9 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2022
  2. www.janeausten.pludhlab.org www.janeausten.pludhlab.org
    1. consoling herself, however, with the discovery, which her keen eye soon made, that the lace on Mrs. Thorpe’s pelisse was not half so handsome as that on her own.

      The pelisse, a popular garment most recently revived through the iconic yellow model worn by Ana Taylor-Joy in Autumn de Wilde’s Emma (2020), might be included as a footnote in the twin history of fashion and ecological degradation.

      By donning a pelisse, Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Thorpe, whatever their rivalries, were both at the cusp of early nineteenth-century fashion. Austen herself owned at least two pelisses, as historian Hilary Davidson has demonstrated. The pelisse, an overdress, was developed partly in response to the new Empire-period silhouette and partly due the “muslin disease” or influenza that ailed young women wearing fashionable lightweight fabrics in freezing weather.

      In the colder months, pelisses could be lined with fur, so Mrs. Allen’s observation that Mrs. Thorpe’s lace is not as handsome would indicate that this scene takes place in the warmer months. The pelisse’s popularity led it to replace the fur cloaks of the earlier eighteenth century. Soon, though, pelisses themselves would be replaced with fur coats, which gained popularity throughout the nineteenth century, reaching a high point in the 1850s. Their popularity was in large part due to new methods of processing fur, which made it more supple (Fashioned 86). The consumption of fur and sealskin jackets, as well as feathers and cotton, throughout the period would lead to the devastation (e.g., India’s cotton industry) of ecosystems (71).

      As we read these lines, then, we are reminded, of Austen’s critical eye for the consumer habits of her time. Although her critique here pertains to petty fashion rivalry, when reading about fashion items in her novels, we might find ourselves considering not only how little our fashion rivalries have changed but also how fashion and environmental degradation are historically linked.

      For more on the pelisse, the spencer, and muslin, head over to Austenprose to read Hilary Davidson's post on Regency fashion in Emma (2020).

      Works Cited

  3. Jan 2022
  4. www.janeausten.pludhlab.org www.janeausten.pludhlab.org
    1. Every morning now brought its regular duties—shops were to be visited; some new part of the town to be looked at; and the pump-room to be attended, where they paraded up and down for an hour, looking at everybody and speaking to no one.

      Jane Austen’s contemporaries, including everyone from the laboring poor to the royals, shared a belief in the restorative power of spring water and in the consumption of natural remedies. In the years when Austen was writing Northanger Abbey, the warm springs offered at Bath’s Pump rooms were a popular treatmentfor those suffering from loss of appetite, nerves (Mrs. Bennett!), gout, and ailments affecting the stomach, head, and vital parts.

      In 1813, a guide to the resort claimed that the waters contained carbon dioxide, azotic gas, sulphates, muriate of soda, selenite, carbonate of lime siliceous earth, and a very small portion of oxide of iron (Guide 32). These properties probably gave the water a sulfuric aroma. As the opening of this chapter suggests, though, whether ill or healthy, the resort provided for all. For the healthy visitor, the prime activity was to consume in ways that are familiar to us: purchasing clothes or textiles, as Catherine learns to do from Mrs. Allen, window-shopping, and people-watching.

      These lines express Austen’s awareness of the period’s rapidly growing consumer market, resulting from an unprecedented growth in the middle class, which in turn increased demand for domestic and foreign goods. Purchasing power allowed Bath visitors to pay about one guinea a month for access to the warm spring waters served in the newly renovated Pump Room, and to provide a handsome gratuity to the pumper serving water from the King’s Springs .jpg) (Guide 38). But they would likely also be paying to imbibe other popular drinks, including tea, coffee, and chocolate, which albeit pricey were increasingly affordable to the growing middle-class (Selwyn 215). As any Austen fan knows, the Pump Room continues to serve tourists today. Although bathing is no longer allowed, tea, chocolate, coffee, and warm spring waters can still be imbibed.

      Walking the streets of Bath with Catherine as we read through Northanger Abbey’s first volume, we might keep in mind who teaches Catherine her consumer habits, and how the novel’s development may be commenting on these practices. We might also consider how the novel records a turning point in the consumption of natural remedies and other goods extracted from apparently distant communities and environments. How much do our current consumer habits differ from Catherine’s?

      Works Cited.

  5. Nov 2020
  6. Sep 2020
  7. May 2018
    1. prosum-ers

      A person who influences the purchase of a product; they don't only consume it, they convince others to buy it by consuming it themselves. e.g. a you-tuber who is sent clothing, wears that clothing in a video, and then links it in their video as a product for purchase and gets money for it.

  8. Jun 2017
  9. May 2017