The ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Bicentenary Celebration

Maria Grazia at My Jane Austen Book Club is hosting a year-long celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the publication of Sense & Sensibility. Maria has invited twelve other Austen bloggers [including yours truly] to each post an article on Austen’s first published work.  Here is Maria’s invitation and the schedule:

October 2011 will mark the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. This is why ‘My Jane Austen Book Club’ wants to  dedicate a special space to the celebration and discussion of Austen’s first achievement as a published writer. I have invited some expert Janeites to contribute to the discussion and they have kindly and generously accepted . Katherine at November’s Autumn  and Gaskell Blog contributed the cute button on the left. Each month one of them will deal with a theme, a character, a topic somehow linked to Sense and Sensibility. The discussion will be open to you all with your comments, questions and suggestions. There will be a monthly giveaway and you will have the chance to win a book or DVD connected to our celebration. Here’s the schedule of our  virtual meetings. Take notes.

 1.  January“Marriage & Money in Sense & Sensibility” by Jennifer Becton – this article is now live on Maria’s site – If you comment  and leave your e-mail address on this first post or/and on the announcement of the Grand Event for Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary, you’ll be entered in the giveaway of The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Shine. This novel,  published by Picador,  is a new modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility – this giveaway is for US readers only  but there will be others open worldwide. It ends 31st January.

  Stay tuned for:

2.  February – “Sense and Sensibility on Screen” by Alexa Adams

3.  March – “Inheritance Laws & Their Consequences in Sense & Sensibility” by C. Allyn Pierson

4.  April – “Lost in Sense & Sensibility” by Beth Patillo

5.  May – “Willoughby: A Rogue on Trial” by Jane Odiwe

6.  June – “Secrets in Sense & Sensibility” by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont

7.  July – “Interview with Lucy Steele” by Laurie Viera Rigler  

8.  August – “Settling for the Compromise Marriage” by Regina Jeffers

9.  September – “The Origins of S&S: Richardson, Jane Austen, Elinor & Mariannne”  by Lynn Shepherd                           

10.  October – “Sense & Sensibility Fanfiction” by Meredith of Austenesque Reviews 

11. November – “Minor Characters in Sense & Sensibility” by Vic of Jane Austen’s World

12.  December – “Marianne Dashwood: A Passion for Dead Leaves & Other Sensibilities”  by Laurel Ann of Austenprose  


A  year chock full of  S&S insights! – so check back to read these sure-to-be-interesting posts on S&S and a chance each month to win the latest giveaway.

There are also other Sense & Sensibility celebrations and blog tours – I will post on these another day – in the meantime, check out Jennifer Becton’s post on  “Marriage & Money in Sense & Sensibility”  at My Jane Austen Book Club.  With hearty thanks to Maria for setting this up!

Copyright @ 2011, Deb Barnum at Jane Austen in Vermont.

Book thoughts ~ ‘Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England’

On my TBO* list:  with a release date of January 16, 2011 [as per Amazon; publisher release date is February 2011]

Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England, by Patricia Phagan; essays by Vic Gatrell and Amelia Rauser.  Published by D Giles LTD in association with the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, 2011.

This illustrated volume which presents 72 watercolors, drawings, prints and illustrated books to reassess the legacy of this renowned 18th-century satirist. Accompanies the first major exhibition of Rowlandson’s work in North America for twenty years, showing at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, Jan 14, 2011 – March 13, 2011 and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, April 8, 2011 – June 11, 2011 [Click here for information on the exhibit]  

Thomas Rowlandson - Pages 110-11

[Click on to enlarge]

About the authors: 

Patricia Phagan is Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and the co-author of ‘The American Scene and the South: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1930-1946’ (1996) and ‘Images of Women in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art: Domesticity and the Representation of the Peasant’ (1996).

Vic Gatrell is Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and the author of ‘City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London’ (2006) [fabulous book!] and ‘The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868‘ (1994).

Amelia Rauser is Associate Professor of Art History at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and author of ‘Caricature Unmasked: Irony, Authenticity and Individualism in Eighteenth-Century English Prints’ (2008). [from Amazon]

 See the publisher’s website at:  D Giles LTD; and   

            ISBN-10: 1904832784
            ISBN-13: 978-1904832782

*To Be Ordered

Copyright @ 2011, Deb Barnum, Jane Austen in Vermont

On the Block: ‘Gentleman’s Library Sale’

Auction News:  see the upcoming Bonham’s Gentleman’s Library Sale, January 19, 2011, New Bond St in London, for all manner of library furniture, desk sets, globes, cabinets, and portraits and paintings that may have been housed in the libraries of  the Gentlemen of the Victorian and earlier periods.  The online catalogue is available for viewing and bidding!

A Gentleman's Tromp L'oeil - Bonham's Lot 183

or I love this one  – “The Proposal” with Mom listening in and clasping her hands in prayer in the doorway!

'The Proposal' (Circle of Philippe Mercier) - Bonham's Lot 230

Lots more in the catalogue – take a look if you can!

And see this article at Victoriana Magazine for more information on the Victorian Library

[Images from the Bonham’s Gentleman’s Library Sale, No. 18544]

Copyright @ 2011 Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont

Reading ‘Clarissa’

I made a promise to myself back in August 2010 to finally read Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, this promise made after reading Laurel Ann’s Austenprose interview with Lynn Shepherd.  Shepherd is the author of the  Austen-inspired mystery Murder at Mansfield Park, but also a Samuel Richardson scholar and author of  Clarissa’s Painter: Portraiture, Illustration, and Representation in the Novels of Samuel Richardson (Oxford University Press, 2009].

I have had Clarissa sitting on my bedside table for years – a friend gave it to me as a joke, daring me to read the thing – I was tempted to tear it into nine parts [an easy thing to do!] and have each of my book group buddies read their piece of the book and report on it – an easy way to lessen the pain of reading this rather large tome – my copy [the Penguin edition of 1985 with introduction and notes by Angus Ross] measures 9 x 6 x 2.75″ with a total of 1534 pages, a heady feast of endless words in very small print!  But alas! I could not go the book destruction route, it’s not in my genetic makeup, and so have just stared at this thing for years, dusting it occasionally, contemplating its use as a doorstop or such [it weighs 2 lbs, 11oz!], but somewhat guilty all the while…  an English major who cleverly avoided this book or any Richardson for that matter because everything is just so long and not to mention depressing! And despite Richardson being Jane Austen’s favorite author, and that she read and re-read his works and was greatly influenced by him, I just haven’t done it… until now…

So when I read Lynn Shepherd’s post and saw the brilliant suggestion to read Clarissa in ‘real time’, starting on January 10th, and finishing on December 18th, I thought this was a perfect solution, nearly a whole year to finish the thing,  not much time to be spent on a daily basis – how bad can it possibly be?  So, Dear Readers, I have begun – January 10th, with already a welcome reprieve as the next letter is not until January 13th… 

When I told my gifting friend that I was finally going to read the thing – she wondered how I would be able to put it down and not read ahead – I told her I did not think that would be a problem in this case – and indeed it seems not to be so far!

I welcome anyone else who would like to join me in this – there have been group reads of Clarissa on other listservs – I am not going to post about the book,  just periodic updates of my reading progress.  My only concern is I am already looking forlornly at Richardson’s other book on my shelf, Pamela, a much shorter and happier exercise in reading what Jane Austen read… – so wish me luck and join me if you can!

Samuel Richardson (NNDB)

Further reading on Samuel Richardson:

Copyright @ 2011 Deb Barnum, Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen on her ‘Sense & Sensibility’

Sense and Sensibility was first published in October 1811, hence all manner of this 200 year anniversary celebration will be literally taking over the world, or at least the blog-sphere world, for this entire year! [See the JASNA site  for information on the next AGM in October in Fort Worth]

There are already a number of blog events in place [I will be posting on these shortly], but I hope this year at Jane Austen in Vermont to do a number of posts on S&S, starting with its very interesting publishing history. So today, Part I – a compilation of what Jane Austen wrote in her letters about her first published work – there is not as much as on Pride & Prejudice or Mansfield Park and Emma, but she did make a number of comments that are worth noting. The upcoming Part II will outline the details of its publication and how it was received by her contemporaries. [You can also re-visit my previous posts on “Travel in S&S” – Part I, Part II, and Part III, and more to come regarding the types of carriages in use during Austen’s time.]

Note that all references in the letters are to: Deirdre Le Faye, ed. Jane Austen’s Letters. 3rd Edition. NY: Oxford, 1997, c1995.

Jane Austen on Sense & Sensibility

Ltr. 71. 25 April 1811, to Cassandra, from Sloane St, London

No indeed, I am never too busy to think of S&S. I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries. I have had two sheets to correct, but the last only brings us to W.s [Willoughby] first appearance. Mrs. K [Mrs. Knight, Edward’s adoptive aunt] regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till May, but I have scarcely a hope of its being out in June. – Henry does not neglect it; he has hurried the Printer, & says he will see him again today. – It will not stand still during his absence, it will be sent to Eliza. – The Incomes remain as they were, but I will get them altered if I can. – I am very much gratified by Mrs. K.s interest in it; & whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable. I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.

[Note: S&S was actually not published until 23 October 1811]

Ltr. 79. 29 Jan 1813
, to Cassandra, from Chawton

[Talking about P&P after its publication] – I have lopt & cropt so successfully however that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S&S altogether. – Now I will try to write of something else…

Ltr. 86. 3-6 July 1813
, to Francis Austen, from Chawton

You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S&S is sold & that is has brought me £140 – besides the Copyright, if that should ever be of any value.* – I have now therefore written myself into £250. – which only makes me long for more. – I have something in hand – which I hope on the credit of P&P will sell well, tho’ not half so entertaining. [i.e. Mansfield Park]

*My note: this is the world’s most perfect example of understatement!

Ltr. 87. 15-16 Sept 1813
, to Cassandra, from Henrietta St, London

Nothing has been done as to S&S. The Books came to hand too late for him to have time for it, before he went. [i.e send the books to Warren Hastings]

Ltr. 90. 25 Sept 1813, to Francis Austen, from Godmersham Park

[On the secret of her authorship]

  I was previously aware of what I should be laying myself open to – but the truth is that the Secret has spread so far as to be scarcely the Shadow of a secret now – & that I believe whenever the 3rd appears, I shall not even attempt to tell Lies about it. – I shall rather try to make all the Money than all the Mystery I can of it. – People shall pay for their Knowledge if I can make them. – Henry heard P&P warmly praised in Scotland, by Lady Robt Kerr & another Lady; – and what does he do in the warmth of his Brotherly vanity & Love, but immediately tell them who wrote it! – A Thing once set going in that way – one knows how it spreads! – and he, dear Creature, has set it going so much more than once. I know if is all done from affection & partiality – but at the same time, let me here again express to you & Mary my sense of the superior kindness which you have shewn on the occasion, in doing what I wished. – I am trying to harden myself. – After all, what a trifle it is in all its Bearings, to the really important points of one’s existence even in this World!

[postscript] There is to be a 2d Edition of S&S. Egerton advises it.

[Note: the 2nd edition was published 29 October1813]

Henry Austen

Ltr. 91. 11-12 Oct 1813, to Cassandra, from Godmerhsam Park

I dined upon Goose yesterday – which I hope will secure a good Sale of my 2d Edition.

[Note: Le Faye cites a poem from 1708: Old Michaelmas Day was October 11]

“That who eats Goose on Michael’s Day
 Shan’t money lack, his Debts to pay.”

Ltr. 95. 3 Nov 1813
, to Cassandra in London from Godmersham Park.

Your tidings of S&S give me pleasure. I have never seen it advertised. …

…I suppose in the meantime I shall owe dear Henry a great deal of Money for Printing, etc. – I hope Mrs. Fletcher will indulge herself with S&S.

[Note: Mrs. Fletcher was the wife of William Fletcher, of Trinity College Dublin – Austen notes that” Mrs. Fletcher, the wife of a Judge, an old Lady & very good & very clever, who is all curiosity to know about me…”. The 2nd edition of S&S, advertized on 29 October 1813,  was published at the author’s expense, thus Henry likely paid for it]

Ltr. 96. 6-7 Nov 1813
, to Cassandra in London, from Godmersham Park

Since I wrote last, my 2d Edit. has stared me in the face. – Mary tells me that Eliza [Mrs. Fowle] means to buy it. I wish she may. It can hardly depend upon any more Fyfield Estates [sale of Fowle property] – I cannot help hoping that many will feel themselves obliged to buy it. I shall not mind imagining it a disagreeable Duty to them, so as they do it. Mary heard before she left home, that it was very much admired at Cheltenham, & that it was given to Miss Hamilton [the writer Elizabeth Hamilton]. It is pleasant to have such a respectable Writer named. I cannot tire you I am sure on this subject, or I would apologise.

Elizabeth Hamilton - Wikipedia

Ltr. 100 21 Mar 1814, to Francis Austen, from London

Perhaps before the end of April, Mansfield Park by the author of S&S – P&P may be in the world. Keep the name to yourself. I should not like to have it known beforehand. [i.e. about MP]

Ltr. 121. 17-18 Oct 1815, to Cassandra, from Hans Place in London

Mr. Murray’s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers £450 – but wants to have the Copyright of MP & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say. – He sends more praise however than I expected. It is an amusing Letter. You shall see it.

John Murray II

Ltr. 122(A)(D). 20-21 Oct 1815, draft of letter from Henry Austen to John Murray, in London

On the subject of the expence & profit of publishing, you must be better informed than I am; – but Documents in my possession appear to prove that the Sum offered by you for the Copyright of Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park & Emma, is not equal to the Money which my Sister has actually cleared by one very moderate Edition of Mansfield Park – (You Yourself expressed astonishment that so small an Edit. of such a work should have been sent into the World) & a still smaller one of Sense & Sensibility.- …

[Note: the 1st edition of S&S was 750 or 1000 copies; MP was probably 1,250, and Emma was 2,000 copies.]

Ltr. 154. 13 Mar 1817, to Caroline Austen, from Chawton

I have just recd nearly twenty pounds myself on the 2d Edit: of S&S* – which gives me this fine flow of Literary Ardour.

* Sense and Sensibility [footnoted by Austen in pencil]


Isn’t it such a delight to hear Austen’s very own words on her writing! Stay tuned for Part II on how it all came to be…

Illustration: John Murray II from

Copyright@Deb Barnum, Jane Austen in Vermont, 2011.

Jane Austen’s ‘Outside of Enough’

Anyone who reads Georgette Heyer or other Regency-era historical fiction is surely familiar with the phrase “outside of enough” – one of those “cant” phrases that is self-explanatory, doesn’t need a lexicon or such to figure out its meaning.  It is a great turn of words, isn’t it? and so much more effective that “that’s enough” or “enough is enough” or “I’ve had enough” or “more than enough”, or “this is too much” or “enough already”!

But where did it come from? When was it first used? I don’t currently have access to the OED and it does not show up in the phrase reference sources I have or in online sources. Joanna Waugh on her website says it came into use around 1887.  It now seems overly used – certainly in every historical romance novel, but also in political writings, general conversation [just ‘google’ it!].  I am reminded of the phrase “gone missing”- a term I first heard in England years ago and needed to have it explained to me! – I later heard it on Canadian news programs, but now I hear it everywhere, read it in the newspapers, definitely a British turn of phrase adopted here in the US.

But back to “outside of enough” – I have assumed this was a term that Heyer perhaps had made up – she did do that with some of her Regency cant phrases so prevalent in her dialogue.   So I was quite surprised and delighted to discover this dialogue between Lucy Steele and Elinor in a recent re-read of Sense and Sensibility:

[Lucy Steele]  : “And what a charming little family they have! I never saw such fine children in my life. I declare I quite doat upon them already, and indeed I am always distractedly fond of children.”

   “I should guess so,” said Elinor with a smile, “from what I have witnessed this morning.”

   “I have a notion,” said Lucy, “you think the little Middletons rather too much indulged; perhaps they may be the outside of enough; but it is so natural in Lady Middleton; and for my part, I love to see children full of life and spirits; I cannot bear them if they are tame and quiet.”

    “I confess,” replied Elinor, “that while I am at Barton Park, I never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence.” 

[S&S, Vol. 1, Ch. xxi ]

Two Brock illustrations of “sweet” Lucy…

Fig. 1 "We have been engaged these four years"

Fig. 2 "She could have no doubt of its being Edward's face"


So we might think that Austen was the first writer to use the phrase, albeit putting it into the mouth of one of her more vulgar characters.  But a quick search of Google Books brings up the following sources:

1.  Algernon Sidney. Of the Use and Abuse of Parliaments: In Two Historical Discourses. 1744 – a reference is made to “outside of enough” as somewhere expressed by Shakespeare. [I did search the Shakespeare Concordance  and the term “outside” comes up 14 times in Shakespeare’s texts, but alas! all lacking the necessary “of enough”] 

2.  Colley Cibber.  The Dramatic Works of Colley Cibber.  1777. “…I’ll have everything on the outside of enough today.” 

3.  Joseph Gwilt, et al.  An Encyclopaedia of Architecture.  1842. re: “premising, that if the caution whereof we speak be taken, the thickness resulting from the following investigations will be much more than the outside of enough.” [p. 410]

4.  Henry C. K. Wyld.  A History of Modern Colloquial Idiom.  1920.  Wyld cites the above Austen passage as “largely the way of speech of the better society of an earlier age, which has come down in the world, and survives among a pretentious provincial bourgeoisie.” [p. 376] [which seems to indicate the term was used in an earlier period and Austen would have been familiar with that…]

So, I must carry on and dig deeper and find a better reference – if anyone has any thoughts, please comment – but shan’t we at least credit Austen (via Heyer I would think) with what appears to be the source for the excessive use of the term today? – I do feel the need to nearly scream, “all right, all right, the constant use of this phrase is really the outside of enough”!


Copyright @Deb Barnum, Jane Austen in Vermont, 2011.