seven thousand pounds

Category: Money | Type: Historical | Title: Sense and Sensibility (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 1

In view of the place money has in this and the other Austen novels, we need to try to convert £ in the period of her novels to $ today. This is at best an uncertain science, for we need to cover nearly two centuries of inflation, cross to another currency, and recognize that the relative costs of things such as food, rent, labor, and clothes, horses, books, horses, and land have altered. There's much difference of opinion, ranging from multiplying by thirty to multiplying by 100, so any rule is tentative. I believe it's safely approximate to multiply by something between 80 and 90. I'll use 90: £7000 = $630,000.

Yet we need to know as well what that money can buy and how its purchase power defines the owner's place within his or her class. For an excellent map that covers £100-increments of income in Austen see Edward Copeland, "Money," in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen and his Women Writing about Money: Women's Fiction in England, 1790-1820. 

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