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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen




Marianne in Sense and Sensibility declares £2000/yr a moderate income for a family. The Telegraph's Charlotte Runcie figures about a 60x inflation from Austen's time, and with $1.28 per pound, that comes to about $150,000 per year (especially nice since you don't have to work for it). Runcie argues that these incomes would not sustain the estates from the novels unless you also took into account how they scaled as a proportion of GDP. For that, the conversion to dollars would require a factor of 1100, so $2.2 mil/year would be modest. In comparison, the average servant would make a dozen pounds or so in excess of room and board.

The Telegraph: Could Mr Darcy afford a stately home today?