May 31, 2020  
 
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Was Jane Austen an Entrepreneur Part 1

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Jane Austen was certainly a genius, but was she an entrepreneur? Given that the act of women writing books and publishing them was frowned upon by some sectors of Regency England, it would appear she had a certain spirit.

Universally Acknowledged Truths It is a truth universally acknowledged that when Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice amongst other masterpieces, first took up her pen and began to write, female writers were virtually unheard of.

In any case writing wasn't thought a suitable occupation or even pastime for elegant young ladies in the society in which she lived. Novels in particular were viewed as unnecessary frivolities. To highlight this Jane Austen even has some of her characters in her books condemn novel readers – of course she does this with her characteristic razor sharp wit and sense of irony.

"I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice

Women were judged on more than just having a pair of fine eyes in Regency England. Although this appealing feature is one which Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy is attracted to in the young Elizabeth Bennet in Austen's Pride and Prejudice. But there is more to the feisty Elizabeth than her appearance, something which the initially opposed Mr Darcy later begins to appreciate and fall in love with.

"I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women." Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice

An English woman's accomplishments, in those days, might be needlework, watercolor painting and perhaps the speaking of French, despite the revolution – and Austen alludes to these supposedly desirable attributes in all of her six complete novels – Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Emma. In addition, musical ability was very much admired; and a woman who was proficient on the piano forte and able to sing well was particularly respected by friends, family and prospective suitors alike.

"I wish," said Margaret, striking out a novel thought, "that somebody would give us all a large fortune apiece!" Margaret Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility

Many of the women in Jane Austen's world were obliged to marry into fortune if they were to survive in life; by law they couldn't inherit or earn their financial security for themselves. This point is made more than clear by Elinor Dashwood, the eldest and most sensible sister of the three Dashwood girls in Sense and Sensibility. The focus on the dilemmas of inheritance and money is a strong theme in the book along with Austen's customary inclusion of a will they-won't they romance.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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Was Jane Austen an Entrepreneur Part 2


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