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The Speculative World of Sanditon

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Abstract

Comyn argues that Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon (written 1817) provides insights into the changes taking place within the British economy and the reconceptualisation of value. Through a comparative analysis with David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), Comyn demonstrates how Sanditon explores the disquietude surrounding the ongoing suspension of note convertibility, enacted by the Bank Restriction Act of 1797. This chapter argues that Sanditon also implicitly portrays homo economicus as a failed reader in a speculative economy, where the categories of use value and exchange value are perpetually confused.

Keywords

  • Sanditon
  • England Bank
  • Recession Constant
  • Blue Shoes
  • Jane AustenAusten

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan, 5th ed. (1776; London: Methuen & Co., 1904; Library of Economics and Liberty [Online]), I. IV. 13, http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html.

  2. 2.

    David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, 3rd ed. (1817; London: John Murray, 1821; Library of Economics and Liberty [Online]), I.1, http://www.econlib.org/library/Ricardo/ricP.html.

  3. 3.

    Jane Austen, Sanditon, in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen: Later Manuscripts, ed. Janet M. Todd and Linda Bree (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 146; 148. Unless otherwise stated, all subsequent references are to this edition.

  4. 4.

    Austen, Sanditon, 138–140.

  5. 5.

    Austen, Sanditon, 146.

  6. 6.

    Jane Austen, Sanditon: Fragment of a Novel, ed. R. W. Chapman (Oxford; London: Oxford University Press, 1925).

  7. 7.

    James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen, 2nd ed. (London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1871), 181.

  8. 8.

    R. W. Chapman, “Preface” in Sanditon: Fragment of a Novel, ed. R. W. Chapman (Oxford; London: Oxford University Press, 1925). My own examination of the Sanditon Manuscript at King’s College led me to the same conclusions as Chapman. Equally, Kathryn Sutherland’s extensive examination of the manuscript for the digital edition of Jane Austen’s Manuscripts leads her to the conclusion that “both its position in relation to the rest of the manuscript and its brevity suggest nothing more than that it was perhaps inconvenient at that moment to use a pen”. See Kathryn Sutherland, “Sanditon Head Note”, in Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition, n. p., 2010.

  9. 9.

    Mary Isabella Lefroy, Letter to R. W. Chapman, 28 October 1930, Typescript, held with the Holograph Sanditon Manuscript, Kings/PP/NM/AustenJ, King’s College Archives , Cambridge. Every reasonable effort has been made to trace the copyright holders and obtain permission to reproduce this material, but without success. I welcome any information that might clarify the copyright ownership and will be pleased to make the necessary changes to ensure the correct acknowledgement.

  10. 10.

    Jane Austen, Later Manuscripts, ed. Janet M Todd and Linda Bree, (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

  11. 11.

    The bank of Austen’s brother, Henry , went bankrupt in 1816 and put a number of family members in financial difficulty providing a personal link to the satirical attack against financial investment in the novel. For a detailed account of Henry Austen’s history as a banker and the impact his economic dealings had on Jane Austen’s writing, see Emma J. Clery, Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister (London: Biteback Publishing, 2017).

  12. 12.

    B. C. Southam, Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts: A Study of the Novelist’s Development through the Surviving Papers, new ed. (London; New York: Athlone Press, 2001), 102.

  13. 13.

    See, for instance, Clara Tuite, Romantic Austen: Sexual Politics and the Literary Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 67; “Sanditon: Austen’s pre-post Waterloo”, Textual Practice 26, no. 4 (2012): 609–629; and James Thompson, Between Self and World: The Novels of Jane Austen (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988).

  14. 14.

    Southam, Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts, 104.

  15. 15.

    The full title of the 1768 work gives a sense of the descriptive detail of the guide: The Southampton Guide: Or, An Account of the Antient and Present State of that Town; its Trade, Public Buildings, Charitable Foundations, Fairs, Markets, Play-house, and Assembly-room; with the Times of the Coming in and Going out of Stage Coaches, Machines, Carriers, Posts, &c. To which is added, a Description of the Isle of Wight, Netley Abbey, Lymington, Lyndhurst, Redbridge, New Forest, Romsey, Bellvue, Bevis-mount, St. Dennis, Tichfield, &c. Interspersed with many Curious and Useful Particulars (Southampton: J. Linden, 1768).

  16. 16.

    The 1810 edition was advertised as a “new and improved edition”: The Southampton Guide: Comprising an Account of the Ancient and Present State of Southampton and its Neighbourhood; with Every Particular Necessary for the Information of the Stranger and Traveller, new and improved ed. (Southampton: T. Baker, 1810)

  17. 17.

    The Southampton Guide (1810), 23.

  18. 18.

    The Southampton Guide; Comprising an Account of the Ancient and Present State of that Town, and its Neighbourhood; Together with every Particular Necessary for the Information of the Stranger and Traveller. To which is prefixed Southampton Rooms, a Satirical Poem, 5th ed. (Southampton: T. Baker, 1795), 47.

  19. 19.

    The Southampton Guide (1795), 120.

  20. 20.

    Austen, Sanditon, 137.

  21. 21.

    Austen, Sanditon, 153.

  22. 22.

    See Mavis Batey, Jane Austen and the English Landscape (London; Chicago: Barn Elms; Chicago Review Press, 1996), 124–126.

  23. 23.

    Thompson, Between Self and World, 127.

  24. 24.

    Southam, Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts, 106.

  25. 25.

    Mary Poovey, Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 187.

  26. 26.

    The description, “Paper Age” forms the title of Book II in Carlyle’s The French Revolution. See Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution ed. K. J. Fielding and David Sorensen (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989).

  27. 27.

    Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1987), 308.

  28. 28.

    As Ian Haywood rightly points out, the Bank Restriction Act “is a somewhat misleading title, as it actually led to a massive expansion of paper money. Specifically, the Act authorized the mass production of new £1 and £2 banknotes to replace the withdrawn specie”. Ian Haywood, “Paper Promises: Restriction, Caricature and the Ghost of Gold”, in “Romanticism, Forgery and the Credit Crunch”, ed. Ian Haywood, Romantic Circles (February 2012), http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/forgery/HTML/praxis.2011.haywood.html.

  29. 29.

    David Ricardo, “The Price of Gold, Three Contributions to the Morning Chronicle 1809”, in The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffra and M. H. Dobb, 3: Pamphlets and Papers 1809–1811 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005), 15.

  30. 30.

    Ricardo, “The Price of Gold”, 20.

  31. 31.

    William Cobbett, Paper Against Gold: Or the History and Mystery of the Bank of England, 4th ed. (Wm Cobbett, 1828), 3.

  32. 32.

    Poovey, Genres of the Credit Economy, 48.

  33. 33.

    Tony Tanner, Jane Austen (London: Macmillan, 1986), 255.

  34. 34.

    Mary Poovey, “From Politics to Silence: Jane Austen’s Nonreferential Aesthetic”, in Companion to Jane Austen, ed. Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2009), 257.

  35. 35.

    Poovey, “From Politics to Silence”, 257.

  36. 36.

    Poovey, “From Politics to Silence”, 257.

  37. 37.

    David Nokes. Jane Austen: A Life (London: Fourth Estate, 1997), 486–488.

  38. 38.

    Austen, Sanditon, 156.

  39. 39.

    Austen, Sanditon, 203.

  40. 40.

    Austen, Sanditon, 160.

  41. 41.

    Austen, Sanditon, 156.

  42. 42.

    Austen, Sanditon, 156–157.

  43. 43.

    Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, II.4.

  44. 44.

    Recall Guillory’s argument, analysed in Chap. 2, that Smith’s “strained” distinction between aesthetic and use values falls apart when entering the exchange market.

  45. 45.

    Austen, Sanditon, 157. For an account of Mr Parker’s language of promotion, see Clara Tuite’s analysis of the Waterloo “name” being held in reserve in “Sanditon: Austen’s pre-post Waterloo”.

  46. 46.

    Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, intro. Margaret Anne Doody, ed. James Kinsley (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 165.

  47. 47.

    Austen, Sense and Sensibility, 165; Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 6th ed. (1759; London: A. Millar, 1790; Library of Economics and Liberty [Online]), IV.I.6, http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS1.html.

  48. 48.

    Claudia L. Johnson, introduction to Northanger Abbey; Lady Susan; The Watson; Sanditon, by Jane Austen ed. John N. Davie and James Kinsley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), xxxiii.

  49. 49.

    Sophie von La Roche, Sophie in London, 1786: Being a Diary of Sophie V. La Roche, trans. Clare Williams (1786; London; Toronto: Jonathon Cape, 1933), 171.

  50. 50.

    Johnson, introduction to Northanger Abbey, xxxiii.

  51. 51.

    Austen, Sanditon, 167.

  52. 52.

    Austen, Sanditon, 168–169.

  53. 53.

    Austen, Sanditon, 169.

  54. 54.

    Austen, Sanditon, 167.

  55. 55.

    Jane Austen, “Plan of a Novel, According to Hints from Various Quarters”, in Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts: A Digital Edition, ed. Kathryn Sutherland (2010), 1, http://www.janeausten.ac.uk/manuscripts/pmplan/1.html.

  56. 56.

    Austen, Sanditon, 169 (emphasis in original).

  57. 57.

    Austen, Sanditon, 183–184.

  58. 58.

    Richard Terdiman argues that “[s]eduction happens when a text maneuvers [sic] for the control or compliance of a body, when it projects a false or constructed reality, believable but mendacious, intended to mislead. But that means that the theme of seduction foregrounds the enigma of textuality itself”. Richard Terdiman, Body and Story: The Ethics and Practice of Theoretical Conflict (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2005), 86 (emphasis in original).

  59. 59.

    Johnson, introduction to Northanger Abbey, xxxiii.

  60. 60.

    Paul Keen, Literature, Commerce, and the Spectacle of Modernity, 1750–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 82.

  61. 61.

    Keen, Literature, Commerce, and the Spectacle of Modernity, 82.

  62. 62.

    Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, II.2.

  63. 63.

    Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, I.34.

  64. 64.

    Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, I.83.

  65. 65.

    David Ricardo to Thomas Malthus, 7 October 1815, Letter 127 in The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffra and M. H. Dobb, 6: Letters (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).

  66. 66.

    Thomas Robert Malthus , An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers, intro. Geoffrey Gilbert (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).

  67. 67.

    Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 3.

  68. 68.

    Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, 63, 68.

  69. 69.

    Austen, Sanditon, 158.

  70. 70.

    Austen, Sanditon, 204.

  71. 71.

    Austen, Sanditon, 150.

  72. 72.

    Austen, Sanditon, 152.

  73. 73.

    See, Terdiman, Body and Story.

  74. 74.

    Tuite, Romantic Austen, 177.

  75. 75.

    John Wiltshire describes Diana Parker’s constant chatter as “an addiction to extravagant expression”. John Wiltshire, Jane Austen and the Body: “The Picture of Health” (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 211.

  76. 76.

    See, for example, Ross Chambers, “Authority and Seduction”, in Story and Situation: Narrative Seduction and the Power of Fiction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984).

  77. 77.

    Austen, Sanditon, 172.

  78. 78.

    Austen, Sanditon, 174–177 (emphasis in original).

  79. 79.

    Austen, Sanditon, 192.

  80. 80.

    D. A. Miller, “The Late Jane Austen”, Raritan 10, no. 1 (1990): 64–65.

  81. 81.

    Wiltshire, Jane Austen and the Body, 212.

  82. 82.

    D. A. Miller, Narrative and Its Discontents: Problems of Closure in the Traditional Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 33–35.

  83. 83.

    Tuite, Romantic Austen, 162.

  84. 84.

    Austen, Sanditon, 203.

  85. 85.

    Tuite, Romantic Austen, 160.

  86. 86.

    William Cobbett, Rural Rides (T. London: Nelson & Sons, 1830; Project Gutenberg, 2010), 316–317, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34238/34238-h/34238-h.htm.

  87. 87.

    Austen, Sanditon, 164.

  88. 88.

    Austen, Sanditon, 187.

  89. 89.

    Austen, Sanditon, 200.

  90. 90.

    Deidre Shauna Lynch, The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 212.

  91. 91.

    Lynch, The Economy of Character, 212.

  92. 92.

    Lynch, The Economy of Character, 212.

  93. 93.

    Tanner, Jane Austen, 271.

  94. 94.

    Austen, Sanditon, 201 (emphasis in original).

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Comyn, S. (2018). The Speculative World of Sanditon. In: Political Economy and the Novel. Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94325-1_3

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