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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Listening in on Chawton House

Last summer, the pandemic programmers of Chawton House, the Elizabethan manor once owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward, revived the estate’s dormant podcast, which had been produced a handful of times in 2012-13 and monthly from 2015-17.

In its new incarnation, the podcast currently runs to nine episodes, some of them highlighting Chawton’s programming and others discussing the long and complex renovation that brought the building back from the brink of dereliction in the 1990s. (A chapter of my book Among the Janeites tells the story of this project, envisioned and financed by Cisco Systems co-founder Sandy Lerner.)

The podcast’s four most recent episodes feature interviews with members of the Knight family, Edward’s descendants, who knew the house as children, participated in the restoration, and still retain the freehold of the property.

Episodes average about half an hour in length and seem to appear on no particular schedule: the most recent was posted back in August, and there’s no indication of when the next is likely to appear. But for fans of the Austenian jewel that is Chawton House, especially those of us who aren’t likely to find ourselves in the UK anytime soon, Chawton’s podcast is a quick and easy way to visit.

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