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The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British NovelThe Confidence Man: Persuasion and the Romance of Risk

The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British Novel: The Confidence Man: Persuasion... [As an astute reader of eighteenth-century novels who from at least age 13 was dissecting fictional conventions with aplomb in her own experimental writing, Jane Austen digests and transforms the romance of gambling in the eighteenth-century novel. Austen gestures to the history of gamblers in eighteenth-century novels by assigning the activity to so many of her works’ rogues: in Pride and Prejudice, Wickham’s gambling debts horrify Jane Bennet; in Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby’s gambling debts, among others, prevent him from marrying Marianne; in Mansfield Park, Tom Bertram’s gambling debts deprive his brother Edmund of the clerical living he expected to hold. A few domestic card-playing scenes in this novel also anticipate the psychologically symbolic uses of gambling in later nineteenth-century novels: for example, Henry Crawford’s ability to play his, Fanny’s, and Lady Bertram’s hands simultaneously in a game of Speculation signifies his multiple pursuits of Julia Bertram, Maria Bertram, and Fanny Price. Thus we can see Austen’s work as pivotal, looking back to the use of gambling as an activity that has economic significance in eighteenth-century fiction and forward to the use of gambling for psychological characterization in nineteenth-century fiction.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

The Romance of Gambling in the Eighteenth-Century British NovelThe Confidence Man: Persuasion and the Romance of Risk

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Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2011
ISBN
978-1-349-32662-4
Pages
146 –168
DOI
10.1057/9780230307278_7
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[As an astute reader of eighteenth-century novels who from at least age 13 was dissecting fictional conventions with aplomb in her own experimental writing, Jane Austen digests and transforms the romance of gambling in the eighteenth-century novel. Austen gestures to the history of gamblers in eighteenth-century novels by assigning the activity to so many of her works’ rogues: in Pride and Prejudice, Wickham’s gambling debts horrify Jane Bennet; in Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby’s gambling debts, among others, prevent him from marrying Marianne; in Mansfield Park, Tom Bertram’s gambling debts deprive his brother Edmund of the clerical living he expected to hold. A few domestic card-playing scenes in this novel also anticipate the psychologically symbolic uses of gambling in later nineteenth-century novels: for example, Henry Crawford’s ability to play his, Fanny’s, and Lady Bertram’s hands simultaneously in a game of Speculation signifies his multiple pursuits of Julia Bertram, Maria Bertram, and Fanny Price. Thus we can see Austen’s work as pivotal, looking back to the use of gambling as an activity that has economic significance in eighteenth-century fiction and forward to the use of gambling for psychological characterization in nineteenth-century fiction.]

Published: Oct 28, 2015

Keywords: Marriage Market; Chance Event; Special Providence; Happy Ending; Authorial Control

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