Winner of ‘Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment’ by Elsa Solender!

I have finally drawn* the winner of the book giveaway for the paper copy of Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment, by Elsa Solender.  And the winner is…
book cover - ja in love - solender

 

 

Kim, who wrote on February 14, 2013:

Reading Jane Austen has taught me that who you choose to love romantically and especially attach yourself to legally is the most important decision of your life.  She was very wise both emotionally and financially and all young women can benefit from her counsel . . .Happy Valentines Day to all!  :)

Kim

Congratulations Kim! – please email me [ jasnavermont [at] gmail [dot] com ] your contact information [mail, phone, etc] and the book will be mailed to you right away.

Thank you all for participating and sharing what reading Jane Austen has taught you about Love!

[*My apologies for the delay in doing the drawing – life has gotten in the way of blogging and this just had to wait a week to work its way to the top of my to-do list!]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Austen on the Block! ~ A First Edition Emma, Or, Where an Interesting Bookplate Might Take You…

UPDATE:  I posted the results here: it sold on March 19, 2013 at Bonham’s London for £8,125 (inc. premium) or about $12,312.

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Jane Austen will again make an appearance in the upcoming Bonham’s auction on March 19, 2013: a first Edition Emma – here are the details:

Emma bonhams 3-2013Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Historical Photographs, No. 20751. 19 Mar 2013 14:00 GMT London, Knightsbridge

Lot 6: AUSTEN (JANE).

Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, half-titles in volumes 2 and 3, spotting, one gathering working loose and blank lower margin torn away from advertisement leaf at end of volume 3, one front free endpaper near detached, bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe”, contemporary half calf, gilt lettering on spines, headbands frayed (volume 2 with small loss at head and foot of backstrip) [Gilson A8; Keynes 8], 8vo, John Murray, 1816.

Estimate:  £4,000 – 5,000; €4,600 – 5,800;  US$ 6,100 – 7,700

Now this appears to be the same copy that did not sell at the Bonham’s November 13, 2012 auction where the estimates were substantially higher:
£6,000 – 8,000; €7,400 – 9,900;  US$ 9,500 – 13,000

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My interest lies in the bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe” – always curious to see where a book has been and where it heads, and who are the participants in the story; it is often hard to track this information accurately unless a written provenance accompanies the book.  In this case it appears that all we have is this bookplate, and my research takes me thus, a very quick summary: [i.e how a whole afternoon can be spent tracing some stranger’s life and how it all can lead one down unimagined paths with only more extensive research to be undertaken …]

John Hawkshaw - wikipedia

John Hawkshaw – wikipedia

John Hawkshaw (1811 – 1891) was a British civil engineer from Yorkshire who was the chief engineer of a number of the railway lines in the Manchester area, later London, as well as responsible (some say the “saviour”) for the completion of the Suez Canal.  He was knighted in 1873. He lived at Hollycombe, his country estate in Liphook, Hampshire, purchased from Charles William Taylor in 1866. (To add to the confusion, the book titled A History of the Castles, Mansions, and Manors of Western Sussex, by Dudley George Cary Elwes, and Charles John Robinson (London, 1876), notes two other properties purchased by Hawkshaw from Taylor, so more research needed here.]

Hollycombe today is privately owned, but the pleasure gardens, expanded by Hawkshaw and more fully landscaped by his son [more on him below] are open to visitors, as is the nearby Hollycombe Steam Museum.

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Their London home was in Belgrave Mansions, St. John’s Wood High Street, close to Bond Street in the heart of the West End.

But did John Hawkshaw read his copy Jane Austen’s Emma, or was his bookplate just really an owner stamp, and the real reader in the house was his wife Ann Hawkshaw? (though it is nice to imagine them all reading it aloud.)

a modern reprint

a modern reprint

Ann Hawkshaw (1812 – 1885) was an English poet. She published four volumes of poetry between 1842 and 1871. She married our John Hawkshaw in 1835 and they settled in Salford, near Manchester, where they mixed with the prominent thinkers of the day to include William and Elizabeth Gaskell. Her first volume of poetry Dionysius the Areopagite’ with Other Poems was published in 1842, followed by Poems for My Children in 1847. Sonnets on Anglo-Saxon History was published in 1854, and retells the history of Britain up to the Norman Conquest.

John Clarke Hawkshaw

John Clarke Hawkshaw

The Hawkshaws had six children, the most well-known was John Clarke Hawkshaw (1841-1921), who like his father was a civil engineer. In 1865 he married Cicely Wedgwood (1837-1917), daughter of Francis Wedgwood (1800-1880), grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the famed pottery firm. Francis’s sister Emma Wedgwood (1808-1896) married her cousin Charles Darwin (they were first cousins: Wedgwood’s daughter Susannah was Darwin’s mother). Emma was therefore Cicely’s Aunt and we can find this letter penned to her in the online Darwin Correspondence Project:

Hollycombe. | Liphook. | Hants.

Dear Aunt Emma

I am afraid it is too late to notice about the baby’s tears with any accuracy for I have repeatedly seen her eyes full of tears already but can give no nearer date than that I must have seen them so before she was 3 weeks old; about the tears overflowing onto her cheeks I can observe as I have never seen it happen yet, indeed it hardly happens in what one may call babydom does it?

We are having such a nice holiday here and as all the tiresome shooting is over I have Clarke to myself and we ride and walk about and don’t feel such strangers to the place as we did and the idle thoughtless life is doing Clarke good I am thankful to say.

Believe me dear Aunt Emma | Your affecte niece | Cicely M Hawkshaw

9th Feb. [1868]

Emma Darwin, 1840 - by George Richmond

Emma Darwin, 1840 – by George Richmond

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So from this letter we know that John Clarke Hawkshaw was known as Clarke and that he was able to get away to the family home and enjoy some “idle thoughtless life”! [images of Downton Abbey!]

Such a dizzying trip from a simple bookplate in a first edition of Jane Austen! – we have encountered various British luminaries ranging from railroad and canal engineers, to literary and Unitarian connections in Manchester, to country estates in Hampshire [Jane’s own territory], to the Wedgwood Potteries of London, and ending with Evolution, all in one family’s connections.  It is comforting to think that this copy of Emma was read, enjoyed and discussed, and passed along to succeeding generations of this great family!  I wonder where it will end up come March 19th? … stay tuned!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

A Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea!

DA - tea partyDSC08897The local Library in Bluffton South Carolina has been having weekly Downton Abbey discussions since the first episode of Season 3, all culminating in an Afternoon Tea this past week. A Season recap, Delicious fare, Fine company, Gorgeous hats, and Games of trivia to test our Downton Abbey brain power! –  all staged with perfect finesse by Amanda, our fearless leader and Reference Librarian, the intent to keep us all (over 70 of us!) from falling into a deep Downton Abbey depression. We toasted Julian Fellowes, bid our adieus to Sybil and Matthew and wondered aloud as to where the show shall take us next year, alas! eleven months of impatient waiting.  We were asked which actor would we most like to have dinner with; which actor we would most like to be in a scene with; our favorite quotes; most memorable scene? and trivia questioned on our knowledge of all things Downton [like: Where does Lord Grantham sit at the dinner table? What is the proper dress for a dinner at home without guests? Where is the story set? Where is the actual Highclere Castle?, etc…] – most of us found we should have to re-watch all three seasons to get a a passing grade!

I append some pictures to share the day, with a Hearty Thanks to Amanda and the Friends of the Bluffton Library for all their efforts to prolong the Downton Abbey season as long as possible – I think even Violet would approve!

Delicious fare!

Delicious fare!

Our Gracious Hostess Amanda

Our Gracious Hostess Amanda

...and her gorgeous hat!

…and her gorgeous hat!

Our very own Mrs Patmore

Our very own Mrs Patmore

Our very own Mr Carson

Our very own Mr Carson

A bevy of Hats!

A bevy of Hats!

Best hat for Afternoon Tea!

Best hat for Afternoon Tea!

The long wait until next January!

The long wait until next January!

DA outdoor tea

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Hot off the Presses! ~ Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine No. 62

The March/April issue (No. 62, 2013) of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is published this week!

JARW62_CoverSmall_1
In it you can read about…

  • Austentatious: the theatre group that is improvising Austen themes
  • What Jane did next: life at Chawton Cottage after the publication of Pride & Prejudice
  • Secrets of a happy marriage: the Leigh-Perrots were a devoted couple
  • Portraits of perfection: miniature paintings were fashionable in Georgian drawing rooms
  • Lonely as a cloud: the life of William Wordsworth, Jane’s contemporary
  • Plus News, Letters, Book Reviews and information from Jane Austen Societies in the US, UK and Australia

To subscribe click here.

[If you would like the magazine delivered to your tablet, visit the JARW partner magzter and subscribe there.]

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

[Image: The Guardian]

 

Jane Austen, Elizabeth Spencer, and Canonbury Tower ~ Guest post by Ron Dunning

Enquiring Readers: Last week I had posted a comment about Macbeth during the hoopla about Richard III; Ron Dunning [of the Jane Austen Family Tree fame] and I have been in communication since about how everything it seems comes back to Jane Austen, further evidenced by a recent tour he took of Canonbury Tower…. read on for yet another connection to Jane Austen!

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Canonbury on the map: Londontown.com

Canonbury on the map: Londontown.com

Our esteemed [blush…] blogiste and editrix remarked a few days ago, in reference to the fact that Macbeth’s victim Duncan I was an ancestor of Jane Austen, that “ALL in life that one thinks or does comes back to Jane Austen”.  It’s true – it does.  Earlier in the week, I went on a guided tour of Canonbury Tower, in the Islington area of London, with my accomplice in exploration, Catherine Delors. [Ed. note: Catherine is the much moreso esteemed historical novelist who blogs at Versailles and More].  For all we knew, it would be no more than a fascinating view of one of London’s few remaining precious Tudor residences, little suspecting that there would turn out to be an Austen connection.

Canonbury_Tower wp

Canonbury Tower – wikipedia

Canonbury was a Saxon manor, and after 1066 was awarded by William the Conqueror to the de Berners family.  It was only a brief horse ride from the centre of London, and even walkable, so it became the residence of various abbots and other dignitaries.  In the late 1500’s the manor was owned by Sir John Spencer (d. 1610), a very wealthy merchant and sometime Lord Mayor of London – who had a pretty young daughter, Elizabeth.More to the point, she was worth £40,000 on her marriage – some five million pounds today.  Her father had promised her to several men, in consideration of the usual dynastic criteria, but she met and fell in love with the spendthrift William Compton, Lord Compton (and later to become Earl of Northampton, d. 1630).  John Spencer was vehemently opposed to this match, not least because William owed him money.  She managed somehow to elope with William, one version of the story claiming that he disguised himself as a baker’s boy and smuggled Elizabeth out of the house in a blanket.

John Spencer refused to be reconciled to this marriage, until Queen Elizabeth intervened.  When he and his wife died intestate (not without suspicions of subterfuge on that score), William and Elizabeth inherited the entire estate, then valued at between £300,000 and £800,000.  William immediately spent over £70,000 on horses and gambling, and it appears that Elizabeth had no qualms about spending money, either.

spencer,elizabeth(effigy)

Elizabeth Spencer: effigy on her parents’ tomb in St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.
[Image: “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women” – a fabulous site!]

So far, I haven’t told you what the Austen connection was.  I knew that William and Elizabeth were in my Austen database but with 13,500 people in it, I couldn’t remember their connection.  Checking when I got home I realized that they were ancestors of Adela Portal, the wife of Edward Knight (the younger), Jane’s nephew.  Among others, the current doyenne of the Austen family, Diana Shervington, is a descendant of that line.

There is a further literary connection, in that William and Elizabeth were also the ancestors of Vita Sackville-West.  The time has long since passed when I was surprised that almost anyone that you could name was connected with the Austens, but the particular individuals and their stories continue to fascinate!

Ron Dunning outside Canonbury Tower

Ron Dunning outside Canonbury Tower

[image: c2013, Catherine Delors]

Catherine Delors

Catherine Delors

Wish I had been there with the two of you! Thank you Ron for your continued insights on all things in the Austen family!

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Further reading: the problem with these sort of postings is that one can spend an inordinate amount of time researching all these new connections! – here are a few places to start, Elizabeth Spencer having quite the interesting story!

Canonbury-tower - Hone

Interesting bits:

  • Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, lived in Canonbury Tower from 1533. His residency ended abruptly in 1540 when he was beheaded by King Henry VIII. Cromwell has been the subject of Hilary Mantel’s critically-acclaimed Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
  •  Sir Francis Bacon, King James I’s Lord Chancellor, lived in Canonbury Tower, 1616-1626.
  • Charles Dickens set one of his Christmas stories in Canonbury Tower, titled The Lamplighter: you can read it here.

Compton room-canonbury

Chimney-piece and panelling in the Compton Oak Room, late 16th-century. Image: ‘Plate 102: Islington: Canonbury Tower’,
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London,
Volume 2: West London (1925), pp. 102. British History Online.

And finally, and again from the William Hone (1780-1842) archive:

Those who have been before and not lately, will view “improvement” rapidly devastating the forms of nature around this once delightful spot; others who have not visited it at all may be amazed at the extensive prospects; and none who see the “goings on” and “ponder well,” will be able to foretell whether Mr. Symes [the resident when Hone visited] or the tower will enjoy benefit of survivorship.

To Canonbury Tower

As some old, stout, and lonely holyhock,
Within a desolate neglected garden,
Doth long survive beneath the gradual choke
Of weeds, that come and work the general spoil;
So, Canonbury, thou dost stand awhile:
Yet fall at last thou must; for thy rich warden
Is fast “improving;” all thy pleasant fields
Have fled, and brick-kilns, bricks, and houses rise
At his command; the air no longer yields
A fragrance—scarcely health; the very skies
Grow dim and townlike; a cold, creeping gloom
Steals into thee, and saddens every room:
And so realities come unto me,
Clouding the chambers of my mind,
and making me—like thee.

*****************
And so here we are almost 200 years later, still visiting Canonbury Tower!

Ron at window

[Image: c2013, Catherine Delors]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Happy Valentine’s Day! ~ Giveaway of Elsa Solender’s Jane Austen in Love!

What a strange thing love is!

[Emma, vol. I, ch. XIII]

[Please see below for book giveaway instructions]

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to think of Love in Jane Austen terms.  I think we can say that it is a “truth universally acknowledged” that Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne in Persuasion* is the grandest expression of Love in all of literature – who would not want to receive such a letter as this?  But what of Love in Jane Austen’s own life? – we know so little; where did Mr. Darcy come from, or any of her other heroes?  What of True Love in her own life? We can only imagine… so I lead you to a fine imaginative rendering of ‘Jane Austen in love’ in Elsa Solender’s Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment.  When published last February, it was only available as an ebook, delightful to read but nothing to put upon the shelf.  We had to wait until this past December to see it finally published in real book form at Amazon.com.

book cover - ja in love - solender

book cover

At the time of its release as a kindle book, Elsa graciously “sat” for an interview here at Jane Austen in Vermont – you can read that here. And as my review was to be published in the JASNA News (just out in the Winter 2012 issue), I did not post a review of the book on this blog; Diana Birchall very graciously did so for me here.  But as my review is now published and available online, I append it here in part and then direct you to the JASNA site for the remainder [Note: all book reviews in the JASNA News are available online from 1998 to the present: click here.]  – and Elsa has offered a copy for a book giveaway [see below] in celebration of Valentine’s Day!

kindle cover

kindle cover

 “The Many Loves of Jane Austen” 

Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment, by Elsa Solender.

Review by Deborah Barnum

Imagine a young Jane Austen reading aloud her History of England, Cassandra sketching Henry as Henry V, their Mother as Elizabeth I, and Jane as Mary Queen of Scots; or young Jane at school nearly dying of typhus; or hearing Jane’s thoughts on first encountering Madame Lefroy; or sparking a laugh from the intimidating Egerton Brydges. Imagine the suitor you might like your Jane Austen to meet by the seaside, she falling madly in love but destined to suffer the pangs of lost love, forever irreplaceable. If your mind tends to such as you try to fill in the many blanks in Austen’s life, you might find that Elsa Solender, in her Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment, has done a wondrous job of doing it for you.

Ms. Solender, former president of JASNA and a prize-winning journalist, has taken her story “Second Thoughts,” runner-up in the 2009 Chawton House Library Short Story Contest, and expanded this one moment in Austen’s life to other places and times, all through the lens and voice of Cassandra Austen—it is part real, part imaginary, and part Austen’s own fiction, dialogue and story all beautifully woven together in this tribute to love in the life of Jane Austen—her love for her sister, her family, her cousin Eliza, and her mentor and friend Madam Lefroy; her flirtation with Tom Lefroy; the proposal from Bigg-Wither; and her Mysterious Suitor of the Seaside.

This is Cassandra’s story…

Continue reading… 

Amazon Digital Editions, 2012. 319 pages. Kindle. $6.99
Amazon Create Space, 2012. 368 pages. Paperback. $12.99

Elsa Solender in LondonAbout the author: Elsa A. Solender, a New Yorker, was president of the Jane Austen Society of North America from 1996-2000. Educated at Barnard College and the University ofChicago, she has worked as a journalist, editor, and college teacher in Chicago, Baltimore and New York. She represented an international non-governmental women’s organization at the United Nations during a six-year residency in Geneva. She wrote and delivered to the United Nations Social Council the first-ever joint statement by the Women’s International Non-Governmental Organizations (WINGO) on the right of women and girls to participate in the development of their country. She has published articles and reviews in a variety of American magazines and newspapers and has won three awards for journalism. Her short story, “Second Thoughts,” was named one of three prizewinners in the 2009 Chawton House Library Short Story Competition. Some 300 writers from four continents submitted short stories inspired by Jane Austen or the village of Chawton, where she wrote her six novels. Ms. Solender was the only American prizewinner, and she is the only American writer whose story was published in Dancing With Mr. Darcy, an anthology of the twenty top-rated stories of the contest.

Ms. Solender’s story “A Special Calling” was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Short Short Story Competition. Of more than 1,000 stories submitted, Ms. Solender’s story was ranked among the top fifty and was granted Honorable Mention. She has served on the boards of a non-profit theater, a private library and various literary and alumnae associations. Ms. Solender is married, has two married sons and seven grandchildren, and lives in Manhattan.

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For Valentine’s Day, Elsa has graciously offered a copy of her book [as she did with her ebook] to the winner of a random drawing – please comment below on what reading Jane Austen has taught you about Love Or you can pose a question to Ms. Solender. Deadline is Thursday February 21, 2013 at 11:59 pm; winner will be announced the next day. Domestic mailings only [sorry global readers, but our postal service has skyrocketed their overseas prices!]

Thank you Elsa, and good luck everyone!

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'Placed it before Anne'

‘Placed it before Anne’

[Image: C. E. Brock, Persuasion, vo. II, ch. XI; from Mollands.net]

*Captain Wentworth’s letter: [because I cannot resist]

‘I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. – Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? – I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. – Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in 

F. W. 

‘I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.’       [Perusasion, Vol. II, ch. XI]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice Covers

P&P cover - movie - barchasP&P penquin cover

 

Professor Janine Barchas has an article in this weekend’s New York Times on covers for Pride and Prejudice over the past 200  years:

The 200-Year Jane Austen Book Club

Let’s just be honest about our superficiality. Even when it comes to the high-­minded business of literature, people do judge books by their covers. Perhaps that’s why Amazon produces glossy mock “covers” for its disembodied e-books, to be inspected and decided upon alongside the traditional print offerings.

Book covers may be especially important when it comes to the classics. After all, many of us have a general sense of, if not a thorough familiarity with, the contents within. Perhaps more than anything else, these covers show what matters to prospective buyers. Two centuries of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” are particularly revealing about the novel’s broad and sustained popular reach….

Continue reading…

– the article links to a slide-show of twelve covers here – this will be in the print edition on Sunday.

P&P peacock barchasP&P peacock barchas P&P cover - barchas 1