The Pemberley Post, No. 13 (April 15- 21, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

April 23 – Today is the day Shakespeare died in 1616, (he may have also been born on this day – he was baptized on April 26, 1564) so let’s begin with the recent research into Shakespeare’s exact location in London: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/apr/13/shakespeare-plays-possibly-inspired-by-london-neighbours

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April 23 is also World Book & Copyright Day

“23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books – most beautiful invention for sharing ideas beyond the boundaries of humanity space and time as well as the most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.”

https://www.worldbookday.com/2019/04/world-book-copyright-day-23-april-2019

Celebrate by visiting your local bookstore!

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Charlotte Bronte’s hair has been found in a ring on Antiques Road Show: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/17/charlotte-bronte-hair-ring-antiques-roadshow-bronte-society-braid-1855

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This is a look back at how the Cathedral of Notre-Dame has been portrayed in art through the ages:  https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-notre-dame-cathedral-in-art-1460-1921/

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British Book Illustration – Folger

Quite the collection of British Book Illustration at the Folger – see here for all the searchable images: https://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/FOLGER~2~2

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A few things to add to your already overburdened reading list: Twelve of the most important books for women in philosophy – a reading list of books that explore recent feminist philosophy and women philosophers: https://blog.oup.com/2019/04/12-most-important-books-women-philosophy/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=oupblog

Sophie de Grouchy. Letters on Sympathy: A Critical Engagement with Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Published in 1798 in French, now here translated.

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In case you are in need of some new reading material, the whole of the 2 volumes of the Mueller Report are available for free online (you DON’T need to buy it from Amazon): Notice all the redacted data….  https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

or here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5955379-Redacted-Mueller-Report.html#document/

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Apparently Pride & Prejudice made this art mural bookcase in Utrecht – can you find it?? http://www.openculture.com/2019/04/street-art-for-book-lovers.html

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Are you a Hoarding Bibliophile who doesn’t want to declutter your bookshelves via the Marie Kondo directive?? Here are a few people who just cannot let go: (and I am happy to find some soulmates!) https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/marie-kondo-bibliophiles-books-decluttering-tidying-a8864926.html

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UCLA will be hosting a Marathon Reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on May 9-10 – for a full 24 hours – read about it here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exDvztcgJpo&app=desktop

And here on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/233607600848307/

Octavia Butler’s “Earthseed Series” will also be part of the reading.

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Into Absolut Vodka? You can bid on the various artist-rendered lithographs here: live bidding starts today!

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/139611_absolut-vodka-lithographs/

George Rodrigue’s “Absolut Statehood Louisiana” – bidding is already at $1800…

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The Modern Library is launching a new trade paperback book series, Modern Library Torchbearers, that will “honor a more inclusive vision of classic books” by “recognizing women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.” The books, all previously published, will be repackaged, and each will be introduced by a contemporary woman writer. The inaugural list for the series features:

  • American Indian Stories by Zitkála-Sá, with an introduction by Layli Long Soldier (May 21)
  • The Heads of Cerberus by Francis Stevens, with an introduction by Naomi Alderman (May 21)
  • Passing by Nella Larsen, with an introduction by Kaitlyn Greenidge (May 21)
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin, with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado (June 18)
  • Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, with an introduction by Flynn Berry (June 18)
  • Villette by Charlotte Brontë, with an introduction by Weike Wang (June 18)

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/79804-modern-library-launches-series-of-classics-penned-by-women.html

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I can honestly say that the only thing I really have a fancy for that one might call over-the-top decorative arts are the stunning Faberge eggs – I’ve seen them in museums over the years and two years ago at the best place of all at The Hermitage – so here in celebration of Easter is a nicely done history from Barnaby’s: https://www.barnebys.com/blog/in-celebration-of-easter-we-look-back-on-the-history/

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Historic Ashburn School

And finally, more for your book pile: here is a great story about a judge and her “punishments” for young offenders and the reading list she gave them all to choose from – everybody should read all these books – the world would improve immensely…https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/this-is-what-happened-when-a-us-judge-sentenced-teenage-vandals-to-read-books

Happy internet surfing all!
what have been your favorites this past week?

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

 

The Pemberley Post No. 3 (Jan 14-20, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

For your reading pleasure this week:

Bibliomania (Beineke)

Just opened! A Bibliomania exhibit at the Beineke: https://beinecke.library.yale.edu/exhibitions/bibliomania-or-book-madness-bibliographical-romance

Kate Beckinsale – The Widow: https://www.denofgeek.com/uk/tv/54327/the-widow-kate-beckinsale-amazon-series-news

More on the Austen family lost (and now found) photographs: https://checknewyorktimes.blogspot.com/2019/01/lost-photographs-of-jane-austens-family.html

Making a William Morris Christmas at the National Portrait Gallery:
(from 2014) https://www.npg.org.uk/blog/making-a-william-morris-chirstmas

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800 Medieval Manuscripts from England and France 700-1200: https://manuscrits-france-angleterre.org/polonsky/en/content/accueil-en?mode=desktop

More on mediaeval manuscripts: evidence of women’s work on illuminated medieval manuscripts (I love this!): http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau7126

The LadyLike Language of Letters (and a lost art?): https://daily.jstor.org/the-ladylike-language-of-letters/?utm_term=The%20Ladylike%20Language%20of%20Letters&utm_campaign=jstordaily_01172019&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email

You could spend weeks at this site: Gallica: https://gallica.bnf.fr/accueil/en/content/accueil-en?mode=desktop

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Sign on for some Online Jane Austen – about Northanger Abbey – Hillsdale College – FREE: https://online.hillsdale.edu/courses/_austen/home/jane-austen-schedule

Must-read: an essay on early feminist criticism: https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/9E423C3E76FEB3656379E2FC9920AAE2/S1060150318001420a.pdf/dorothea_or_jane_the_dilemmas_of_early_feminist_criticism.pdf

The Grolier Club at 100: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/arts/design/book-lovers-grolier-club.html

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London’s transit posters – the women artists [I bought a calendar of these and have framed my favorites – so beautiful]: https://www.citylab.com/design/2019/01/female-artist-poster-girls-london-transport-museum/579991/

You can view many at their online collection: https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/collections/collections-online/posters

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Thomas Girtin. ‘Above Lyme Regis’ (Christies)

“Better than Turner? The brief and brilliant career of Thomas Girtin” (born in 1775, just like JA): three of his works coming up at auction at Christies on January 31, 2019 in New York: https://www.christies.com/features/The-Life-of-Thomas-Girtin-9651-1.aspx

18 movie/tv adaptations of books in 2019 – READ them before the movie!: https://www.buzzfeed.com/farrahpenn/tv-and-movie-book-adaptations-in-2019 (including Little Women, Catch 22 (with George Clooney…), The Goldfinch, Where’d You Go Bernadette…and more)

The Library of Burnt Books (with a video): http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190117-the-library-of-forbidden-books

A sad loss to history trivia nerds the world over: “Two Nerdy History Girls” bid farewell (but will continue their own blogs, twitter and facebook pages, and of course their books!) http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/2018/12/in-which-loretta-susan-bid-farewell.html

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I missed this, sad to say: Winnie-the-Pooh at the MFA – you can see a tiny bit of the exhibit here – scroll down for the preview: https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh

For fans of Horace Walpole: thru Feb 24, 2019: https://www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/losttreasures/

“This exhibition brings back to Strawberry Hill some of the most important masterpieces in Horace Walpole’s famous and unique collection for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Horace Walpole’s collection was one of the most important of the 18th century. It was dispersed in a great sale in 1842. For the first time in over 170 years, Strawberry Hill can be seen as Walpole conceived it, with the collection in the interiors as he designed it, shown in their original positions.”

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Some old news: Jane might be appalled (though I think more likely she would have had a copy herself…), but here is a more than interesting essay on Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the copy that sold at auction in October 2018: https://www.sothebys.com/en/articles/rowan-pelling-on-sex-obscenity-and-lady-chatterleys-lover

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If you are watching Masterpeice’s Victoria, you might wonder about the real history behind it all: here is the pbs version: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/victoria-s3-e1-history-in-images/#

This all should keep you busy for a good while…

2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen & The Arts Conference ~ March 23-25, 2017 at SUNY-Plattsburgh

John Broadwood & Sons square piano (1797), NY-MMA - 1982.76

John Broadwood & Sons square piano (1797), NY-MMA

Mark your calendars! The “Jane Austen & The Arts” Conference, scheduled for March 23-25, 2017 at SUNY-Plattsburgh has just announced its speaker line-up – a terrific group! – here they are alphabetically: (and note that our very own Hope Greenberg will be sharing her thoughts on Fashion!)

  • Elaine Bander (Dawson College, CA), “Austen’s ‘Artless’ Heroines: Catherine and Fanny”
  • Barbara Benedict (Trinity College, CT), “‘What Oft was Thought’: Wit, Conversation, Poetry and Pope in Jane Austen’s Works”
  • Natasha Duquette (Tyndale University College, CA), “‘A Very Pretty Amber Cross’: Material Sources of Austenian Aesthetics”
  • Tim Erwin (UNLV), “The Comic Visions of Emma Woodhouse”
  • Marilyn Francus (West Virginia University), “Jane Austen, Marginalia, and Book Culture”
  • Marcie Frank (Cornell), “Theater and Narrative Form in Austen’s Mansfield Park”
  • Hope Greenberg (University of Vermont), “Jane Austen and the Art of Fashion”
  • Jocelyn Harris (University of Otago, NZ), “What Jane Saw–in Henrietta Street”
  • John Havard (Binghamton University), “Jane Austen and Woody Allen”
  • Jacqueline George (SUNY New Paltz), “Motion Sickness: The Fate of Reading in ‘Modern’ Sanditon”
  • Nancy E. Johnson (SUNY New Paltz), “Jane Austen and the Art of Law”
  • John Lefell (SUNY Cortland), “The Art of Speculation in Austen’s Sanditon”
  • Ellen Moody (George Mason University), “Ekphrastic Patterns in Jane Austen”
  • Tonay J. Moutray (Russell Sage Colleges, NY), “Religious Views: Austen’s Picturesque and Sublime Abbeys”
  • Douglas Murray (Belmont University, TN), “Jane Austen Goes to the Opera”
  • Cheryl Nixon (University of Massachusetts), “Jane Austen and Family Law”
  • John O’Neill (Hamilton College), “Adaptation, Appropriation, and Intertextuality in Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship”
  • Deborah C. Payne (American University), “Jane Austen and the Theatre? Perhaps Not So Much”
  • Peter Sabor (McGill University), Keynote Address: “Portrait Miniatures and Misrepresentation in Austen’s Novels”
  • Juliette Wells (Goucher College, MD), “‘A Likeness Pleases Everyone’: Portraiture, Ekphrasis, and the Accomplished Woman in Emma”
  • Cheryl Wilson (University of Baltimore), “Jane Austen and Dance”

More info here: https://janeaustenandthearts.com/

c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont

Heraldry Windows at Chawton House Library ~ Part III: The Great Hall

Dear Readers: Today I am posting Part III on the Heraldic windows at Chawton House Library, this post giving details on the shields in the Great Hall, as well as two more family pedigrees, and a very short course on the meaning of the various colors in the heraldic crests.

And again I thank Edward Hepper, one of the Chawton House Library’s invaluable volunteers, for sharing with us his expertise on heraldry! Please comment if you have any questions or anything to add to any of these three posts.

Chawton-Library-CH-CHL

Chawton House Library and Church
[Image: DH and DigLibArts]

Part III: The Great Hall

Various painted shields show the arms of different branches of the family since the 17th century. Some of those above the fireplace include Knights and their wives from the early 20th century. They were probably painted for Montagu Knight in the years just before the 1st World War. [You can see portraits of these named in the previous two posts.]

CHL - Great Hall 1-EKnight-TKnight

Edward Knight (jr) & Adela Portal: Thomas Knight (jr) & Catharine Knatchbull

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CHL - Great Hall 2-CKnight-LKnight

Charles E Knight & Emma Patrickson (?): Lionel C E Knight & Dorothy Deedes

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CHL -Great Hall 3-JMonk-TKnight

Jane Monk; Thomas (Brodnax) Knight (sr)

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Pedigree: Knight Family

Pedigree 4a, Knights 19th to 20th centuries 1309 001

The Chawton Manor Succession:

Chawton Succn_Austen adoption

 

The Meaning of the colors: a brief summary, and please note that there is a wide variation in assigning a meaning to a color, with many experts disagreeing…

CHL-GreatStaircase-1-Landing

Great Staircase Landing

  • Blue: the use of blue in heraldry means truth and loyalty
  • Green: green symbolizes hope joy and loyalty in love
  • White:   White backgrounds usually refer to innocence and purity
  • Red: red or gules (a tincture with the color red) represents magnanimity and fortitude
  • Yellow/Orange: The orange represents, worthy ambition

CHL-Great Gallery-MonkKnight

Great Gallery

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The Austens had their own crest:

Austen coat of arms

[From Ron Dunning: JA’s Family Genealogy]

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If you have an interest in heraldry, you might like to visit some of these various sites: 

Here’s my very own“caro sposo’s”: (apologies for fuzziness – it is scanned under glass, but you get the idea…)

Starr-Crest

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c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont  

Heraldry Windows at Chawton House Library ~ Part II: The Great Staircase

Dear Readers: Today join me for Part II on the Heraldic windows at Chawton House Library, this post giving details on the two windows on the Great Staircase. [You can read Part I on the Great Gallery here] – And again I thank Edward Hepper, one of the Chawton House Library’s invaluable volunteers, for sharing with us his expertise on heraldry.

Chawton-House-Shire-Horse

Chawton House Library

Part II: The Great Staircase:

  1. The Landing window

The windows on the staircase landing and that at the foot of the stairs were modified by Sir Edwin Lutyens to display this collection of mid-Tudor heraldry. It probably came from the Manor of Neatham, on the other side of Alton, which came into the Knight family in the mid-18th century. Neatham had been owned by Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu, and the heraldry fits with his prominent Roman Catholic allegiance – he was an Executor of Queen Mary’s will.

CHL-GreatStaircase-1-Landing

 

  1. Queen Elizabeth I
  2. Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
  3. King Henry II of France
  4. Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu [see note below]

Close-ups:

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

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Earl of Rutland

Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland

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King Henry II of France

King Henry II of France

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Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu

Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu

[Note: Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu was a leading courtier, Roman Catholic, supported Queen Mary, attended the official wedding of Mary and Philip in Winchester Cathedral (though note that the DNB entry for Browne says Hampton Court Palace in which she stayed frequently but DNB for Mary and the cathedral’s own records state Winchester Cathedral), and was MP for Petersfield (DNB)]

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2.  The Window at the foot of the stairs:

CHL-GreatStaircase-2-footofstairs

 

  1. King Philip II of Spain (NB the punning arms of Leon, Castille and Grenada)
  2. Edward Knight (jr) & Adela Portal
  3. Queen Mary I

Close-ups:

King Philip II of Spain

King Philip II of Spain

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Edward Knight Jr & Adela Portal

Edward Knight Jr & Adela Portal

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Queen Mary I

Queen Mary I

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Notes:

  1. Edward Knight is the odd one out and his glass must be at least three hundred years later, perhaps bought or commissioned by Montagu Knight. They include Knight, Austen, Leigh and Portal.
  2. The arms of Queens Mary and Elizabeth are the same as those for English sovereigns from, Henry V to Elizabeth I. In this case, Elizabeth is labelled as such. Mary has to be Mary because of the provenance and context of the other arms shown.
  3. Similarly, Henry used the same arms as nearly all the French Kings but Henry II was the only one who was a Knight of the Garter – and so had the Garter encircling his shield.
  4. The difficulty was to see the reason why the 3rd Earl of Rutland was included as he was not a prominent Catholic, like most of the others. However, the 3rd (or bottom left quarter) in his and the Browne shields are the same, which points to a relationship between Rutland and Browne. Indeed, examination of their family trees points to a common descent from Edmund of Woodstock (son of King Edward II) via John, 1st Baron Tiptoft, and it is the Woodstock and Tiptoft arms that appear in this 3rd quarter.  A family tree or pedigree is available to show this connection.  Browne, being a relatively ‘new’ man was keen to show his historical and aristocratic credentials and so included as many quarterings as possible of related families (including Browne, FitzAlan, Maltravers, Neville, Monthermer, Woodstock, Tiptoft, Ingoldsthorpe, Bradston, de la Pole and Deburgh).  Rutland, being the 3rd Earl, was well established and so did not need so many quarterings (just Manners, Roos, Belvoir, Ross or Especk, FitzBernard, Woodstock and Tiptoft); however his presence in the window added to Browne’s prestige.
  5. Philip II of Spain is included because as Mary’s husband, he was King of England, during her reign. His arms include most of the European territories he ruled: Castille, Leon, Sicily, Aragon, Austria, Burgundy, Brabant, Flanders, Tyrol and Granada.
  6. There is more information available on the heraldry in the rest of the house (stained glass, wood carving, paintings and tilework).

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Mr. Hepper also sent along three family trees: here is the first one on the early owners of Chawton House (others to follow in next post)- (no worries, there will be no quizzes at the end…):

Early owners of Chawton House, pre-Knight Family, from 1066 – c1550

FamTree_1a096

Stay tuned for more, and with thanks again to Edward Hepper!

c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont, text and images by Edward Hepper

Heraldry Windows at Chawton House Library ~ Part I: The Great Gallery

Dear Readers: Today I am posting in response to a question on Tony Grant’s post about visiting the Emma exhibition at Chawton House Library a few weeks ago. One of Tony’s pictures at the end of the post was of stained glass windows at the Library, and “Lady L” inquired about them. Tony had not seen anything about the various windows and portraits, but he confessed to be solely focused on Emma to really pay close attention. I have since discovered that all the heraldic windows are indeed explained at CHL, and that one of the Library’s many terrific volunteers has researched the history and meaning of all of them. Edward Hepper has graciously sent me his write-ups along with pictures and with his and CHL Executive Director Gillian Dow’s permission, I share this with all of you. Mr. Hepper is a long-term member of the British Heraldy Society, http://www.theheraldrysociety.com/home.htm and is quite knowledgeable on the family coats-of-arms that grace the windows of CHL – you will see some connections to Jane Austen and her family…but there is much other British history in these windows as well!

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Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library

We will start today in the Great Gallery:

These three windows were commissioned by Montagu Knight from the London firm Powell, of Whitefriars. They were installed between 1910 and 1913. The first window, furthest from the Great Staircase, shows the families of the freeholders from the 11th century over the next five hundred years. They were all descendants from the de Ports, to whom William the Conqueror granted the estate, although sometimes the lack of a male heir meant that Chawton passed through the female line with a change of name and coat of arms. The last of this family was Leonard West, by whom Chawton was sold to the Arundels.

CHL - Great Gallery-1

  1. St John, successors to the DePorts
  2. St Philibert
  3. Poynings
  4. Bonville
  5. Fulford
  6. West (NB the punning ‘W’)

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Within a few years, they sold to Nicholas Knight, whose son John, started to build the present house in 1583. The Knight family have held the freehold ever since – over four hundred years, although it has several times passed through the female line to other branches of the family which have had to adopt the name and arms of Knight (usually slightly differenced).

The succeeding Knights are shown in the next two windows and the dates next to their names indicate the year in which each of them succeeded to the freehold.

CHL - Great Gallery-2

  1. John Knight & Mary Neale (1583)
  2. Stephen & Richard Knight  (1620, 1637)
  3. Sir Richard Knight & Priscilla Reynolds (1641)
  4. Richard & Christopher (Martin) Knight (NB punning martins) (1679, 1687)
  5. Elizabeth (Martin) Knight & William Woodward Knight (1702)
  6. Elizabeth (Martin) Knight & Bulstrode Peachey Knight (1702) [Elizabeth Martin Knight had two husbands: William Woodward and Bulstrode Peachey (you cannot make up a name like that…)]

Here are their portraits, to put a face to a name:

Sir Richard Knight    –    Richard (Martin) Knight

Christopher (Martin) Knight  –  William Woodward

Elizabeth (Martin) Knight – Bulstrode Peachey

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The third window brings us to Jane Austen territory:

CHL-Great Gallery-MonkKnight

  1. Thomas (Brodnax) Knight & Jane Monk (1637)
  2. Thomas Knight (jr) & Elizabeth Knatchbull (1781)
  3. Edward (Austen) Knight & Elizabeth Bridges (1794)
  4. Edward Knight (jr) & Mary Dorothea Knatchbull (1st wife) (1852)
  5. Edward Knight (jr) & Adela Portal (2nd wife) (1852)
  6. Montagu Knight & Florence Hardy (1879)

And their portraits:

Thomas (Brodnax) Knight  –  Jane Monk, wife of Thomas Knight (sr)

Thomas (Brodnax) Knight (jr)  – Edward (Austen) Knight (Jane Austen’s brother)

Edward Knight (jr)  –  Montagu Knight

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Hearty thanks to Edward Hepper for allowing me to post on this – stay tuned for more information on the other windows … And I will be conversing with Ron Dunning to make sense of all these names and their connections to Austen – see his Jane Austen Genealogy for starters…

c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont; text and photos c Edward Hepper

Musing on a Passage in Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” ~ Guest Post by Heather Brothers

Gentle Readers: I welcome today one of our JASNA-Vermont members, Heather Brothers, as she muses on a certain passage in “Persuasion” that she “discovered” during a recent re-listen. We’ve had a bit of an email discussion over this, so now want to it share with you and solicit your thoughts too.

Persuasion-Naxos-Stevenson

The Musgrove’s Parlour

Several years ago I came upon the audio version of Persuasion as read by Juliet Stevenson. The manner of her reading infused more meaning into Persuasion than I ever picked up reading it myself. And through listening to this several times, I have noticed some fascinating passages that I would otherwise have overlooked. Here is one and I am happy to share others:

Anne-MrsMusgrove-Kellynch

Anne Elliot and Mrs Musgrove: http://www.kellynch.com/Anne.php

Anne has arrived at Uppercross and is going to visit the Musgroves with Mary…

To the Great House accordingly they went, to sit the full half hour in the old-fashioned square parlour, with a small carpet and shining floor, to which the present daughters of the house were gradually giving the proper air of confusion by a grand piano forte and a harp, flower-stands and little tables placed in every direction. Oh! Could the originals of the portraits against the wainscot, could the gentleman in brown velvet and the ladies in blue satin have seen what was going on, have been conscious of such an overthrow of all order and neatness! The portraits themselves seemed to be staring in astonishment.

[Persuasion, Vol. I, Ch. 5]

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I have come to understand that Persuasion is written on the cusp of a new time period. Just before this passage above, Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove are described as representing the old ways and the two Miss Musgroves as the new ways. I get the impression that Jane Austen is using even the parlor in the Musgrove house as showing this change – that the minutia of interior design itself represents a change from the old ways to the new ways.

What was happening in interior design at this time? What architectural changes were taking place? I understand from fashion that ionic columns and flowing lines were the mode, but simplicity doesn’t seem to be the case with the Musgrove girls’ additions to the parlor. When I read this piece to my husband, who is an architect, he immediately got the impression that the girls were over-decorating; that they were building up the style to improve and impress.

This leads me to think that the astonishing overthrow of all order and neatness is both referring to the style of the room but also to the girls themselves. What would the portraits have thought of Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove in their endless pursuit of happiness, fun and excitement?

Seen in an earnest light, Henrietta and Louisa’s behavior is seriously flawed. Henrietta almost loses a good, stable life with a man she really likes and Louisa almost kills herself through taking their love-struck silliness to too high of a level. Did it all start in the parlor? Would the piano forte have been sufficient, but the additional harp, flower-stands and little tables represent the overthrow of moderation? Is Jane Austen’s commentary on the parlor a harbinger of what’s to come for these girls or for society?

If anyone can recommend books on this subject – please let me know!

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This portrait may serve as an example of what Jane Austen is referring to, hanging on the Musgrove parlor walls “against the wainscot,” where all is “order and neatness.”

devis2alg

1742-1743 the John Bacon family, by Arthur Devis
(Yale Center for British Art – New Haven, CT)
[Source: http://www.gogmsite.net/reign-of-louis-xv/1742-1743-john-bacon-family.html]

Austen packs into this one rather obscure sentence much about what is going on in the Musgrove household and the wider world! Thoughts anyone?

cover-IntroGent-BrothersHeather Brothers is one of our “Team of Janeites” in Vermont who helps with Hospitality and Boutique sales at our quarterly meetings. She is a young mother of two adorable girls, and also the author of a Regency-era novel, The Introduction of a Gentleman (2013) – it is a terrific read – you can find it on Amazon (and interesting to note that the cover depicts a young lady sitting at a pianoforte!)

Heather has also initiated at our meetings “The Awesome Austen Moment” – where we ask someone to read aloud a short passage from any of the Works, just to remind us all exactly what Austen could convey in any given sentence, this Persuasion piece a perfect example.

You can read more about Heather and her book here: