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Austen: Sense and Sensibility

1. Money

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the role of money in the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) Marianne's claim that money hardly matters at all ("it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned"); (ii) the sheer extent of Marianne's wealth, and the absurdity of her claim that she barely has enough to live on; (iii) the extent to which characters in the novel are hypocritical about money; (iv) the extent to which money is linked to power, and the extent to which this follows gender lines – focusing in particular on Edward Ferrars and Mrs Jennings; (v) the painstaking precision with which Austen describes the financial situation of the Dashwood family; and (vi) the extent to which characters judge each other based on how wealthy they are.


In this course, Professor John Mullan (University College London) explores Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. In the first module, we think about the role of money in the novel. After that, we think about the themes of engagement and marriage. In the third module, we explore the significance of 'sensibility', before turning in the fourth module to consider the point of view from which the novel is narrated. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the ending of the novel, looking specifically at Marianne's marriage to Colonel Brandon.


Professor John Mullan holds the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College, London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature, currently writing the 1709-1784 volume of the Oxford English Literary History. Most recently he is the author of How Novels Work (2006), Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature (2008) and What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved (2012). A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Mullan, J. (2022, February 07). Austen: Sense and Sensibility - Money [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Mullan, J. "Austen: Sense and Sensibility – Money." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Feb 2022,

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