of Edward Knight. With Edward as an example, along with excerpts from Jane Austen's novels, the reader discovers how the landed gentry of fact and fiction made their money, tried to ensure the prosperity of their heirs, and interacted with workers on their estates. People at all levels of the estate economy are represented, with profiles of specific individuals that Jane Austen would have known during her years in Chawton.
To fully understand the social criticism and subtle humor in Jane Austen's novels, it is necessary to understand her world; while the pastimes of the gentry are often in the foreground, the business of estate ownership is an essential foundation. Learn what being "Lord of the Manor" and having "ten thousand a year" really meant; what stewards, bailiffs, overseers, and churchwardens did; who administered the civic affairs of the village; how attitudes toward natural resources and common property changed during Jane Austen's lifetime; and why the estate-owner, though at the top of the social order of the village, was often judged according to the well-being of his humblest cottagers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:58:45 -0400)

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