Chapter 30. The Trouble with Things: Objects and the Commodification of Sociability

  1. Claudia L. Johnson Chair and
  2. Clara Tuite Senior Lecturer
  1. Barbara M. Benedict

Published Online: 6 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444305968.ch30

A Companion to Jane Austen

A Companion to Jane Austen

How to Cite

Benedict, B. M. (2009) The Trouble with Things: Objects and the Commodification of Sociability, in A Companion to Jane Austen (eds C. L. Johnson and C. Tuite), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444305968.ch30

Editor Information

  1. University of Melbourne, Australia

Author Information

  1. Charles A. Dana Professor of English Literature, Trinity College, CT, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 2 JAN 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405149099

Online ISBN: 9781444305968

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Keywords:

  • The Trouble with Things;
  • Jane Austen depicting the relations between women, between women and men, and between members of the same and different social classes;
  • Austen dramatizes the overlap between the material and the moral, the collaborative and the rivalrous, through her characters' encounters in thing-cluttered spaces from shops to libraries;
  • Whereas Austen's men most often reveal their characters through the consumption of food, women are often portrayed through the symbol of jewelry;
  • jewelry exemplifies shifting of goods from traditional emblems of social relations to individually acquired symbols of self;
  • one of the most prevalent items of consumption in the Regency was dress;
  • the most evidently consumable of goods in Austen's work is food. Characters who eat too much or care too much about food clearly exhibit greed

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Shops

  • Things

  • Jewelry

  • Clothes

  • Food

  • Conclusion

  • Further Reading