Gary Saul Morson, the Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, and Morton Schapiro, a professor of economics and the president of Northwestern University have put forward an interesting question: could reading Tolstoy and Austen improve economic forecasting?
In their book, Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn from the Humanities, they argue that, while taking literature seriously will not completely transform the field of economics it will provide a real boost to accuracy and general understanding of why seemingly unlikely events are more likely than first assumed (recessions being a prime example). They believe that learning from literature, philosophy and the other humanities, along with history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, religion and the like, may lead economists to develop more realistic models of human behavior, increase the accuracy of their predictions, and come up with policies that are more effective and more just.
They particularly recommend reading some of the classic literary greats:
There is no better source of ethical insight than the novels of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Eliot, Jane Austen, Henry James, and the other great realists. Their stories distill the complexity of ethical questions that are too important to be entrusted to an overarching theory – questions that call for good judgment.
We wonder what Jane would make of this!
An essay going into more depth on the importance of literature and the humanities in economics can be read here.
It is a fact widely held by many that an unattached woman must be in want of a Mr Darcy… or not. Retail analysts Mintel have recently published their research which shows that the majority of single UK women are perfectly happy with being single. Nearly two thirds of single women (61% to be exact) are happy to be on their own.
However, a modern Mr Darcy might need Lizzy Bennet more than she needs him. Mintel found that only 49% of single men are happy being alone. Having said that, only 30% of singles asked said they had actively tried to find a partner in the past 12 months.
Jack Duckett. Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said: “Much of this reluctance to look for a partner can be attributed to the young increasingly prioritising their education, careers and financial stability over being in relationships.”
How times have changed. Mrs Bennet was worried they’d all be destitute if her daughters didn’t marry; today people are almost worried that they’ll be poorer if they do prioritise finding a life partner!
Our Canadian readers might like to know that on December 9th Montgomery’s Inn in Toronto will be hosting a Jane Austen Christmas Supper.
The pleasures of the Georgian table during the festive season will be brought to life once more as guests sup by candlelight beside an open fire. There will be festive Georgian fare; roast goose, mince pies, and many other traditional foods. Historical dress is encouraged (but optional) and seatings are at 5pm or at 8pm.
More information can be found here.
At the Jane Austen News we are delighted to be able to share with you news that a new podcast company, Fable Gazers, is being established. We’re delighted because Fable Gazers will be exploring as one of its two upcoming podcast series the wonderful world of the Regency.
The series in question will be called ‘Heyer Today’, and will look at the Georgian and Regency era through the lens of Georgette Heyer, and in one or two episodes, of course, Jane Austen.
Here’s what Sara-Mae Tuson, co-founder of the project, has to say about it:
Over the course of 12-14 episodes, we hope to convert new readers to her wonderful work, examine the influence of her spiritual ancestor Jane Austen, speak to experts and contextualise each book chosen in terms of what was happening in Heyer’s life at the time.
Great! Though we must admit, we’re a little biased as one of our team had a lovely time contributing an interview to one of the episodes (such fun!) More information on Fable Gazers can be found here.
We’re quite looking forward to the release of a new Austen-inspired short story collection called Austenistan from Bloomsbury.
Due out on the 6th of December, the short story collection is inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan. The book contains seven stories, romantic, uplifting, witty, and heartbreaking by turn, each of which pays homage to the world’s favourite author in their own uniquely local way.
At the Jane Austen News we think we may have just found yet another book to add to our “to read” pile (/mountain).
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