Guest Post ~ Nancy I. Sanders on Her New Book, “Jane Austen for Kids”

Good Morning Readers! Today I welcome Nancy I Sanders, author of the recently released Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World. Designed for ages 9 and up, the book provides 21 enriching activities to help them gain a better understanding of daily life in the Georgia era: playing whist, designing a coat-of-arms, planting a kitchen garden, learning the boulanger, hosting a tea, playing cricket, sewing a reticule – all activities Jane would have participated in – and now we can too! Filled with pictures and much information of Austen’s life and works, this is a lively and engaging way to learn more about Jane Austen. I highly recommend that you add this book to your Austen collection, no matter your age – you might learn how to curl your hair just like Jane did!

Join Nancy as she takes us on a tour through Jane Austen country, where she was inspired to write this book!

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Our beloved Jane once wrote in a letter to her sister Cassandra, “It appeared so likely to be a wet evening that I went up to the Great House between three and four, and dawdled away an hour very comfortably.”

Two centuries later, early in the afternoon on July 19, 2017, I rode with my husband Jeff and our JASNA tour group on the tour bus toward the Great House. My heart beat with excitement as we drove past quaint homes, many reflecting days gone by.

I had traveled all the way from Los Angeles here to Hampshire to treasure this experience today. As a children’s writer, I was researching and taking photographs for my newest book, Jane Austen for Kids. But for me as well as others in our group, today would be a highlight of our trip. I would get to visit Jane’s adult home, the church she attended with her mother and sister and other family members, and her brother Edward’s nearby mansion, known affectionately as the Great House.

Chawton House –  “The Great House”

We turned up the lane and I saw it. The Great House. Jane spent many a merry day here visiting her nieces and nephews…exploring the well-stocked library…meandering over the manicured grounds…drinking delightful teas…and, I dare say, collecting many ideas for her novels.

What a joy it was to explore the Great House. Now known as the Chawton House, its collections feature Jane Austen as well as other famous women writers. We visited its library room with collections of rare books. We saw the huge portrait painted of Edward Knight, Jane’s fortunate brother who was adopted by the childless Knights. The silhouette of this adoption was also here at the Great House. It was because of her brother’s adoption by Jane’s wealthy relatives that Edward eventually inherited this property and also the humble cottage that eventually was granted for Jane, her mother, and her sister Cassandra to live in.

In the dining room was the same dining table where Jane would sit down to eat when she visited her brother and her favorite niece, Fanny. We saw Jane’s favorite window overlooking the gravel driveway where Jane would sit and look out and imagine…

 

Finally it was time to leave. There were other memories to explore. We headed toward St. Nicholas Church, located next to the Great House.

Arriving at St. Nicholas Church, a peaceful pastoral scene greeted us. Its open gate beckoned us inside.

Later that day, I wrote in my travel journal of this experience:

As we walked down the golden gravel path, the gentle mist fell around us as the gentle mist of time melted away. We walked in the footsteps of Jane and her family on their way to church and to visit each other. Sheep bleated peacefully in the nearby pasture. Jane’s sister and mother are buried behind the church. Their tombstones stand as silent reminders that there are stories of our Jane still waiting to be told…

 

Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Chawton

 

We passed by tombstones, weathered by the rains and sunshines of time. Even though this church has been renovated and altered from its original design, it was still a remarkable site to see.

Inside was a simple magnificence.

A hushed stillness comforted our visit and filled us with awe.

I headed outside, paused for a moment to take a photo shot, then walked around in search of the graveyard.

More sheep grazed quietly near the old churchyard fence.

A giant tree, ancient silent sentinel, hosted a sign that pointed me toward the back.

And then I saw them. Standing side by side as markers of the two women who were perhaps most influential in Jane’s life. Her mother and her sister, both named Cassandra. The moss and ivy made delicate frames for this picturesque site. I lingered…savoring this moment…quiet…reflecting…the influence of these women reaching down through two centuries to influence me as a woman, as a reader, and as a writer.

But there was more to see, so I finally pulled myself away and headed back to the front of the church, out the gate, and down the gravel lane. I turned to take one last look at St. Nicholas and bid it farewell.

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Then down the gravel lane to the country road. Destination? Chawton Cottage, the home where Jane lived and wrote a large bulk of her novels. Today it houses Jane Austen’s House Museum.

We walked down the Jane Austen Trail….

The country land led us past moss-covered fence posts and ivy-covered trees. I must have brushed against the undergrowth because suddenly, the calf of my right leg was on fire.

Alas! That ancient culprit. Stinging nettle! I had become its victim just as in Jane’s day. Except for the pain, I had to smile. It was an unexpected souvenir of my day’s adventure.

We meandered past more quaint homes and delightfully overgrown gardens.

 

We turned the corner. And there it was. Chawton Cottage. Jane’s beloved home. Tea awaited us! Along with a glimpse into the daily life and heart of Jane.

Inside we found her writing table. The infamous door that squeaked. The bedroom she shared with Cassandra her adult life. The garden where she gathered flowers…but more than just things, we found rich treasures. Pearls and diamonds enough to fill our hearts to overflowing…yet never enough. Can one ever get enough of our Jane?

 

Once outside again, a surprise awaited us. This bench was one of many benches painted in commemoration of 200 years of Jane’s legacy to the world. They were scattered throughout Hampshire and we saw quite a number of them at various historic sites where Jane visited or stayed.

This beautiful bench brought me back from the 1700-1800s to my current day. It reminded me that I had a task to do. An exciting project that I would spend the rest of that year working on. My biography of Jane that would bring her life to young readers in a way no other book has done, focusing on Jane’s childhood and juvenile writings as well as including historic activities based on Jane’s life and times.

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Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World
By Nancy I. Sanders
Official book’s website:  http://nancyisanders.com/jane-austen/

About the author:

Nancy I. Sanders was introduced to Jane Austen as a teenager when she read Pride and Prejudice aloud with her future sister-in-law. Since then she chose to follow in Jane’s footsteps to become a writer—although her published books mostly are enjoyed by younger readers (such as the rollicking fun picture book A Pirate’s Mother Goose). With over 100 books to her credit including bestsellers and award-winning titles, Nancy still enjoys reading Jane Austen with Persuasion being her current favorite. Nancy and her husband Jeff live in Norco CA near their two sons and their wives, and three grandchildren.

Credits:

  • “It appeared”: Jane to Cassandra Austen, 13 June 1814, in Chapman, Jane Austen’s Letters, 388.
  • Chawton House photos by author, courtesy of Chawton House
  • St. Nicholas photos by author, courtesy of St. Nicholas, Chawton
  • Chawton Cottage photo by author, courtesy of the Jane Austen’s House Museum

c2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 10 (Mar 4 – Mar 10, 2019) ~ Jane Austen on the Block! and More!

Not too much this week, as I have had company, and as it should, internet cruising takes a back seat. But this latest finds blog post starts with an Austen on the Block! – then moves on to Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, nursery rhymes, John Steinbeck, and various things about books ….

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First and foremost: Austen on the Block!

An interesting set of Jane Austen’s novels (a 1854 reprint of the Bentley set of 1833) that was owned by Austen’s niece Fanny Catherine Knatchbull is up for auction on March 28, 2019 at Forum Auctions in the UK:

Lot 225:

Austen (Jane) Novels, 6 vol. in 5, reprint of first collected edition, engraved frontispiece to each vol. but lacking half-titles and additional engraved vignette titles, vol.1 with presentation inscription from F.C. Knatchbull to her daughter Louisa dated 1856 (in Louisa’s hand) and remaining vol. with ownership signature of Louisa to front free endpaper, contemporary half calf, spines gilt with double morocco labels (3 lacking, a few chipped), rubbed, 8vo, Richard Bentley, 1833 [but c.1854]

A lovely association copy, once owned by Jane Austen’s favourite niece. Estimate is £4,000 – £6,000

Read more about it here at Forum Auctions.

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A new website “Shakespeare Census” has been launched: it is a database that attempts to locate and describe all extant copies of all editions of Shakespeare’s works through 1700 (excluding the four folio editions). Visit https://shakespearecensus.org/homepage

 

Each play or poem has a logo – this is the one for Romeo & Juliet

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The Ides of March is upon us (March 15th), and so this is interesting news:

Assassination of Julius Caesar, by William Sullivan (ArtUK)

The ruins in the Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome, and where Julius Caesar met his untimely end, is home to dozens of stray cats and is currently crumbling and fenced off. It will soon undergo extensive renovations and open to the public in 2021. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/site-where-julius-caesar-was-stabbed-will-finally-open-public-180971613/

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See-Saw Margery Daw

Read about and view many of the illustrations from William Darton’s Nursey Songs at Spitalfield’s Life: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/03/09/dartons-nursery-songs/

This edition from 1822 sold at auction in 2014 for $12,500!:

Songs for the Nursery, Collected From the Works of the Most Renowned Poets, and Adapted To Favourite National Melodies. London: Printed [By R. & A. Taylor] For William Darton, 1822. Estimate $ 6,000 — 8,000

Visit http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/etexts/darton/ for a bibliography of the William Darton and Sons works exhibited in 1992 at the Lilly Library.

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The Library of Congress “Today in History” for March 9, 1841: Survivors of Amistad Mutiny Released

“The Supreme Court issued a ruling on March 9, 1841, freeing the remaining thirty-five survivors of the Amistad mutiny. Although seven of the nine justices on the court hailed from Southern states, only one dissented from Justice Joseph Story’s majority opinion. Private donations ensured the Africans’ safe return to Sierra Leone in January 1842.”

Image: Joseph Cinquez, the Brave Congolese Chief…
[Drawn by James or Isaac Sheffield]; Moses Yale Beach, lith.;
Boston: Joseph A. Arnold, c1839

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A Miniature Books collection on exhibit at The Grolier Club in NYC: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/books/tiny-books-grolier-club.html

“A Matter of Size: Miniature Texts & Bindings” from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner. March 5 – May 18, 2019

Image: Two Speeches by Abraham Lincoln: “The Gettysburg Address” and his “Second Inaugural Address;” written and bound by London bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe in 1930.

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Good to know that the Nobel Prize for Literature (not awarded in 2018) is back, and 2018 and 2019 winners will be announced at the same time this year (in October)… https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/awards-and-prizes/article/79431-after-changes-the-nobel-prize-for-literature-returns.html

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A more than creative way to make use of Old Books: https://www.boredpanda.com/old-book-recycling-paper-art-cecilia-levy/

See more teacups and other made-from-books objects by Cecilia Levy here: https://www.cecilialevy.com/

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Most of you likely know that I collect books by and about John SteinbeckOpen Culture shares this great tale of Steinbeck as autograph seeker – and from Marilyn Monroe of all people! The letter sold at auction in 2016 for $3,520: http://www.openculture.com/2019/03/heres-john-steinbeck-asking-marilyn-monroe-for-her-autograph-1955.html

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A “Rules of the Circulating Library in Ashborne” broadside sold at Forum Auctions in November: this article appears in the Antiques Trade Gazette by Ian McKay: https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/print-edition/2019/january/2374/auction-reports/library-laws-laid-down-at-auction/

“Dated April 5, 1768, the simple printed broadside shown below lays down the ‘Rules…’ that apply to those wishing to use the Circulating Library in Ashbo[u]rne in Derbyshire.

As well as a joining fee of 7/6d, library users were charged six shillings a year for membership, payable in two instalments. They were also entitled to attend quarterly meetings at The Green Man or other designated venue to propose, discuss and vote on what new books might be purchased for the library.

Anyone keeping a book out on loan for longer than what had been agreed on as a reasonable period was liable to a fine of tuppence a day.

All users are reminded “…not to lend any Library Book out of his Dwelling-House on any Pretence whatever.”


It sold for £1200 at Forum Auctions on November 29, 2018.

 

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What were your favorite finds this past week?

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 9 (Feb 25 – Mar 3, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

A week of goodies: Edward Gorey’s covers, Freddie Mercury, costumes for The Crown, Women’s History Month, Erotica, Cookery, Potatoes, Green Books, Doll Houses, and Highwaywomen…

Edward Gorey’s covers for literary classics: https://lithub.com/edward-goreys-illustrated-covers-for-literary-classics/
-What’s scary is how many of the books with these covers I have actually owned…(that dates me!)

 

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Mary Wroth, a contemporary of Shakespeare, is the author of the Guardian’s poem of the week https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/jan/28/poem-of-the-week-from-a-crown-of-sonnets-dedicated-to-love-by-lady-mary-wroth

From A Crown of Sonnets Dedicated to Love:

In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn?

Ways are on all sides, while the way I miss:

If to the right hand, there, in love I burn;

Let me go forward, therein danger is.

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Now to the 21st-century – here is the Freddie Mercury clone Marc Martel who sings some of the songs in the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic: http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/marc-martel-sings-just-like-freddie-mercury.html

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Opening at Winterthur at the end of March (through January 5, 2020): “Costuming The Crown http://www.winterthur.org/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/future-exhibitions/thecrown/

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Girl with Potato Earring – Atlas Obscura

Waxing poetic on the Potato – more than you ever thought you needed to know: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/potato-idioms

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A Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition: “First Chefs: Fame and Foodways from Britain to the Americas” (Jan 19 – Mar 31, 2019): https://www.folger.edu/exhibitions/first-chefs-fame-foodways-britain-americas

-and some of the recipes, such as Hannah Wooley’s Orange and Lemon Marmalade, or William Hughes’s Hot Chocolate: https://www.folger.edu/exhibitions/first-chefs/recipes

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March is Women’s History Month!

Two databases that focus on Women Writers are FREE during the whole month of March:

  1. Orlando: the subscription service Orlando:Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present will be available free for all through the month of March for Women’s History Month: http://orlando.cambridge.org/svHomePage

Here is the login information: (no caps, no spaces)

Id: womenshistory19
pw: orlando19

  1. The Women Writers Online collection includes more than 400 texts written and translated by women, first published between 1526 and 1850 (no login info required: you can search and read the texts in the collection at: http://wwo.wwp.northeastern.edu/WWO

Peter Harrington has put out a catalogue: In Her Own Words: Works by Exceptional Women – you can read it here: https://www.peterharrington.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/151-final-low-res.pdf

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Erotica at the British Library: see this blog post at Untold Lives “Smutty stuff’ for ‘debauched readers’: The Merryland books in the Private Case” https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2019/02/smutty-stuff-for-debauched-readers-the-merryland-books-in-the-private-case.html

The Private Case is an historic collection of erotica segregated from the main British (Museum) Library collection on grounds of obscenity from the 1850s onwards in a moral climate of suppression and censorship. Now much of the work has been digitized for all the world to see (subscription through Gale or in the Reading Room of the British Library).

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The Doll’s House at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood – with great pictures:
http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/28/denton-welchs-dolls-house/

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Those of us watching Victoria might want more information on the Great Exhibition of 1851: here’s a very small sampling of what’s on the internet:

The Great Exhibition – America

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Then there’s the scene in North and South with Margaret and John Thornton meeting at the Great Exhibition and where she first sees the respect with which he is held by others (and always nice to have a reason to post a pic with Richard Armitage…)

“North and South” – the visit to the Great Exhibition

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For those of you wanting to know more about the Green Books that are the heart of the Green Book movie, The New York Public Library has a research guide and a digitized collection online here: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2019/02/25/explore-green-books-schomburg-center

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OK, are you a Miss, Mrs. or a Ms.? (all Misters – this is not about you…): Alexander Atkins at the Bookshelf gives us the history – it goes back a long time in case you didn’t know: https://atkinsbookshelf.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/what-is-mrs-short-for/

(you should follow this blog – always enlightening word and book history…)

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Lady Ferrers – Geste of Robin Hood

This week’s favorite “Found on the Internet and how will I ever read it all…”: https://gesteofrobinhood.com/

Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood… Being A General and True History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Rogues, Cheats, Murderers and Rebel Leaders from the Medieval Period to the 19th Century

This post on “Female Highwaymen” is most arresting (pun intended)… https://gesteofrobinhood.com/2015/10/18/female-highwaymen/

Lady Katherine Ferrers (1634-1660) – do you think Jane Austen had her in mind when creating her Fanny Ferrars Dashwood (the sneaky thief of inheritances)?? Or perhaps that’s where Mrs. Ferrars money came from?

Happy reading! What has been your favorite internet find this week?

C2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Women’s Writing Database “Orlando” ~ Free for the Month of March!

UPDATE: The Women Writers Online database also has free access during the month of March – you can find it here: http://wwo.wwp.northeastern.edu/WWO

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theorlandoproject

Orlando, the subscription database from Cambridge University Press on “Women’s Writings in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present” – is available for free for Women’s History Month starting tomorrow and throughout March.

The Orlando Project “provides entries on authors’ lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies.”

http://orlando.cambridge.org/svHomePage

Here is the login information: (no caps, no spaces)

Id: womenshistory19
pw: orlando19

As always, much new material has been added this past year: just as an example, Professor Isobel Grundy has shared with me that these four near-contemporaries of Jane Austen are now part of the database (or will be added shortly):

Mary Harcourt (later Countess Harcourt) (1750-1833), who was embedded with her husband while he commanded troops in the Low Countries during the War of the First Coalition against revolutionary France, and wrote an account of her experience and her gradual development of strongly anti-war views; and

Eglantine, Lady Wallace (died 1803), a dramatist and conduct-writer, a Scots aristocrat of rather dubious respectability who got caught up in part of the same war and was very friendly with a revolutionary leader. [entry is under Eglinton Wallace].

Jane Loudon (1807-1858), who published a science fiction novel called The Mummy, unfortunately a few years too late for Austen to read it. [to be added soon]

Anna Gordon (Mrs. Brown) (1747-1810), a Scottish ballad-collector and singer. [to be added soon]

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If you are wondering about the symbol of the Oak Tree, here is the explanation from the website:

“. . . a little square book bound in red cloth fell from the breast of her leather jacket—her poem The Oak Tree.” —Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a Biography, 1928, inspires this work in literary history. Woolf’s biographical and historical fantasy explores the changing conditions of possibility for women writing in England from the time of Elizabeth I to her own day, and gives us a poet protagonist who is at work throughout the whole of this history on the composition of her poem “The Oak Tree”. The Orlando Project team sees in the oak tree a suggestion of the history of women’s writing in the British Isles, the growth of history from biography, and (in a kind of visual pun) the tree-like structure of our text encoding.

Fabulous resource – spend the month indulging in this feast of information!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 8 (Feb 18-24, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Welcome to my weekly round-up: from amorous footmen to Dickens’s shoddy treatment of his wife, the upstanding Mr. Knightley, and dieting with Jane; with further thoughts on the taxation of dogs, the Mona Lisa, dust jackets and Austen’s Sanditon – can one have a life without knowing all this??

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A new journal to be launched in April: The Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research‘s enthusiastic PhD students have just launched a fabulous new online, Open Access peer reviewed journal called Romance, Revolution and Reform: https://www.rrrjournal.com/

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If you’ve been watching Victoria on Masterpiece (and you should be…), here’s a real-life tale along the lines of The Footman and the Duchess: “The Amorous Footman”: https://penandpension.com/2019/02/20/the-case-of-the-amorous-footman/

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Mrs. Dickens (image: TLS)

So, it’s common knowledge now that Dickens left his wife for another woman – Ellen Tiernan the actress (fabulous book on this by Claire Tomalin: The Invisible Woman – if you have not read this, go out and buy it right now) – but letters recently discovered and studied by Professor John Bowen reveal that Dickens tried, like so many other men who had strayed and wanted out, to have his wife Catherine declared insane and institutionalized…https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/dickens-letters-asylum/

  • and also this at the Smithsonian:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/newly-analyzed-trove-letters-charles-dickens-180971545/

Harvard University [Image: University of York]

And more on Dickens (he loved decorating his home, worked from home, had no musical talent, etc…): https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/facts-charles-dickens-writer-children-family-home/

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Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries (Image: Spitalfields Life)

Lovely images – Cries of London: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/22/aunt-busy-bees-new-london-cries-x/

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An archived Austenonly post on Mr. Knightley, Magistrate: https://austenonly.com/2010/01/25/austen-only-emma-season-mr-knightley-magistrate/

New book out on Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness, by Bryan Kozlowski. See the Jane Austen VOGUE (of all places!) for an article on the author, the book, and Jane as a nutritionist! (lots of meat, lots of walking…)

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Ever wonder why the Mona Lisa is so famous?? (I wonder about this every day…) – here’s the answer: http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/how-the-mona-lisa-went-from-being-barely-known-to-suddenly-the-most-famous-painting-in-the-world-1911.html

For you Bard-Lovers out there (and who isn’t?), how about starting a Shakespeare Book Club? https://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2019/02/19/shakespeare-book-clubs-austin-tichenor/

 

Into Dust Jackets? – here is an old essay in Publishers Weekly about a book on jackets from 1920-1970, published in 2017: (great covers here – even one by NC Wyeth): https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/75327-11-beautiful-vintage-book-covers.html

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A Cook Book we should all have, recently catalogued at the Lewis Walpole Library: https://lewiswalpole.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/the-complete-house-keeper-and-professed-cook/

Smith, Mary, of Newcastle. The complete house-keeper, and professed cook : calculated for the greater ease and assistance of ladies, house-keepers, cooks, &c. &c. : containing upwards of seven hundred practical and approved receipts … / by Mary Smith …Newcastle: Printed by T. Slack, for the author, 1772.

You can read it all here: https://archive.org/details/b21527404/page/n5

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Well, since we just got a dog (our 5th Springer Spaniel), I can’t resist passing this on from All Things Georgian – we all know of some of the ridiculous taxes imposed on the Georgians (think windows, candles, hair powder, and wallpaper, to name a few), but this one took forever to pass and was difficult to implement: Parliament going to the Dogs we could say:

https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/taxing-of-dogs-in-the-eighteenth-century/

Hayman, Francis; A Hound, a Spaniel and a Pug (A Portrait of a Mastiff); Norfolk Museums Service

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And because we always have to end with Jane: here are the wildly anticipated first photos of the filming of Andrew Davies’ Sanditon, Austen’s unfinished manuscript giving little direction with the plot and nearly no info on the possible Hero – so from what we DO know, who are these people??

https://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/itv-jane-austen-drama-sanditon-filmed-brean-beach/

[Theo James here – do hope he is Sidney Parker, who I believe IS the Hero…] – your thoughts?? [image from Burnham-on-the-sea.com]

Have a good week all – send me your favorite finds on the internet!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 7 (Feb 11-17, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Various finds this past week on the ever-amazing internet, from Dickens to Tolkein, Marie Antoinette to The Devil in the White City, and Robert Louis Stevenson to Gretna Green …. enjoy the reading journey!

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A study of the largest private library of Anglophone women’s writing collected in the nineteenth century: https://stainforth.scu.edu/

-Francis John Stainforth (1797-1866), an Anglican clergyman, collected a unique private library during the mid-nineteenth century. His library catalog lists 7,726 editions (8,804 volumes) authored and edited by 3,721 writers, nearly all of whom are women – but alas! No Jane Austen!

An old article on Dickens and his London (my favorite topic): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-charles-dickens-saw-london-13198155/

Also not new – Devoney Looser writes on S&S: “Sense or Sensibility: What if Jane Austen Had to Choose.” This is an excerpt from her introduction to the 2018 Penguin Classics edition of S&S. https://lithub.com/sense-or-sensibility-what-if-jane-austen-had-to-choose/

The best of Edward Gorey’s book jackets:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/cover-story-edward-goreys-best-book-jackets?ref=scroll

This is fascinating: Darwin’s children doodles on the manuscript of The Origin of Species: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/06/charles-darwin-children-doodles-origin-of-species/

  • Then again, maybe the doodles weren’t from Darwin’s children at all. A gentleman on one of the listservs I subscribe to suggests the drawings are those of the children of Joseph Dalton Hooker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dalton_Hooker
  • an academic conundrum – and example perhaps of scholars trading assumptions for statements of fact and how that can muddle the truth…

You all know this already, but Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City is being made into a Hulu TV series with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers – will DiCaprio star in one of the roles do you think?? The architect or the evil Doctor?? This book had completely freaked me out when I read it back in 2003 – the story is frightful enough, but Holmes, the serial killer, ended up in Burlington Vermont on the same street where I lived!’- thankfully 100 years before, but still…. I was reading it late at night, read that bit, screamed like a banshee, scared my sleeping husband half to death – neighbors surely thought another murder was taking place… We read this for my book group – one woman could only read the chapters about the fair, completely skipped over the nasty doings – and ok to do really – the story of the fair and its architect is fascinating in itself.

Speaking of nasty – I’ve never been able to take those Victorian hair works of art – totally creeps me out – here’s a great article on them: https://www.messynessychic.com/2018/01/24/the-lost-art-of-victorian-human-hair-shrines/

-Years ago a friend and I visited the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington CT – of course there was a framed Victorian hair art on the wall – it all struck us funny and we started giggling and could not stop – spent the entire tour of the house not so quietly making a scene – I do not think I am allowed back…and all because of that creepy hair…

Well, this just makes me sad: https://abc7chicago.com/rare-books-stolen-from-pennsylvania-bookstore/5137379/

  • Let’s hope they find fingerprints they can identify on that perfume bottle!
  • The hardest thing for me as a bookstore owner was the theft of books – always done by someone who knew the shop and certainly knew the value of what he/she was sneaking off with – I lost some very valuable titles over the years – in many ways, it finally did me in with having an open shop…

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Want to understand purchasing power for any given year, 1270 – 2017? Go to this currency converter at the National Archives [UK]: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/

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One of the few children’s books I collect is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses: the Library of Congress has a write-up about the iconic 1895 edition illustrated by Charles Robinson: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2019/02/rare-books-a-childs-garden-of-verses/?loclr=earare

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Cast of the now-filming Sanditon series has been announced: https://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/itv-and-red-planet-pictures-announce-cast-filming-commences-jane-austens-sanditon

A review of Kate Hamill’s Vanity Fair: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/theater/vanity-fair-broadway-review-kate-hamill-eric-tucker.html

Valentine’s Day brought out many posts on Romance, etc:

Learn about the Map of Matrimony from the University of St. Andrews Special Collections: https://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/compass-of-the-heart-following-the-map-of-matrimony-on-st-valentines-day/

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The Art of Book Covers at the Public Domain Review:
https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-art-of-book-covers-1820-1914/

The first and last loves of J. M. W. Turner, courtesy of the “Untold Lives” blog:

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George Raper – Waratah, 1789

With thanks to Philobiblos, I link here to the National Library of New Zealand’s Alexander Turnbull Library now digitized drawings of George Raper’s (1769-1797) birds, animals and flowers: https://tiaki.natlib.govt.nz/#details=ecatalogue.58515

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Hobbit lovers, head to the Morgan for their grand exhibit on Tolkien, through May 2019: https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/tolkien

And finally, Sotheby’s gives us “The Most Expensive Old Master Female Artist”: https://www.barnebys.com/blog/the-most-expensive-female-old-master-elisabeth-vigee-le-brun/

Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan, Elisabeth-Louise Vigee Le Brun. 1788

A painting by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, the 18th / 19th century portrait artist mostly noted for her paintings of Marie Antoinette, has reached the highest auction sale price for a female artist – $7.2 million!

Marie Antoinette

[This painting caused quite a stir: Marie Antoinette in a Muslin Dress – alas! she was in muslin, not the proper regal attire suitable for a Queen…]

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

Happy Valentine’s Day to All in Jane Austen-Land!


Wishing you all a Love-Filled day with much Chocolate!

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“Of course you may be bashful

But think how much t’would please me

If you would be my valentine

And try no more to tease me.”

Vintage card: Whitney Made; Worcester, Mass. On the back of the card, it is addressed in pencil to “Miss Brindage”

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For those wanting an depth history of Valentine’s Day, here you will find more than you thought you ever needed to know!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont