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Jane Austen : The Banker's Sister (Hardcover) (E. J. Clery)
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When it was announced that Jane Austen would appear on the new £10 note in 2017, the 200th anniversary of her death, there was a flurry of media excitement. Few noted that a £10 Austen banknote was already in existence, albeit one issued by her brother. Henry Austen had set up as a banker in 1804, and built up a small empire of country banks. But Henry went unmentioned, and for good reason—he had gone spectacularly bust in the crash of 1816, the year before Jane died.
Versions of Henry appear throughout her novels, not least in the charming but unscrupulous Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park, master of the fashionable card game Speculation. In her last novels, Jane worked through her increasing doubts about the speculative mindset and the shock caused by the collapse of Henry's enterprise.
Exploring the close parallels between the speculative political economy of the late eighteenth century and that of the present day, Jane Austen: The Banker's Sister counters the stereotype of the spinster tucked away in a Hampshire village, detached from the great historical changes of her era. Based on wholly new research, including sensational new evidence of Henry's entanglements in the dissolute circle around the Prince Regent, this fascinating new volume will change the way Austen's life and her novels are understood.
E. J. Clery is Professor of Eighteenth Century Literature at the University of Southampton. An established expert, she frequently appears on radio and TV talking about Austen.