Pump Rooms and Gothic Terrors: How “Northanger Abbey” Came to Be

Today is Jane Austen’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to begin Sarah Emsley’s blog series on “ Youth and Experience: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion – a collection of essays by various scholars and Austen bloggers to be posted over the next several months – today starting here with a post on the very bumpy convoluted journey of Northanger Abbey into print. Austen would be 242; her Northanger Abbey and Persuasion joint publication will be 200 on December 2oth. Lots of reasons to celebrate!

As we begin this bicentennial celebration of the publication of Northanger Abbey (along with its companion Persuasion) we must first give full voice to how this publication came to be. And what we find are lots of questions, much scholarly debate on when Austen wrote it, when and how much she revised it, and why it sat around for so long before seeing the light of day. This publishing journey of NA is a fascinating story, pieced together by scholars from Austen’s letters, extant publisher records, and a good deal of speculation. And we still have a host of unanswered questions…

But first, I’d like to tell the story of my first reading what has been labeled the least-liked of Austen’s novels:

I did not read it until about 27 years ago; it was the one Austen book I had sought to avoid (all that bad PR)…when I first read it I was sorely disappointed and thought it silly, and Henry a condescending boor; I read it exactly one year later for a seminar, and found it quite funny, almost laugh-out-loud funny, and Henry quite charming. I read it again several years later and just enjoyed it thoroughly, finding more humor and more depth in every sentence; and now, after reading it a good number of times more, very close readings, even Underlining (I NEVER do this!), and re-reading sentences, looking up all references, etc., I have to say that I LOVE this book, there is so much in it, so very funny, so very serious in its lessons, and Henry is quite to die for!  So many people I talked to about this book have said that they either have not read it, or didn’t like it when they did (I tell everyone that you must read it at least three times)…. and then there are the few that have read it and re-read it and find that this novel, really Austen’s tribute to the Novel and Reading (one must note that in addition to the nine “horrid” novels discussed by Isabella and Catherine, there are a total of twenty-two references to books:  novels, histories, landscape sources, philosophy, Shakespeare, etc. ….!), is quite an amazing literary jewel! Indeed, it has four of my all-time favorite quotes:

If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad…

“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.” 

A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it was well as she can.

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The Backstory:

As we begin to look at the genesis of Northanger Abbey, with a foray into the very interesting history of publishing in early 19th century England , we also find a very clear picture of how involved Jane Austen really was in wanting to see her work in print. And while Northanger Abbey is often dismissed as the first novel of an “immature” Jane, i.e. one step above her Juvenilia, NA was actually the third novel she wrote, after Pride & Prejudice, initially called “First Impressions” (written in 1796-7 and published in 1813) and Sense & Sensibility (written in 1797, published in 1811), NA was the first to be taken by a publisher and is thus considered Austen’s first completed work.

[An Aside here: Austen’s father submitted “First Impressions” to the publisher Richard Cadell in 1797 – it was returned by post – and this was in later years revised to become Pride and Prejudice and published in 1813. So while Austen may have considered her “First Impressions” to be completed enough for publication in November of 1797, it was not until 1803 that she felt that her “Susan” was ready for public consumption, while neither S&S or P&P were so ready…]

We know from Cassandra Austen’s note on the composition of the novels, that NA (and spelled North-Hanger Abbey, proof of how to pronounce the title, NOT Northanger with a soft “g”) was “written about the years [17]98 & 99.”  (See Chapman’s edition of the Minor Works for a facsimile of this note, following p. 242). This is where there is much scholarly debate – some believe it was written earlier in the mid-1790s and therefore before P&P and S&S. Mandal writes, citing Brian Southam that:

There is compelling internal evidence within the body of the published Northanger Abbey, which supports the theory that a direct-narrative Susan was initially composed after a definitely epistolary Elinor and Marianne and (to other commentators) a potentially epistolary First Impressions (509).

And Mandal concludes that 1798-99 saw the first and most substantial stage of composition, yet at least a second phase took place before submitting the manuscript to Crosby in 1803. Austen’s reference to Belinda, published in 1801, shows work on it after that date, as well as the Bath scenes, where Austen moved in 1801. I’ll discuss below the changes that were made between 1803 and 1816 when Austen retrieves the manuscript back from Crosby, and writes the following “Advertisement,” apologizing for the book being outdated and rebukes the publisher quite tellingly:

ADVERTISEMENT,

BY THE AUTHORESS

 TO

 NORTHANGER ABBEY 

This little work was finished in the year 1803, and intended for immediate publication. It was disposed of to a bookseller, it was even advertised, and why the business proceeded no further, the author has never been able to learn.  That any bookseller should think it worth while to purchase what he did not intend to publish seems extraordinary.  But with this, neither the author nor the public have any other concern than as some observation is necessary upon those parts of the work which thirteen years have made comparatively obsolete.  The public are entreated to bear in mind that thirteen years have passed since it was finished, many more since it was begun, and that during that period, places, manners, books, and opinions have undergone considerable changes.

[“Advertisement,” NA, 1st ed. 1818; see the online exhibit at Lehigh University:   https://omeka.lehigh.edu/exhibits/show/austen/austen/northanger_persuasion ]

“The Mysteries of Udolpho”

So what happened in 1803 and why wasn’t it published? What is known is that the manuscript of “Susan” (as it was first titled) was sold anonymously by William Seymour, Henry Austen’s lawyer (and possible suitor of Jane Austen! [1]), to the publisher Benjamin Crosby & Co. for ₤10. [2]  Though advertised in Crosby’s 1803 catalogue Flowers of Literature of works being in the press, as well as The Dorchester and Sherborne Journal of August 26, 1803: “In the Press – Susan, 2 vols.” [3], Crosby never published it, and speculation as to why has again been the subject of much scholarly debate:  Was is because Crosby published Ann Radcliffe’s widely popular gothic mysteries and perhaps did not want to undermine them by publishing this “parody”?  Or perhaps we agree with Margaret Kirkham’s theory that the publisher shied away from Austen’s unpopular feminist views and her defense of the novel in this work? Jan Fergus posits that perhaps the advance notice produced no demand and why Crosby decided not to publish it after all [4]. However, Mandal offers further evidence that Crosby was actually in financial difficulties at the time, and that, along with the “vagaries of the book-trade itself, rather than the textual specifics of “Susan” itself…” (518), is the reason Crosby did not publish.

No one knows for sure, but Austen did nothing about it until 1809, when she may have been spurred on by seeing an advertisement that February for a novel titled Susan to be soon published by a J. Booth. Austen sends off a biting letter addressed to B. Crosby & Co. under the name of “Mrs Ashton Dennis” demanding an explanation for her “Susan” never being published, inferring she had a second manuscript and would take it elsewhere if they did not publish it. She signed the latter “MAD” – always the humorist!:

To B. Crosby & Co. [Letter 68(D)] – letter now at the British Library

Wednesday 5 April 1809

Gentlemen

In the Spring of the year 1803 a MS. Novel in 2 vol. entitled Susan was sold to you by a Gentleman of the name of Seymour, & the purchase money £10. rec’d at the same time. Six years have since passed, & this work of which I avow myself the Authoress, has never to the best of my knowledge, appeared in print, tho’ an early publication was stipulated for at the time of Sale. I can only account for such an extraordinary circumstance by supposing the MS by some carelessness to have been lost; & if that was the case, am willing to supply You with another Copy if you are disposed to avail Yourselves of it, & will engage for no farther delay when it comes into Your hands. — It will not be in my power from particular circumstances to command this Copy before the Month of August, but then, if you accept my proposal, you may depend on receiving it. Be so good as to send me a Line in answer, as soon as possible, as my stay in this place will not exceed a few days. Should no notice be taken of this Address, I shall feel myself at liberty to secure the publication of my work, by applying elsewhere. I am Gentlemen &c &c

MAD.–

Direct to Mrs Ashton Dennis
Post office, Southampton

[Messrs. Crosbie [sic] & Co.,
Stationers’ Hall Court
London]

What is interesting to note here is that Austen had a second copy of the manuscript of “Susan” – isn’t it surprising that neither this nor the copy that was eventually returned to her and used for its publication in 1818 have survived? All that remains is this scrap of paper now at the Pierpont Morgan:


[You can read about this here: http://www.janeausten.ac.uk/edition/ms/SusanHeadNote.html

Crosby’s response follows as Letter 68(A) – the letter is from Richard Crosby, and the source of the confusion through the years of scholars believing the publishing firm was called Richard Crosby & Co.:

Madam

We have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th inst. It is true that at the time mentioned we purchased of Mr Seymour a MS. novel entitled Susan and paid him for it the sum of 10£ for which we have his stamped receipt as a full consideration, but there was not any time stipulated for its publication, neither are we bound to publish it, Should you or any one else we shall take proceedings to stop the Sale. The MS. shall be yours for the same as we paid for it.

London Ap 8 1809                                                                                                      

For B. Crosby & Co
I am yours etc.
Richard Crosby

Mrs Ashton Dennis
Post Office Southampton

[You can see a facsimile of this letter now housed in the British Library along with an explanation of the pencil markings under the letter indicating it was signed by J Austen, later written over as Mrs Ashton Dennis, in Axelrad, Persuasions 16 (1994): 37.]

Chawton Cottage

This nasty rejection left Austen little to do but put thoughts of publishing “Susan” aside – she could not afford to buy it back (to put this in perspective, she was living on an allowance of ₤20 / year). She wrote this letter to Crosby in April 1809 – a few short months later she and her mother and sister were settled in Chawton. Mandal shows that this year of 1809 was a watershed year for Austen: she returned to her Juvenilia (there are a few changes indicating this dating), she writes to Crosby, and she begins on what was to be the beginning of her publishing career by reworking her S&S (1811) and P&P (1813) (524).

It was not until 1816, after the success of Emma, that Austen was finally able to purchase back the manuscript for the ₤10. As Austen’s nephew notes in his Memoir, Henry took great pleasure in informing Crosby that “the work which has been so lightly esteemed

Memoir frontispiece

was by the author of Pride and Prejudice.”  She changed the title to “Catherine” and wrote her “Advertisement.”  Susan Wolfson calls Crosby (“He had kicked it to the curb”) and his failure to publish NA “one of the signal blunders in London publication history, rivalled only by Cadell’s taking a pass on Pride and Prejudice” (2, 6).

What is not known is whether Austen, other than changing the name of her novel to “Catherine,” did any other revisions to that second manuscript and then again in 1816 when the first manuscript was returned to her. No manuscripts survive as noted above, so all is speculation – the Letters give only an incomplete picture of her working on any of her novels. But the rather stark difference between the Bath and Abbey parts of NA has led many scholars to argue over the how, when, and whys of her revisions:

  • there are a few internal references added after the initial composition dates of 1798-9: there is the inclusion of Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda, published in 1801;
  • Wolfson cites “Union-passage” (Vol. I, ch. 7) as a clue to work after 1807, as this street was named “Cock Lane” until that date (Wolfson, 114).
  • But all the references in the Bath scenes are from the late 1790s; and all of the “horrid” novels cited are pre-1798. Austen visited Bath for the first time in late 1797. She visited again in May – June 1799 (there are four letters to Cassandra from Bath – see Le Faye, Letters 19-22). Her October 24 letter mentions that her father is “now reading the “Midnight Bell”, which he has got from the library…” – The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom was published in 1798 and is one of Isabella Thorpe’s must-read gothic novels.

“Company at Play” – Thomas Rowlandson, The Comforts of Bath (London, 1798)

  • Brian Southam believes that Austen heavily revised the novel between August 1816 and January 27, 1817, when she began work on her left-unfinished Sanditon. Narelle Shaw continues Southam’s argument by suggesting that the parts of Northanger Abbey that incorporate instances of free indirect speech were definitely added after the writing of her mature novels, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion (which was finished in August 1816), and these passages are mostly to be found in the second part of NA and occur most frequently in the speech of General Tilney.

But Austen lays it all aside after writing her “Advertisement” – she writes to her niece Fanny Knight on 13 March 1817 [Ltr. 153]:

I will answer your kind questions more than you expect.- Miss Catherine is put upon the Shelve for the present, and I do not know that she will ever come out;- but I have something ready for Publication, which may perhaps appear about a twelvemonth hence. It is short, about the length of Catherine. – This is to yourself alone…

And that work “ready for Publication” was Persuasion.

[Another ASIDE here: For many years, later readers of NA believed that Isabella’s list of “horrid” novels was a product of Austen’s imagination; it was not until 1901 when it was noted that they were all actual romances, and it was not until 1927 when Michael Sadleir showed that Austen’s selection of these novels was very deliberate. These novels were largely unavailable to the reading public of later generations, and thus it was and is NA that has survived the test of time! See Persuasions 29 for an essay linking NA with Regina Maria Roche’s Clermont in plot and character [5]. See also Susan Allen Ford’s 2012 article in Persuasions On-Line for an analysis of these gothic novels].

Finally Published:

We can’t know as Austen put aside her work-in-progress Sanditon, as her illness worsened and there was little hope for improvement, if she discussed with her sister Cassandra or brother Henry, what was to be done with her two largely finished but unpublished works. It has been written that Henry and Cassandra gave both titles to these last works: “Catherine” became Northanger Abbey, and “The Elliots” became Persuasion, both published together in a 4-volume set only five months after Austen’s death in July 1817. Henry Austen wrote his “Biographical Notice” [6], which for the first time gave up the “Great Secret” of the author being Jane Austen, though still not stated on the title page. This notice set in motion the view of Austen as the sweetest of characters imbued with high moral and Christian values, who never said a nasty thing about anyone… thankfully, we now know better.

But why the rush to publish? We can assume the Austen family wanted to take advantage of getting her last works into print while her earlier works were still selling. They did publish again with John Murray, Austen’s favorite “Rogue,” and by that September he had the manuscripts: Murray wrote in a September 9 letter to Lord Byron that he was in the process of publishing “two new Novels left by Miss Austen—the ingenious Author of Pride & Prejudice—who I am sorry to say died about 6 weeks ago” (Gilson, xxx). And sometime after December 4, Murray wrote a letter to Lady Aberdeen: “I am printing two short but very clever novels by poor Miss Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice” (Gilson, 85).

John Murray – NPG

They published again on commission with the author taking the risk and paying all the up-front costs with 10% going to the publisher. Murray advertised in The Courier on 17 December 1817 that “Northanger Abbey, a Romance; and Persuasion, a Novel” were to be published on 20 December in 4 volumes at 24 shillings. The Morning Chronicle of December 19, 1817 states the works “To-morrow will be published.” The title page is dated 1818, “By the Author of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Mansfield Park,’ Etc.” The “Biographical Notice” dated Dec. 13, 1817 with a Postscript dated Dec. 20, 1817 and Austen’s “Advertisement” served as prefaces.

Wedded with Persuasion:

What it looked like… [See the Grossman essay noted below for an analysis of why NA and P were published together, not just because they were handed to Murray that way as the two remaining Austen novels, but having more to do with publishing trends at the time – and how succeeding publishers either did or did not re-print them together in one or more volumes.]

  • 4 volumes
  • 12mo or about 7″ tall, with text on pages not crowded but about 5-8 words / line and about 20 lines / page:

[Image: Lehigh University]

  • Blue-grey paper-covered boards and off-white or grey-brown backs / and or white printed labels (the 4 volumes would have been similar to this 1st edition copy of Pride and Prejudice in its original boards at the National Library of Scotland)

  • Price: 24 shillings (all 4 volumes or 6s / volume): this was a lot of money at the time; many sold to circulating libraries rather than to individuals
  • 1750 copies printed, sold quickly, 321 copies left at end of 1818
  • Cost to print: ₤238 / paper; ₤188 / printing. The 2 volumes of each title were printed by different printing houses: Northanger Abbey by C. Roworth; Persuasion by T. Davison
  • Copyright retained by Austen family; published at Author’s expense, with 10% commission to publisher
  • Total profit to family after expenses: ₤515, more than she made in her lifetime
  • It seems, according to Gilson, that copies were offered for sale in Australia in 1821
  • There was no second edition and was not published again in England until May of 1833 in the Bentley’s “Standard Novels” series with NA and P again being published together, this time in one volume, selling for 6 shillings

    NA and P – Bentley, 1833 – Peter Harrington

  • First published in America in 1833 by Carey & Lea in two volumes, with “Miss Austen” on the title page and Henry’s biographical notice included. The text includes minor variations, mostly referring to the Deity. Persuasion was published separately in 1832:[Image: Gilson, 121]
  • Translated by Hyacinthe de Ferrieres and published in France in 1824 as L’Abbaye de Northanger.

Critical Reception:

The earliest reviews and comments on Northanger Abbey, often with a comparison to Persuasion as part of the commentary, comprise a long (and interesting!) read that I shall post separately in the next few weeks. Please check back… to give you a taste, I will mention here one of my favorites:

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, May 1818 – an unsigned notice of NA and P 

We have no hesitation in saying, that the delightful writer of the works now before us, will be one of the most popular of English novelist’s… and if we could point out the individual who has attained the highest perfection in the art of novel writing, we should little scruple in fixing upon her.

So all Good (and True!) so far…but finishing up with a commentary on her admirable character as gleaned from the “Biographical Notice”:

We are very certain that Miss Austen’s writings (novels as they are, and filled with accounts of balls and plays, and such abominations,) could [not] have been formed without a feeling of the spirit of Christianity. [7]


Where you can see the First Edition:
[see Gilson for a partial list]

As we are surely unable to see the Queen’s copy at Windsor Castle, and if you aren’t lucky enough to own a copy yourself (see below for current values), you might find these few options more accessible:

Goucher College in Baltimore, the Bodleian, the British Library, the Boston Public Library, Cambridge University, Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Columbia, the Library of Congress, Yale, Houghton Library at Harvard, the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, Oxford…and the list goes on.

Perhaps the finest copy to be seen is the one at the University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center – they have two copies, one is Cassandra Austen’s own, with her signature – though this is a copy of her P&P, signed Cassandra Elizabeth Austen.

Volume 2 of Northanger Abbey / Persuasion copy has the inscription “Emma Austen” – Emma Austen-Leigh (wife of Austen’s nephew James Edward of the Memoir fame):

Images from: https://sites.utexas.edu/ransomcentermagazine/2013/02/05/researching-austen-in-austin-archival-research-reveals-connections-between-jane-austens-characters-and-real-life-celebrities-and-politicians/


What is it worth today?

1st ed rebound – Peter Harrington

Values are determined first by how close the work is to the original publication – i.e. it is more valuable in its original plain boards; any re-binding of those original blue-grey paper boards, which is what early owners would have done with their purchase, is lower in value.

The next valuation marker is supply and demand: how many copies are there out there? and who wants them? Austen has been in demand for a long time and prices have gone up dramatically.

The third marker is condition, condition, condition, the all-important tipping point in whether a book holds its estimated value or will be worth less.

Looking at auction records over the past few years shows us prices ranging from £43,000 in original boards to £4,000 – £8,000 rebound. There are currently four first editions for sale on Abebooks, all are rebound, and range in condition and price from $10,000 (rebound in two volumes) to $25,000 (an interesting association copy owned by Louisa Taylor, wife of Edward Taylor, who was perhaps Austen’s first Romantic Interest). If only Jane Austen could have seen some of these profits!

 

Little did Jane Austen, or Henry or Cassandra, or anyone in her family realize that this novel that went through so many incarnations – Austen clearly wanted this story published – and finally seeing the light of day after Austen’s death, bring such joy to so many readers (and various illustrators) through its past 200 years. Is there any character better than Catherine Morland, overwrought by her gothic novels yes, yet also full of the common sense her parents gave her and so able to intuitively figure out the people around her…..?


Or the ridiculous Mrs. Allen, rattling on with her incessant dress-talk, that “frivolous distinction” that even Austen herself nattered on and on about in her letters?

Is there a more horse-obsessed and obnoxious character in all of literature than John Thorpe??

And is there a better Hero than our Henry? who looks terrific in a greatcoat and drives so well…


Please stay tuned for upcoming weekly posts at Sarah Emsley’s blog series on Northanger Abbey and Persuasion – A hearty thank you Sarah for inviting me to participate again!

Notes:

  1. See Deirdre Le Faye, “Jane Austen’s Laggard Suitor,” Notes and Queries 47.3 (2000), 301-4., cited in Mandal, 512; and the mention in http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol30no2/lefaye.html
  2. Gilson and others have continued to refer to Crosby as Richard Crosby & Co due to the letter he wrote to Austen in 1809; more recent scholarship has found that the publisher was actually Benjamin Crosby & Co. – Richard being either a younger brother or a son – see Mandal, 512; Le Faye’s 4th edition of the Letters makes this correction as well.
  3. See Mandal, 519.
  4. See Jan Fergus, Jane Austen: A Literary Life, 112.
  5. Tenille Nowak. “Regina Maria Roche’s ‘Horrid’ Novel: Echoes of Clermont in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.” Persuasions 29 (2007): 184-93.
  6. For a new take on who actually may have written this first essay on Jane Austen, see the just published Juliette Wells’ essay in Persuasions On-Line 38.1 (2017): “A Note on Henry Austen’s Authorship of the “Biographical Notice.’” http://www.jasna.org/vol38no1/wells/ .  Also see Peter Sabor’s upcoming post on Sarah Emsley’s blog about this notice.
  7. Brian Southam, Critical Heritage, 266-68.

[Note that the CE and HM Brock and Hugh Thomson illustrations are all from Mollands.net.]

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A Select Bibliography:

Aiken, Joan. “How Might Jane Austen have Revised Northanger Abbey?” Persuasions 7 (1985): 42-54.

Austen-Leigh, J. E. A Memoir of Jane Austen. [Bentley: 1st ed. 1870; 2nd ed. 1871. Also Kathryn Sutherland’s edited Oxford ed. of 2002.]

Axelrad, Arthur M. “Jane Austen’s ‘Susan’ Restored.” Persuasions 15 (1993): 44-45.

_____. “Of Which I Avow Myself the Authoress…J. Austen: The Jane Austen – Richard Crosby Correspondences.” Persuasions 16 (1994): 36-38.

Clery, E. J. Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister. London: Biteback, 2017.

Ehrenpreis, Anne Henry. “Introduction to Northanger Abbey.” Penguin, 1972.  An excellent intro to the novel, with notes on all the books cited by Austen, and a nice discussion of the “horrid” novels.

Fergus, Jan. Jane Austen: A Literary Life. Macmillan, 1991.

_____. “The Professional Woman Writer,” in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. Cambridge UP, 1997.

Ford, Susan Allen. “A Sweet Creature’s Horrid Novels: Gothic Reading in Northanger Abbey.” Persuasions On-Line 33.1 (2012). Web. http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol33no1/ford.html.

Gilson, David. A Bibliography of Jane Austen. Oak Knoll, 1997 (reprint with new introduction).

Grogan, Claire. “Introduction to Northanger Abbey.” Broadview Literary Texts, 1996.

Grossman, Jonathan H. “Anne Elliot Bound up in Northanger Abbey: The History of the Joint Publication of Jane Austen’s First and Last Complete Novels.” Persuasions 27 (2005): 195-207.

Johnson, R. Brimley. “Introduction to Northanger Abbey.” London: Dent, 1950.

Le Faye, Deirdre. Jane Austen: A Family Record. 2nd ed. Cambridge UP, 2004.

_____. Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. Abrams, 2002.

_____. Jane Austen’s Letters. 4th ed. Oxford UP, 2011.

Litz, A. Walton. “Chronology of Composition.” The Jane Austen Companion. Ed. J. David Grey, et al. Macmillan, 1986. 47-52.

Mandal, A. A. “Making Austen Mad: Benjamin Crosby and the Non-Publication of “Susan.” Review of English Studies 57.213 (2006): 507-25.

Modert, Jo. “Chronology of the Novels.” The Jane Austen Companion, 53-59.

Shaw, Narelle. “Free Indirect Speech and Jane Austen’s 1816 Revision of Northanger Abbey.” Studies in English Literature 30.4 (1990): 591-601.

Southam, Brian, ed. Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage. Routledge, 1979.

_____, ed. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (Casebook Series).  Macmillan, 1976.  A compilation of reviews from early contemporary critics to the present.

Tanner, Tony. “Anger in the Abbey.” Jane Austen. Harvard, 1986.  I love this collection of essays on each of the novels…every one is interesting and insightful.

Wolfson, Susan, ed. Northanger Abbey: An Annotated Edition. Belknap – Harvard UP, 2014.

And see also the Northanger Abbey page on this JAIV blog: https://janeausteninvermont.blog/the-works/northanger-abbey/

c2017 Jane Austen in Vermont

Reblog: The Inexhaustible Jane Austen: An Interview with Jocelyn Harris and Bucknell University Press

Gentle Readers: I post here the full text of an interview with Austen scholar Jocelyn Harris that she did with her publisher Bucknell University Press on her newest book Satire, Celebrity, & Politics in Jane Austen. You can find the original post here: http://upress.blogs.bucknell.edu/2017/10/16/the-inexhaustible-jane-austen-an-interview-with-jocelyn-harris/

[Photo by Reg Graham]

Upon the release of her new book Satire, Celebrity, & Politics in Jane Austen (Bucknell University Press, 2017), Jocelyn Harris was kind enough to discuss her research and writing on the witty English novelist.  Jane Austen has been the subject for much of Harris’ work, and still is, as Harris continues to uncover new insights into Austen’s life and writing. As Harris puts it, Austen is “quite simply inexhaustible”—and as Harris’ responses demonstrate, new methods of research and deeper investigation reveal more about her with each new endeavor.

cover-satire-harris.jpg

Bucknell University Press [BUP]: You state in your introduction that you “reconstruct Jane Austen’s creative process by means of the newspapers she perused, the gossip she heard, the streets she walked upon, and the sights she saw.”  This method suggests a focus on environment, an almost anthropological study of a different time and place.  What was the research process like in regards to uncovering evidence from the past?  What challenges did you meet?  What was the most rewarding?

Jocelyn Harris [JH]: Distance is my biggest challenge, because I live in New Zealand, half a world away from the great libraries of Europe and North America. The Internet has quite simply changed my life. Exciting new resources such as databases of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century newspapers, digitized manuscripts, online books, blogs, and search engines all open up cultural and historical contexts that bring her back to life—as do new books and editions in print and e-book form, readily accessible articles on the web, and email suggestions from friends.

Reading the magnificent modern editions of Fanny Burney’s letters and journals made me aware that snippets of her correspondence, obviously too good to ignore, reappear in Austen’s novels. My guess is that her mother’s gossipy cousin, who lived over the road from the celebrated author, could have told the family many a sensational tale of Burney’s life at the court of George III.

With the help of the Internet, I realized that Austen probably based Elizabeth and Jane Bennet on two royal mistresses. Dorothy Jordan, celebrity actress, mistress to the Duke of Clarence, and mother of his ten children, seems to have inspired her creation of the lively Elizabeth, while Austen would identify a portrait of the regent’s mistress, Mrs. Georgina Quentin, as Mrs. Bingley. When the regent came courting this “professed spanker,” Georgina was living in Covent Garden, where Austen stayed with her banker brother, Henry.

Most of Jane Austen’s correspondence has been lost, and she kept no diary. Therefore, I had to fill out her life by poring over her locations, her reading, her social and literary networks, her knowledge of current events, and her viewing of cartoons and portraits.

BUP: While she is immortalized by her writing, Austen was a real person living during a unique moment in history.  In your opinion, what is the most compelling piece of information that you learned about Jane Austen during the research process for this book?

JH: Austen is often regarded as a gentle, amusing ironist. But as the title of Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen indicates, I believe that she was a courageous political satirist.  At a time when the cult of celebrity was in its infancy, she targeted celebrities, up to and including the Prince of Wales. Her in-jokes about public figures demonstrate her worldliness, her fascination with fame, and her relish of rumor.

She was also never more than one degree of separation away from royalty. To know from a local historian’s website that the young Prince of Wales lived near Steventon, Austen’s home, was to understand why she created so many satiric avatars of him. Austen was a patriot, and the prince was endangering the nation. She attacked him in the only way she could, obliquely, through her characters and plots. In Northanger Abbey, for instance, the unlovely John Thorpe lies, boasts, swears, looks, and behaves as badly as Prince George. A “stout young man of middling height,” with a “plain face and ungraceful form,” Thorpe utters “a short decisive sentence of praise or condemnation on the face of every woman they met.”

Austen attacks the prince yet again in Mansfield Park’s Henry Crawford, a man marked like him by caprice and unsteadiness. Crawford indulges in the “freaks of a cold-blooded vanity,” and rids himself of his money and leisure “at the idlest haunts in the kingdom.” In Persuasion, she criticizes Sir Walter Elliot’s status and power, as unearned as the regent’s, and praises Captain Wentworth’s merit and courage. Austen’s lacerating portraits suggest first-hand knowledge of the prince’s vulgar, voyeuristic, and self-indulgent ways.

BUP: Considering again the study of place, if Austen had lived during this day and age, who do you think her subjects for inspiration might have been?  How do you think the world would have reacted to her wit, humor, and criticism?

JH: A Regency woman in a golden age of satire, Austen attacked the Prince of Wales for his much-lampooned appearance, his lewdness, his vanity, his instability, his outrageous spending, his tremendous debts, his desire for absolute power, his implicit treason, his fondness for over-the-top building ventures, and his embarrassing braggadocio. Even court insiders warned that the prince was not fit to be king, and Austen wrote that she hated him. The current resurgence of political satire in social media, newspapers, and cartoons would have delighted this savvy, progressive, and thoroughly modern woman.

BUP: Satire, Celebrity, and Politics being your third book on Jane Austen, how has your research evolved regarding your interest in her life and writing? Are there any questions that still need to be answered? What will you do next?

JH: I only want to know how Jane Austen did it (only!). In Jane Austen’s Art of Memory (Cambridge University Press, 1989), I followed the turns of her mind as she picked up elements from other writers and made them into her own. Undeterred by being a woman, she took whatever she wanted from anywhere.

In A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” (University of Delaware Press, 2007), I traced her creative process in the only manuscript to survive from her published novels. In the cancelled chapters of Persuasion, she deletes, interlineates, writes new material in the margins, and sticks on a scrap with a wax wafer. Eight days later, she threw all that away, and wrote some of the most remarkable scenes in her work––the last chapters of Persuasion.  She was indeed a true professional.

At a time of hardship, inequality, and war, Austen wrote, “How much are the Poor to be pitied, and the Rich to be blamed.” In Persuasion, she attacks the class hierarchies propping up the society of her day. In a highly subversive move, she sets Sir Walter Elliot’s Baronetage against Captain Wentworth’s Navy List, pride of birth against pride of accomplishment. The aging patriarch of the Elliots cannot compete with the glamorous young Captain Wentworth, who derives from real-life heroes such as Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, and Captain Cook. So too, in this brave new world of energy and achievement, the faded beauty of Bath gives way to the Romantic sublimity of Lyme Regis. In this eloquent novel about second chances, Anne Elliot finds a fragile happiness.

Jane Austen is quite simply inexhaustible. I’m writing about her relationship to Madame de Staël, the foremost woman genius of the age; the London locations where she could have seen contemporary cartoons; and her continual fascination with Fanny Burney. There is always more to find out about this extraordinary woman.

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For more information on Austen, take a look at Harris’ latest book Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen. To order visit http://www.rowman.com or call 1-800-462-6420. Use code “UP30AUTH17” to save 30% on the list price (not valid on eBook).

cover-Satire-Harris

c2017, Jane Austen Vermont, reblogged from Bucknell University Press

WANTED! ~ Books with Montagu George Knight Bookplates

Calling all Booksellers, Librarians, Bibliophiles

Wanted !

The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society*

Cordially invites you to join in the

Global Search

For all books bearing

Montagu George Knight bookplates**

Please help us return these books to the fold

at the

Chawton House Library Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, UK

* The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS) is a research group of scholars and bibliophiles searching for all books that were originally in the libraries of Godmersham Park and later Chawton House, both estates of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight.

**The three Knight bookplates were all designed by Charles Sherborn in 1900 / 1901:

Bookplate 1

Bookplate 2

Bookplate 3

***********

1.  The History:  

Edward Austen Knight inherited three estates from his adoptive family the Thomas Knights: Godmersham Park in Kent, and Chawton House and Steventon in Hampshire. Godmersham and Chawton had large extensive libraries typical of the gentry of the time. Edward had a catalogue of the Godmersham Library compiled in 1818, listing about 1250 titles. These books were later combined with the Chawton House Library when Godmersham was sold in 1874, with many of the volumes sold or otherwise distributed over the years. [Montagu George Knight, grandson of Edward Knight, placed his bookplates in most of the books of this combined library, as well as in the books he added to it. The remaining library (called the “Knight Collection” and still in the family) is now housed at Chawton House Library, which serves as an important literary heritage site and a center for the study of early women writers]. We know Jane Austen spent a considerable amount of time in both these libraries – and an ongoing project has been to try to locate the missing volumes that have wandered away and might still be extant in libraries, in book collectors’ homes, or on bookseller shelves – the “Lost Sheep” of Godmersham Park.

2. The Digital Godmersham Project:

Initiated and run by Professor Peter Sabor (Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Director of the Burney Centre at McGill University), this is a web-based open-source project that will include the Knight family books that are recorded in the catalogue of 1818, as they were on the shelves – a virtual library so to speak. This Phase I of the project will launch in 2018, the bicentenary of the original catalogue. While it would be a final goal to locate all the missing titles that are out there, this digital project will create for us what Jane Austen would have seen and read when visiting her brother.

3. What we need:

If you have or locate any books with any of the three Montagu George Knight bookplates, please contact us – we would like good pictures of:

a.) the binding/cover;

b.) the inside cover of the book, where Montagu Knight’s bookplate should be attached, often together with a small shelf ticket from Chawton House Library; and

c.) the title page of the book.

These three pictures would be used on the website, with or without your name as the book’s current owner/location (this is up to you).

4. Donation / sell options:

Some of those found thus far have been privately purchased and donated back to the Chawton House Library (they do not have funds for this project). If you would like to “return” the book to Chawton to be part of their permanent collection, you would become one of GLOSS’s Team Heroes and we would be forever grateful. All donations are tax-deductible. Or, if you would consider selling the book back to CHL now or in the future (or making a donation to the cause so we can purchase books as they become available), we would add it to our wish-list of purchases and ask that you send the pictures noted above so it can be added to the website. Progress is slow, and because every book may not be able to return home, we hope this virtual library will serve as a useful research tool for future studies of reading habits in the 18th and 19th centuries.

***************
[CHL book with bookplate and shelf ticket]

Thank you for any help you can offer! 

For more information, please contact one of us:  

  1. Janine Barchas – Professor, University of Texas at Austin:
    barchas [at] austin.utexas.edu
  2. Deborah Barnum – Board Member, North American Friends of Chawton House Library: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com
  3. Peter Sabor – Professor, Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Director of the Burney Centre, McGill University: peter.sabor [at] mcgill.ca
c2017 JaneAusteninVermont

Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility” at Lost Nation Theater ~ Guest Review by Margaret Harrington

Gentle Readers: I welcome Margaret Harrington, a JASNA-Vermont member, as she offers a review of the Kate Hamill play Sense & Sensibility, now playing at the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, VT – it is there through October 22nd – (I unfortunately had to miss this performance – I did see this same adaptation at the Folger last year, and very happy to hear from Margaret that is was just as delightful a production as the one I saw). Vermonters are in luck if you must miss this one by LNT – UVM has it in their theatre line-up for November 8-12, 2017. See below for details on both productions. Get your tickets today!

******************

Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, by Kate Hamill

Review by Margaret Harrington

The play Sense & Sensibility by Kate Hamill, now running at The Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier until October 22, is a delicious feast of a production.

First it is served up by the lively professional direction of Kathleen Keenan who has whipped up a delightful ensemble on a silver platter of wonderful acting, comic timing, emotional intensity and faithfulness to the original story in Jane Austen’s first published novel Sense & Sensibility. Then you have the brilliant scenic design for theater in the round where the designer Kim Bent uses movable tables, chairs, windows and even potted plants to transport you to Regency England in a most inventive way. The costumes by Rebecca Stewart are essentially beautiful in color and texture and with a minimalist stroke – the addition of a hat, a vest, a shawl, or a mask, the actors play multiple characters masterfully. Lighting designer David Shraffenberger illuminates all with chameleon like magic which transports you just where you want to go. The Music Design by Tim Tavcar embraces and holds you there – lost and found in Austen.

The story lives in the marriage plot wherein the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, must find husbands to lift them out of reduced circumstances brought about by the recent death of their father and the acquisition of his estate by their half-brother, John. The eldest sister, Elinor, embodies Sense in dealing with her impulsive mother and two sisters and most of all her erstwhile suitor Edward Ferrars played charmingly by the actor Sam Balzac. Annie Evans plays Elinor as a complicated young woman, totally sympathetic in her role as leveling anchor in her family. Her relationship with Marianne, portrayed with depth and passion personifying Sensibility by Katelyn Manfre, is the lynchpin of the play and the scenes between the sisters are riveting, funny and moving. There are two almost vaudevillian turns that stand out and nearly stop the show. These are Mrs. John Dashwood’s reaction when she learns that her brother is engaged to a woman with no money or status. Laura Michelle Erle in the role vents her frustration hilariously. The other is the Ferrars brother Robert played again by Sam Balzac who goes on about cottages with mindless panache that leaves you shaking with laughter. At times the actors insinuate themselves into the audience by including us in their gossip and this kind of social media chatter is what drives the plot.

This ensemble of actors work together so convincingly that they capture the audience from the beginning and draw us into the world of the story. It is amazing to me that the actors come from different places and meet here as professionals to form this true togetherness in art. I name all the actors here in tribute to their craft. They are: Leon Axt, Sam Balzac, Mariana Considine, Michael Dewar, Laura Michele Erle, Annie Evans, Erin Galligan-Baldwin, Brett Lawlor, Amanda Menard, Katelyn Manfre, Eve Passeltiner and Sebastian Ryder.

As a Janeite and a longtime enthusiast for the writings of Jane Austen (I am a board member with the Vermont Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America ), I believe this play at Lost Nation Theater captures the essence of Jane Austen and reveals the power of society over individual identity with wit and levity.

Relevant to life today? Think social media and bullying, peer pressure, emoji, text messages, limited characters for intimate communication!

Behold! – Jane Austen is alive and well and living in Vermont.

 The cast of Sense & Sensibility, Lost Nation Theater, photo courtesy of Robert Eddy, First Light Studios

*********************

Lost Nation Theater: Sense & Sensibility by Kate Hamill now running in Montpelier until October 22. You can get tickets here: http://lostnationtheater.org/sense/

UVM: Hamill’s S&S will also be playing at UVM’s Royall Tyler Theater November 8-12, 2017 with a different cast and crew. You can get tickets here: https://www.uvm.edu/cas/theatre/current_production_season

Don’t miss this!

Just available: a youtube interview with the director and three of our JASNA-Vermont members, Michelle Singer, Sarah Madru, George Shumar, and Margaret Harrington behind the scenes! You can watch it here:

c2017 Jane Austen in Vermont

JASNA-Vermont’s Next Gathering! ~ September 17, 2017, with Sheryl Craig on “Jane Austen and the Master Spy”

You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s September Meeting
~ part of the Burlington Book Festival ~


“Jane Austen and the Master Spy”
w/   Sheryl Craig

Sunday, 17 September 2017, 2 – 4 pm

Morgan Room, Aiken Hall,
83 Summit Street Champlain College, Burlington VT**

Jane Austen’s contemporary William Wickham was Britain’s first Master Spy and head of the British Secret Service. Wickham was also the focus of a massive government scandal and Parliamentary investigation when it was found that millions of pounds in taxpayer’s money had been funneled to Wickham and then disappeared without a trace. Pride and Prejudice’s George Wickham shares the Master Spy’s name and his legendary good looks, charm, cunning, and duplicity. Join us for an enlightening talk on what Jane Austen may have been telling her readers…
you can expect Sex, Lies, Scandal, and Spies!

Sponsored by JASNA-Vermont and Bygone Books

~ Free & open to the public ~ ~ Light refreshments served ~
For more information:   JASNAVTregion [at] gmail.com
Please visit our blog at: http://JaneAustenInVermont.blog

Burlington Book Festival website: http://burlingtonbookfestival.com/

************************************ 

Sheryl Craig has a Ph.D. in 19th century British literature from the University of Kansas and has been a faculty member in the English Department at the University of Central Missouri for more than twenty years. Sheryl has published in numerous Jane Austen-related journals and is the editor of JASNA News. A popular presenter at many JASNA AGMs and tireless traveler to JASNA regional groups (this is her second trip to Vermont!), she has trekked far afield to spread Jane Austen in Nova Scotia, Scotland and England, and upcoming in 2018 she will visit New Zealand and Australia. Her book Jane Austen and The State of the Nation was published in 2015, and she is presently working on Jane Austen and the Plight of Women about Jane Austen and the Women’s Rights Movement in Georgian England.

Hope you can join us!
~~

c2017 Jane Austen in Vermont

Julienne Gehrer on “Dining with Jane Austen”

Dear Janeites Near and Far,

Next Thursday, August 3rd, we will be welcoming author Julienne Gehrer to Vermont! She will be speaking at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington from 5-7 pm on, you guessed it, “Dining with Jane Austen.” This is the first event in the Library’s  new series “BURLINGTON RISING: Lectures & Culinary Demonstrations centered on the historical role of bread in human civilization” – see below for more information on this series.

Julienne will be giving her full talk to us at the Library; a shorter talk will be offered on Friday evening at Shelburne Farms as we partake in a full-course Regency-era dinner provided by local chef Richard Witting and his Isolde Dinner Club – you can read the details of both events here.

Today, a little introduction to Julienne’s book – it will be available for purchase and signing at both events – if you would like to reserve a copy in advance, please contact me.

*******************

Telling Jane Austen’s Life Though Food

     During a cool and rainy summer in Hampshire, England, an American writer received unprecedented access to two manuscript cookbooks connected to Jane Austen. Paging through the unpublished works, it became clear that many of the family recipes could be connected to foods referenced in the author’s letters and novels.

Fast forward through three years of research, 45 period food articles, 75 recipe adaptations, plus on-site photography at two Hampshire houses where Jane Austen lived and dined. In her new book, Dining with Jane Austen, Julienne Gehrer tells the story of the famous author’s life through the foods on her plate. The book’s May release date coincides with the launch of Hampshire events celebrating the 200th anniversary year of the author’s death.

Readers will enjoy the book’s food-centric stories sequenced in the order of Jane Austen’s letters and residences: her girlhood home in Steventon, economic struggles in Bath, stability in Southampton, creative freedom at Chawton, and death in Winchester. Now Haricot Mutton, Orange Wine, Bath Buns, White Soup, and many other foods familiar to Austen can be recreated using the her family’s own recipes. By understanding and recreating these foods, readers can enjoy a certain level of intimacy with the author—much like that of sharing a meal with family and close friends.

Dining with Jane Austen gives readers their first view of family recipes on the family china in the family houses. To create the book, Gehrer was allowed to photograph from attic to cellar in Chawton Cottage, where Austen wrote or revised all her major novels. The cottage is now known as Jane Austen’s House Museum, located just down the lane from Chawton Great House, the home of Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight. Here Gehrer was allowed to photograph the recreated recipes on the Knight family china bearing the familiar grey friar. Jane accompanied her brother and niece to select the pattern at Wedgwood’s London showroom in 1813—the same year Pride and Prejudice was published. One of Jane’s letters describes the pattern of  “a small Lozenge in purple, between Lines of narrow Gold;—& it is to have the Crest.”

In the midst of so many books offering the fictitious dishes of Mrs. Elton’s Rout Cakes or the dinner Mrs. Bennet might have served Mr. Darcy, Gehrer made it her goal was to serve up Austen with well-researched authenticity. By recreating the famous author’s favorite foods, readers may indeed feel like they are dining with Jane Austen.

Dining with Jane Austen
By Julienne Gehrer
May, 2017 (Ash Grove Press, Inc.) 218 soft-bound pages with 250 full color illustrations $34 at diningwithjaneausten.org and Amazon 

Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chawton House Library.

********************

Julienne Gehrer is a Lifetime Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and has served as a Board Member and Regional Coordinator. She worked as an Editorial Director for Hallmark Cards, Inc., and retired after a 31-year career. Julienne is the author of two books: In Season: Cooking Fresh From the Kansas City Farmers’ Market and Love Lore: Symbols, Legends and Recipes for Romance. She is the creator of three board games including Pride and Prejudice—the Game. Julienne has spoken at several JASNA conferences and regional events on topics including, Did Jane Austen Prefer a Plain Dish to a Ragout? and Jane Austen and 18th Century Kitchen Wisdom. Although she admits a preference for modern kitchens, Julienne has cooked period foods over the open hearth at the 1858 John Wornall House Museum.

Hope to see many of you there!

******************

More on the Fletcher Free Library series:

BURLINGTON RISING: Lectures & Culinary Demonstrations centered on the historical role of bread in human civilization Brought to you by the Fletcher Free Library, the Vermont Humanities Council and the Friends of the Fletcher Free Library.

Burlington Rising explores bread’s connection to cultural identity, the development of cooperative economies and food systems, archaeological artifacts from Africa to New England and the breads brought from across the globe to Vermont through immigration. Burlington Rising provides opportunities for people from a variety of backgrounds to learn from each other; educates our community about the historical foundations of diet and food preparation; and engages multiple generations in activities that build relationships through stories and food preparation.

Burlington Rising Lectures on Bread Traditions and Culinary Demonstrations:

  • August – from Europe
  • September – from Africa
  • October – from Asia
  • Late October & Early November – from the Americas

 

c2017 Jane Austen in Vermont, with thanks to Julienne Gehrer

In Memory of Jane Austen ~ July 18, 1817 ~ A Bicentenary

July 18, 1817.  Just a short commemoration on this sad day…200 years ago….

No one said it better than her sister Cassandra who wrote

have lost a treasure, such a Sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed,- She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, & it is as if I had lost a part of myself…”

(Letters, ed. by Deidre Le Faye [3rd ed, 1997], From Cassandra to Fanny Knight, 20 July 1817, p. 343; full text of this letter is at the Republic of Pemberley)

There has been much written on Austen’s lingering illness and death; see the article by Sir Zachary Cope published in the British Medical Journal of July 18, 1964, in which he first proposes that Austen suffered from Addison’s disease.  And see also Claire Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A life, “Appendix I, “A Note on Jane Austen’s Last Illness” where she suggests that Austen’s symptoms align more with a lymphoma such as Hodgkin’s disease.

The Gravesite:

Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral

….where no mention is made of her writing life on her grave:

It was not until after 1870 that a brass memorial tablet was placed by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh on the north wall of the nave, near her grave:

It tells the visitor that:

Jane Austen

[in part] Known to many by her writings,
endeared to her family
by the varied charms of her characters
and ennobled by her Christian faith and piety
was born at Steventon in the County of Hants.
December 16 1775
and buried in the Cathedral
July 18 1817.
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

The Obituaries:

David Gilson writes in his article “Obituaries” that there are eleven known published newspaper and periodical obituary notices of Jane Austen: here are a few of them:

  1. Hampshire Chronicle and Courier (vol. 44, no. 2254, July 21, 1817, p.4):  “Winchester, Saturday, July 19th: Died yesterday, in College-street, Miss Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Rev. George Austen formerly Rector of Steventon, in this county.”
  2. Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (vol. 18, no. 928, p. 4)…”On Friday last died, Miss Austen, late of Chawton, in this County.”
  3. Courier (July 22, 1817, no. 7744, p. 4), makes the first published admission of Jane Austen’s authorship of the four novels then published: “On the 18th inst. at Winchester, Miss Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Rev. George Austen, Rector of Steventon, in Hampshire, and the Authoress of Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility.  Her manners were most gentle; her affections ardent; her candor was not to be surpassed, and she lived and died as became a humble Christian.” [A manuscript copy of this notice in Cassandra Austen’s hand exists, as described by B.C. Southam]
  4. The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle published a second notice in its next issue (July 28, 1817, p. 4) to include Austen’s writings.

There are seven other notices extant, stating the same as the above in varying degrees.  The last notice to appear, in the New Monthly Magazine (vol. 8, no. 44, September 1, 1817, p. 173) wrongly gives her father’s name as “Jas” (for James), but describes her as “the ingenious authoress” of the four novels…

[from Gilson’s article “Obituaries,” The Jane Austen Companion. Macmillan, 1986. p. 320-1]

Links to other articles and sources:

There are many articles and blog posts being written today – I shall post links to all tomorrow – here are just a few:

Copyright c2017  Jane Austen in Vermont