Nineteen is a number much on our collective minds today, as we prepare to usher in 2019, the last year of the second decade of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, I went looking for nineteens in Jane Austen -- and I found eleven references, in ten different passages spread over four of the completed novels. (Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice are nineteen-free zones.) With the exception of one throwaway Mansfield Park reference to “nineteen times out of twenty,” Aust
The voracious interest in all things Jane Austen has inspired plenty of scholarship about her ancestors and her collateral descendants – Austen ghosts, haunting the places she, and they, once lived. Herewith a Christmastime roundup of some recent stories about Jane Austen’s past, present and future: * The ghost of Austens past: I’ve noted before that Jane Austen’s aunt Philadelphia, one of her father’s sisters, is a fascinating and under-studied character. So I read with inte
Tomorrow is Christmas, the day on which a larger-than-life personage employing semi-equine transport suddenly appears in our homes, bringing good things for the good and not-so-good things for the naughty.
You may think Jane Austen didn’t have this covered. But you would be wrong.
Yes, it’s true that Christmas comes up only once in a while in Austen’s work, and seldom as an occasion of joy and revelry.
Of the three novels that refer to the holiday, only Persuasion gives us
Eighteen months ago, not a single statue of Jane Austen was on public display anywhere in the world. And now, it appears, we will soon have three within a ten-mile radius. Back in July 2017, the Hampshire town of Basingstoke, where Austen shopped and danced but never lived, unveiled a bronze figure of the author to commemorate the bicentenary of her death. In June of this year, the nearby village of Chawton, where Austen not only lived but also wrote or revised all six of her
Fortieth in an occasional series of excerpts from Jane Austen's letters. It’s not always easy to tell when Jane Austen, master of irony, wants you to take her words at face value. And perhaps that’s why we’re still arguing about the self-assessment contained in the letter she finished writing exactly 202 years ago today (#146 in Deirdre Le Faye’s standard edition of Austen’s correspondence). That letter – begun a day earlier, on Austen's forty-first birthday, the last she wou
Virginia Woolf famously wrote of Jane Austen that “of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness.”
Let me paraphrase: Of all authors with a reputation for writing romances, Austen is the most difficult to catch in the act of writing something romantic.
Look, for example, at the latest work of the Internet Truthiness Quote Machine: a recent piece on the website of Travel + Leisure magazine offering “101 Romantic Messages to Keep the Love Ali
Jane Austen’s mature work features only one character of color: the teenaged West Indian heiress Miss Lambe, “half mulatto, chilly and tender,” who receives a passing mention near the end of Sanditon, the novel Austen left unfinished at her death.
The lily-white nature of Austen’s cast of characters isn’t surprising, given the racial makeup of the rural English world she knew best. What is intriguing is a recent spate – I think we can call it a trend! -- of Austen fanfic, in
Jane Austen was a novelist, not an accountant, therapist, scientist, or priest. But you wouldn’t know it from the array of books recruiting her as an authority on, say, game theory, thrift, dating (for instance, here, here and here), and life itself.
Thus it came as no surprise last month to encounter a Philadelphia Inquirer headline posing the question, “Was Jane Austen a health and wellness guru?”
To which I would answer: No, obviously.
But here’s a shocker: Bryan Kozlow
At this point in Jane Austen’s career of pop-culture celebrity, it’s no surprise that every place with even a tangential connection to her life or work wants to publicize said linkage. And thus it is that two tidbits of news crossed my desk in recent weeks: * The Vyne, a stately sixteenth-century home near Basingstoke, recently unveiled an exhibition about the life of the Victorian-era owner who devoted his entire fortune to saving the house from dereliction, thereby leaving