According to one of my literary calendars, today [ January 10, 1837 ] is the day that Cardinal Newman made his oft-quoted remark:
Miss Austen has no romance!… What vile creatures her parsons are.’
… though he supposedly admired her works [and goodness! how we love those parsons!]
John Newman (1801-1890) was an English Catholic who at the age of 15 moved to Alton with his parents and lived at 59 High Street for three years (1816-1819) after his father took over the Baverstock Brewery. The house dating to 1769 bears a blue plaque by the door highlighting the fact. The previous owners were involved in a lawsuit with Austen’s brother Edward Knight over his failed Hampshire property. Alton is the nearest town to the village of Chawton where Austen lived until 1817. One wonders, did they ever meet in that overlapping year??
Further reading on Alton and Cardinal Newman:
- Astoft.co.uk [see also all their links to Austen-related structures ]
- The Wey Valley site on Alton
- The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Cardinal Newman
and on another note of important dates, I missed Cassandra’s birthday yesterday: January 9, 1773.