Guest Author Interview ~ Bryan Kozlowski on “The Jane Austen Diet”

Dear Healthy Readers: I welcome today Bryan Kozlowski, author of The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness – he joins us here to answer a few questions about his book, why he wrote it, how long he’s been a reader of Jane Austen, and when he discovered she had all these things to say about nutrition and health.  Joceline Bury, the book reviewer for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine calls it “a delectable salmagundy or culinary history, illuminating quotes, dietary science and intriguing recipes – it made this gourmand’s heart sing. Delicious in every way.”          

*****         

 Welcome Bryan!

When did you first start to realize that Austen’s work contained these words of wisdom about wellness?

Very unexpectedly. Looking back, Jane and I had always been in a very superficial relationship. Begging her polite pardon, I never viewed her beyond anything other than a pure romance writer, always good for a giggle over the newest rich gent in the neighborhood, but not exactly influential to everyday life. If anything, Austen was just a bosom buddy I turned to for distraction from modern life, never realizing she held one of its biggest solutions. Yet that all changed rather quickly two years ago. Nearing my 30th birthday and in the midst of a personal wellness quandary (wondering, among other things, whatever happened to the energy levels of my roaring twenties), I delved into the latest health books for answers. That’s when it happened.  Reading the “newest” research on eating, exercise, and holistic living felt very familiar, like literary déjà vu. Hadn’t I come across these exact insights before in Austen’s novels? Hadn’t she said the same thing, espoused nearly identical lifestyle advice, over two-hundred years ago? It all looked amazingly similar to the way her healthiest characters eat, stay fit, and interact with nature. The discovery led me to health maxims in Austen’s writings I never knew existed, which revealed a side to this famous English spinster rarely, if ever, discussed. Here was a woman just as interested in persuading her readers to live a healthier life as she was inspiring them to fall in love. Plainly, Austen wanted to take my relationship with her to the next level. So I took the plunge, deciding to test out her unique health strategies for myself (rather secretly, at first – one doesn’t announce to the world that one is going on the Jane Austen “diet,” does one?) It was a personal guinea-pig project that – shockingly – was not only suitable to the 21st century, the elegance of embracing “health and happiness” like a true Austenite is one that I now heartily announce to anyone in sore need of adding back some civility and sense to their own modern health routine. 

You’re not a health professional. Do you intend for people to actually follow this plan? Is it a serious contribution to the wellness space?

Quite right. It’s something I discuss upfront in the book: that neither am I nor was Austen a doctor (or apothecary, rather!). Austen was, however, one of the most brilliant observers of human nature, and devoted her literary life to finding out what makes people happier and healthier both in mind and body. For this reason, Austen is often considered one of the best “didactic” novelists, meaning she made it her mission to inspire us – no matter the century – to live a better life. And just like she didn’t need to get married herself to understand the nuances of love, she didn’t need a medical degree to accurately grasp what our bodies need to thrive – the evidence is all in her novels. In fact, the health advice scattered throughout her writing continues to be so timeless today because it was based on organic observation, not on shifting fashions or fads. She knew what naturally worked for our bodies and what didn’t, which is why her wellness philosophies find such resounding support from the latest health research. Moreover, it’s important to remember that Austen lived in an age that faced health challenges nearly identical to the ones we grapple with today. The Regency era had its own mini obesity epidemic, movement crises, and trendy starvation diets to contend with. Yet in her own clever way, Austen chose to respond (never bluntly) but with subtle, counterculture clues woven throughout her fiction: clues meant to gently motivate us to better alternatives. And I, for one, am so grateful she did.

What is the best piece of advice gleaned from Austen included in your book?

Austen would probably get a merry kick out of my attempt to answer this, as her health code purposefully defies any attempt at tidy condensing. But if possible to boil down, you could say that it’s built on one refreshing reminder – that “health” is far more holistic than most of us have been conditioned to view it today (that is, as an isolated number on a scale, BMI chart, food plan, fitness strategy, or dress size). As a matter of fact, weight hardly mattered to Jane at all, who progressively considered excessive thinness, not fatness, as a much more serious risk to health. There are corpulent characters in her novels, of course, who could certainly loose a few pounds, but Austen chose to widen the lens and focus instead on what she calls the “complete” “picture of health” throughout her fiction. In short, Austen’s healthiest characters never have just one defining attribute that makes them “lovely, blooming, [and] healthful” but a sweeping range of interconnected lifestyle habits and patterns that keep them effortlessly “in health” from tip to toe: from their relationship to food and exercise, to their interactions with nature, to how they think and feel about their bodies. Your corset size mattered far less to Jane than how you laced up the rest of your life.

 Which of Austen’s heroines lives the healthiest life, and why?

What I love about Austen’s approach to wellness is its firm footing in reality – that is, none of her heroines start their stories as perfect paradigms of health. Everybody has something to learn. Anne Elliot begins Persuasion “faded” and frumpy and Marianne Dashwood certainly has some hard health lessons ahead of her in Sense and Sensibility. But if any heroine could be said to have a head start on the rest, I believe it would be Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. If nothing more than the fact that she begins the novel completely comfortable in her own skin. So much so, she instantly laughs off Mr. Darcy’s infamous body-shaming snark (“he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form”). And that alone was incredibly important to Austen, an early promoter of body positivity. Because becoming healthy in Austenworld truly begins in your mind, where the quality of your relationship to food, fitness, and even your reflection in the mirror will greatly depend on how you think about those things. Still incredibly important today, these are the mental “exercises” that set apart the body healthy from the body harmful in Austen’s novels. As Fanny Price insists in Mansfield Park, “that would be exercise only to my body, and I must take care of my mind.”

What is the most surprising/useful habit that those living in Austen’s era abided by for health?

The most surprising aspect of Austen’s wellness program is her insistence that a healthy diet includes far more than just food – that it relies on a daily dose of nature, too. Things like fresh air, sunlight, trees, good clean dirt and sea breezes are practically treated like vitamins in her fiction, routinely prescribed to any character in need of a body reboot. And though I used to (shamefully) think Austen had gone a wee bit too far with her love for nature – note Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice, at one point, prefers “rocks and mountains” to actual men – thanks to new and growing support from modern science, it is now an essential part of my own wellness walk with Jane, and one I cannot live without.

*****

About the author:

Bryan Kozlowski is a passionate champion of “lit wit” – bringing the wisdom of classic literature into everyday life. From Jane Austen to Charles Dickens to children’s cookbooks, his books celebrate the modern magic of living literarily. His works have appeared in Vogue, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He graduated valedictorian from The Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he fell in love with British food history, and interned at Saveur food magazine before setting off on the writing path.

About the book:

Bryan KozlowskiThe Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness

Turner Publishing, 2019
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN: 978-1684422128

If you have any questions for Bryan, please comment below.

Thank you Bryan for sharing your new book with us! I am heading out now for my daily walk knowing Jane would heartily approve!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen and Astley’s Amphitheatre ~ What She Saw…

Dear Readers: Here is an update to the Astley’s Amphitheatre bit I mentioned in yesterday’s “Pemberley Post” – our esteemed co-regional coordinator for the Vermont region (Hope) was by complete coincidence doing some research in the 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers and found some relevant tidbits to add to our understanding of Astley’s and what Jane Austen might have exactly seen – Hope left a comment on the blog post, but I have put it in here as its own post in order to see some of the newspaper images to best advantage…

*****

Austen mentions Astley’s in a letter to Cassandra on 23 August 1796:

“Edward and Frank are both gone out to seek their fortunes; the latter is to return soon and help us seek ours. The former we shall never see again. We are to be at Astley’s to-night, which I am glad of.”

And in Emma: He [Robert Martin] delivered these papers to John, at his chambers, and was asked by him to join their party the same evening to Astley’s. They were going to take the two eldest boys to Astley’s… and in the next chapter: Harriet was most happy to give every particular of the evening at Astley’s, and the dinner the next day…

*****

From Hope:

What a coincidence. I was just looking in an online newspaper database from that period and had noticed some Astley’s news. So, I looked up the dates around Jane’s letter [August 23, 1796, Letter 3]. Astley’s changed their program every Monday (for Tuesday’s performance). If Jane had read the advertisements Tuesday morning for the performance that night she would have seen that the program included:

The West India Heroic Spectacle, Mechanical Fireworks, Hydraulic Devices, a new comic ballad by Mr. Johannot, called “The Nine Musical Taylors, or, A Sure way to get rich (arranged, compiled, written and composed by Mr. Astley, Sen.), Mr. Johannot also singing New Cries of London (also by Mr. Astley, Sen.), a Pantomimical Dance (composed by Mr. West) called “New Wheat; or, The Mill’s Agoing, a new dance called The Provincial Sailors, Chemical experiments with Signor Romaldo, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Equestrian activities as a Minuet by two horses, a Hornpipe by another, and a variety of military pantomimes, all concluding with a Grand Pantomime “The Magician of the Alps” with a “most beautiful  and magnificent Aerial Vertical Colonnade and Brilliant Transparent Celestial Temple, the whole of which are in motion.”

– Attendees were adjured to arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 and could, if they so desired, send their servants in at 5:00 to save their seats as long as they had spoken first with Mrs. Connell.

– Tickets cost 4s for Boxes, 2s if space available after 8:00; 2s. For Pit, 1s as available after 8:00; and 1s. for the Gallery, 6d after 8:00.
– Jane may have also compared her reaction to the show with some “reviews” touting the fine entertainment to be had at Astley’s, or even have learned that on the same day she went, the traveling version of the show, led by “Young Astley” was playing in Manchester to great acclaim, Manchester being filled with troops preparing for a review two days hence.

1) Morning Chronicle (London, England), Friday, August 19, 1796; Issue 8380. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.


****

A similar notice appeared in:

2) Morning Post and Fashionable World (London, England), Friday, August 19, 1796; Issue 7625. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

***

3) Another can be found in Times (London, England), Friday, August 19, 1796; Issue 3666. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

4) St. James’s Chronicle or the British Evening Post (London, England), August 20, 1796 – August 23, 1796; Issue 6033. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.


Note that this one announces some changes to the program, including the intriguing notice that: “Ballad Singer, Mr. JOHANNOT, who will sing the NEW CRIES of LONDON; written and composed by Mr. Astley, Sen.”

***

5) Those changes were also duly noted in:

Whitehall Evening Post (1770) (London, England), August 20, 1796 – August 23, 1796; Issue 7168. (2949 words). 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

In slightly abbreviated form in:

Times (London, England), Monday, August 22, 1796; Issue 3668. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

6) On the morning that Austen mentions they will be going to Astley’s, they could have found the latest version with the above changes at:

– Daily Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, August 23, 1796; Issue 21131. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.
– Oracle and Public Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, August 23, 1796; Issue 19 407. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.
– Star (London, England), Tuesday, August 23, 1796; Issue 2504. (2372 words). 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

Throughout the year reviewers made sure to mention the fact that Astley changed the program every week, and to praise the results. Here are some examples.

7) True Briton (1793) (London, England), Saturday, August 20, 1796; Issue 1140. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

***

8) Star (London, England), Tuesday, August 23, 1796; Issue 2504. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

***

9) True Briton (1793) (London, England), Tuesday, August 23, 1796; Issue 1142. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

***

10) And this one, referring to the end of that week’s program:

***

11) Meanwhile, from Manchester, we learn that:
Star (London, England), Saturday, August 27, 1796; Issue 2508. 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

The same “letter” also appears in:
Star (London, England), Saturday, August 27, 1796; Issue 2508. (1080 words). 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

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

Thank you Hope for all this information – certainly proof that Astley’s was as great a source of entertainment as it was of journalistic interest!

17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers is housed at the British Library and is available through Gale Cengage on a subscription basis – your library might have access.

c2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 8 (Feb 18-24, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Welcome to my weekly round-up: from amorous footmen to Dickens’s shoddy treatment of his wife, the upstanding Mr. Knightley, and dieting with Jane; with further thoughts on the taxation of dogs, the Mona Lisa, dust jackets and Austen’s Sanditon – can one have a life without knowing all this??

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

A new journal to be launched in April: The Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research‘s enthusiastic PhD students have just launched a fabulous new online, Open Access peer reviewed journal called Romance, Revolution and Reform: https://www.rrrjournal.com/

**

If you’ve been watching Victoria on Masterpiece (and you should be…), here’s a real-life tale along the lines of The Footman and the Duchess: “The Amorous Footman”: https://penandpension.com/2019/02/20/the-case-of-the-amorous-footman/

****

Mrs. Dickens (image: TLS)

So, it’s common knowledge now that Dickens left his wife for another woman – Ellen Tiernan the actress (fabulous book on this by Claire Tomalin: The Invisible Woman – if you have not read this, go out and buy it right now) – but letters recently discovered and studied by Professor John Bowen reveal that Dickens tried, like so many other men who had strayed and wanted out, to have his wife Catherine declared insane and institutionalized…https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/dickens-letters-asylum/

  • and also this at the Smithsonian:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/newly-analyzed-trove-letters-charles-dickens-180971545/

Harvard University [Image: University of York]

And more on Dickens (he loved decorating his home, worked from home, had no musical talent, etc…): https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/facts-charles-dickens-writer-children-family-home/

*****

Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries (Image: Spitalfields Life)

Lovely images – Cries of London: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/22/aunt-busy-bees-new-london-cries-x/

****

An archived Austenonly post on Mr. Knightley, Magistrate: https://austenonly.com/2010/01/25/austen-only-emma-season-mr-knightley-magistrate/

New book out on Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness, by Bryan Kozlowski. See the Jane Austen VOGUE (of all places!) for an article on the author, the book, and Jane as a nutritionist! (lots of meat, lots of walking…)

***

Ever wonder why the Mona Lisa is so famous?? (I wonder about this every day…) – here’s the answer: http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/how-the-mona-lisa-went-from-being-barely-known-to-suddenly-the-most-famous-painting-in-the-world-1911.html

For you Bard-Lovers out there (and who isn’t?), how about starting a Shakespeare Book Club? https://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2019/02/19/shakespeare-book-clubs-austin-tichenor/

 

Into Dust Jackets? – here is an old essay in Publishers Weekly about a book on jackets from 1920-1970, published in 2017: (great covers here – even one by NC Wyeth): https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/75327-11-beautiful-vintage-book-covers.html

***

A Cook Book we should all have, recently catalogued at the Lewis Walpole Library: https://lewiswalpole.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/the-complete-house-keeper-and-professed-cook/

Smith, Mary, of Newcastle. The complete house-keeper, and professed cook : calculated for the greater ease and assistance of ladies, house-keepers, cooks, &c. &c. : containing upwards of seven hundred practical and approved receipts … / by Mary Smith …Newcastle: Printed by T. Slack, for the author, 1772.

You can read it all here: https://archive.org/details/b21527404/page/n5

***

Well, since we just got a dog (our 5th Springer Spaniel), I can’t resist passing this on from All Things Georgian – we all know of some of the ridiculous taxes imposed on the Georgians (think windows, candles, hair powder, and wallpaper, to name a few), but this one took forever to pass and was difficult to implement: Parliament going to the Dogs we could say:

https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/taxing-of-dogs-in-the-eighteenth-century/

Hayman, Francis; A Hound, a Spaniel and a Pug (A Portrait of a Mastiff); Norfolk Museums Service

***

And because we always have to end with Jane: here are the wildly anticipated first photos of the filming of Andrew Davies’ Sanditon, Austen’s unfinished manuscript giving little direction with the plot and nearly no info on the possible Hero – so from what we DO know, who are these people??

https://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/itv-jane-austen-drama-sanditon-filmed-brean-beach/

[Theo James here – do hope he is Sidney Parker, who I believe IS the Hero…] – your thoughts?? [image from Burnham-on-the-sea.com]

Have a good week all – send me your favorite finds on the internet!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 7 (Feb 11-17, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Various finds this past week on the ever-amazing internet, from Dickens to Tolkein, Marie Antoinette to The Devil in the White City, and Robert Louis Stevenson to Gretna Green …. enjoy the reading journey!

*******

A study of the largest private library of Anglophone women’s writing collected in the nineteenth century: https://stainforth.scu.edu/

-Francis John Stainforth (1797-1866), an Anglican clergyman, collected a unique private library during the mid-nineteenth century. His library catalog lists 7,726 editions (8,804 volumes) authored and edited by 3,721 writers, nearly all of whom are women – but alas! No Jane Austen!

An old article on Dickens and his London (my favorite topic): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-charles-dickens-saw-london-13198155/

Also not new – Devoney Looser writes on S&S: “Sense or Sensibility: What if Jane Austen Had to Choose.” This is an excerpt from her introduction to the 2018 Penguin Classics edition of S&S. https://lithub.com/sense-or-sensibility-what-if-jane-austen-had-to-choose/

The best of Edward Gorey’s book jackets:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/cover-story-edward-goreys-best-book-jackets?ref=scroll

This is fascinating: Darwin’s children doodles on the manuscript of The Origin of Species: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/06/charles-darwin-children-doodles-origin-of-species/

  • Then again, maybe the doodles weren’t from Darwin’s children at all. A gentleman on one of the listservs I subscribe to suggests the drawings are those of the children of Joseph Dalton Hooker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dalton_Hooker
  • an academic conundrum – and example perhaps of scholars trading assumptions for statements of fact and how that can muddle the truth…

You all know this already, but Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City is being made into a Hulu TV series with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers – will DiCaprio star in one of the roles do you think?? The architect or the evil Doctor?? This book had completely freaked me out when I read it back in 2003 – the story is frightful enough, but Holmes, the serial killer, ended up in Burlington Vermont on the same street where I lived!’- thankfully 100 years before, but still…. I was reading it late at night, read that bit, screamed like a banshee, scared my sleeping husband half to death – neighbors surely thought another murder was taking place… We read this for my book group – one woman could only read the chapters about the fair, completely skipped over the nasty doings – and ok to do really – the story of the fair and its architect is fascinating in itself.

Speaking of nasty – I’ve never been able to take those Victorian hair works of art – totally creeps me out – here’s a great article on them: https://www.messynessychic.com/2018/01/24/the-lost-art-of-victorian-human-hair-shrines/

-Years ago a friend and I visited the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington CT – of course there was a framed Victorian hair art on the wall – it all struck us funny and we started giggling and could not stop – spent the entire tour of the house not so quietly making a scene – I do not think I am allowed back…and all because of that creepy hair…

Well, this just makes me sad: https://abc7chicago.com/rare-books-stolen-from-pennsylvania-bookstore/5137379/

  • Let’s hope they find fingerprints they can identify on that perfume bottle!
  • The hardest thing for me as a bookstore owner was the theft of books – always done by someone who knew the shop and certainly knew the value of what he/she was sneaking off with – I lost some very valuable titles over the years – in many ways, it finally did me in with having an open shop…

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

Want to understand purchasing power for any given year, 1270 – 2017? Go to this currency converter at the National Archives [UK]: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/

****

One of the few children’s books I collect is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses: the Library of Congress has a write-up about the iconic 1895 edition illustrated by Charles Robinson: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2019/02/rare-books-a-childs-garden-of-verses/?loclr=earare

***

Cast of the now-filming Sanditon series has been announced: https://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/itv-and-red-planet-pictures-announce-cast-filming-commences-jane-austens-sanditon

A review of Kate Hamill’s Vanity Fair: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/theater/vanity-fair-broadway-review-kate-hamill-eric-tucker.html

Valentine’s Day brought out many posts on Romance, etc:

Learn about the Map of Matrimony from the University of St. Andrews Special Collections: https://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/compass-of-the-heart-following-the-map-of-matrimony-on-st-valentines-day/

***

The Art of Book Covers at the Public Domain Review:
https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-art-of-book-covers-1820-1914/

The first and last loves of J. M. W. Turner, courtesy of the “Untold Lives” blog:

*******

George Raper – Waratah, 1789

With thanks to Philobiblos, I link here to the National Library of New Zealand’s Alexander Turnbull Library now digitized drawings of George Raper’s (1769-1797) birds, animals and flowers: https://tiaki.natlib.govt.nz/#details=ecatalogue.58515

***

Hobbit lovers, head to the Morgan for their grand exhibit on Tolkien, through May 2019: https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/tolkien

And finally, Sotheby’s gives us “The Most Expensive Old Master Female Artist”: https://www.barnebys.com/blog/the-most-expensive-female-old-master-elisabeth-vigee-le-brun/

Portrait of Muhammad Dervish Khan, Elisabeth-Louise Vigee Le Brun. 1788

A painting by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, the 18th / 19th century portrait artist mostly noted for her paintings of Marie Antoinette, has reached the highest auction sale price for a female artist – $7.2 million!

Marie Antoinette

[This painting caused quite a stir: Marie Antoinette in a Muslin Dress – alas! she was in muslin, not the proper regal attire suitable for a Queen…]

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 6 (Feb 4-10, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More…!

This week finds me jumping from Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Fanny Austen, to crazy bibliophiles, Rossetti’s wombats, the Coloring craze, Princess Margaret, and on to London, muons (whatever they are…), and more of course – it’s a mad world of information out there…

A new website and blog by Sheila Johnson Kindred, where she will explore Jane Austen’s naval world. Kindred is the author of Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen: https://www.sheilajohnsonkindred.com/

*

This made me laugh: always great stuff on The Londonist

https://londonist.com/london/outside-london/london-paris-comparison

*

The Yale Law School Library has a new exhibit on its rare bindings: https://library.law.yale.edu/news/new-exhibit-legally-binding-fine-and-historic-bindings-yale-law-library

*

So, who doesn’t love a wombat?! https://publicdomainreview.org/2019/01/10/how-the-pre-raphaelites-became-obsessed-with-the-wombat/

Image: Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s frontispiece, complete with wombat, for his sister Christina’s long poem Goblin Market

*

A new blog on Early Modern Female Book Ownership (how nice we were allowed to have books…): https://earlymodernfemalebookownership.wordpress.com/

Frances Wolfreston

-which led me to this: https://franceswolfrestonhorbouks.com/, a blog by Sarah Lindenbaum, who is seeking to reconstruct the book collection of Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677), a gentrywoman from the English midlands with an expansive library; over 200 books have been identified thus far.

*
Have you gotten caught up in the coloring book craze? Here’s some history: it’s nothing new – https://publicdomainreview.org/2019/02/06/filling-in-the-blanks-a-prehistory-of-the-adult-coloring-craze/

Image: The page from the University of Oklahoma’s colored version of Leonhart Fuchs’ De historia stirpium commentarii insignes

This is an example of how finding one interesting link leads to more and you might never get up from your desk again…

-The Folger also is into the coloring craze: Color Our Collections (was available to download Feb 4-8, 2019): https://folgerpedia.folger.edu/Color_Our_Collections?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ShakespearePlus6Feb2019&utm_content=version_A&promo=

–…which leads you to the Folgers whole collection of British Book Illustrations from the 17th century:
https://britishbookillustrations.folger.edu/?_ga=2.137070000.1247254353.1549814122-1754199278.1548275325#explore

—…which leads you to this illustration from the color week in 2017: Louis Rhead, Romeo & Juliet, for Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb—-and then back to #colorourcollections on twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23colorourcollections&src=tyah

—–and on to facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/search/str/%23colorourcollections/keywords_search?epa=SEARCH_BOX

I’m exhausted and I haven’t even begun to color yet…

Back to Jane, for a minute: A nice review of the latest Pride and Prejudice redo, Unmarriageable, set this time in Pakistan: https://writergurlny.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/unmarriageable-a-novel-book-review/

*

The Museum of London has acquired an 1815 panorama of London painted by Pierre Prévost; Kelly McDonald on her Two Teens in the Time of Austen blog writes all about it: https://smithandgosling.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/jane-austens-london-1815/

*

A new exhibit at the V&A on Christian Dior: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/dior-designer-of-dreams – and https://secretldn.com/inside-va-dior-exhibition/

The exhibit includes Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress – read more at this Smithsonian article:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/princess-margarets-iconic-21st-birthday-dress-goes-displaystains-and-all-180971404/

*

 

A new chamber in the Great Pyramid? If you know what a “muon” is, you might know that the use of muon technology has revealed an as yet undiscovered chamber in the Great Pyramid, where remaining treasures may lie: https://blog.oup.com/2019/02/power-mysterious-muon/

*

Here’s a bit of a head-scratcher: with thanks to Tony Grant:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/transcribe-old-documents-unreadable-handwriting

The article shows a letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra that Ms. Watson has transcribed; but she states: “You can actually see how they have changed their manuscript – how Jane Austen changed Pride and Prejudice as she’s writing it… That blows my mind a bit. You see it, and you think – that’s so much better after she’s edited it than before.”

Well, I’m sorry but as far as I know there are no manuscripts of Pride and Prejudice, or any of the other 5 novels other than the cancelled chapters of Persuasionso this is very interesting if she has been transcribing a P&P manuscript??

      An 1800 letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra

You can see and read all of Austen’s actual fiction manuscripts here: https://janeausten.ac.uk/index.html

*

And finally, for your reading pleasure – I love finding something rather obscure: https://www.victoriansecrets.co.uk/book/dorotheas-daughter-and-other-nineteenth-century-postscripts/

“Dorothea’s Daughter is a stunning new collection of short stories based on novels by Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy. They are postscripts, rather than sequels, entering into dialogues with the original narratives by developing suggestions in the text. The authors’ conclusions are respected, with no changes made to the plot; instead, Barbara Hardy draws out loose threads in the original fabric to weave new material, imagining moments in the characters’ future lives.”

The stories are:

  • Twilight in Mansfield Parsonage (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)
  • Mrs Knightley’s Invitation (Emma by Jane Austen)
  • Adèle Varens (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
  • Lucy Snowe and Paulina Bretton: the Conversation of Women (Villette by Charlotte Brontë)
  • Edith Dombey and Son (Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens)
  • Harriet Beadle’s Message (Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens)
  • Lucy Deane (The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot)
  • Dorothea’s Daughter (Middlemarch by George Eliot)
  • ’Liza-Lu Durbeyfield (Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy)

Has anyone read this? It was first published in 2011. I’ve just ordered it and will let you know my thoughts…

Thanks for visiting… and Happy Reading…

ps: just a note as to why I leave in the full url of each link: if an imbedded link goes bad or far off into cyberspace, it is easier to find it if you have the details in the url – it doesn’t look as pretty, sorry to say, but more helpful in the end..

C2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 5 (Jan 28-Feb 3, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

The Week of January 28 – Feb 3, 2019: all manner of things from Rembrandt, Vauxhall Gardens, drinking in London, to Thomas Jefferson’s books, Suffragettes, and Jane Austen, of course…

The Londonist shares London’s weird drinking traditions: http://londonist.com/london/drink/london-s-weirdest-drinking-traditions?rel=handpicked

Twelfth Night: A blend of ancient midwinter customs and contemporary festivity occurs each January on Bankside. Things kick off outside Shakespeare’s Globe with the Holly Man — the winter guise of the Green Man spotted across the nation’s pubs. He’s decked out in wonderful foliage and accompanied by the devil Beelzebub and other eccentrically-dressed associates who join together to Wassail (or toast) the people.

*********

Feel like brushing up on your Shakespeare this winter? Find an online course here: http://www.openculture.com/2014/04/free-online-shakespeare-courses.html

A little known fact: I LOVED Superman as a kid – spend my weekly allowance at the down-the-street soda fountain to get the latest issue (so sad I didn’t keep them) – some original movie posters will appear in a Sothebys online auction in March, superheroes included, including my favorite: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2019/posters-sale-l19900.html?locale=en

A nice plug for the Juvenilia Press:
https://trevorcairney.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-early-work-of-great-writers.html

The BBC’s ICONS – “Exploring the achievements of the greatest figures of the 20th century. The public vote for their favourites, ultimately deciding who is the greatest icon of them all.” – you can read about it and see the results as voted by the public here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0by86tp

**

One of my best memories of touring through Europe as a college student (MANY years ago) was seeing Rembrandt’s The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – I knew the painting from the required art history class, but was still awed by its size. Two years ago I saw it again and reverted to those long ago days of awe – you can now see it and understand it as never before in this interactive documentary that analyzes the painting: https://nightwatchexperience.com/en/thema/geheimen

[With thanks to Tony Grant for this] – More on the ebay-found album of Austen’s Irish relatives – many pictures here – the owner and now the journal reside in Jerusalem: https://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-womans-victorian-photo-album-is-surprise-historical-jane-austen-find/

Image: Wedding at Chawton House, England in 1865 of Elizabeth Knight (great-niece of Jane Austen to Capt. Edward Bradford, who lost his arm in a tiger attack and later became the head of the Metropolitan police. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI, © Karen Ievers)

Tony has posted about the letters on his blog London Calling (with the album owner commenting): http://general-southerner.blogspot.com/2019/01/jane-austen-family-photograph-album.html#comment-form

You should be registering for the Jane Austen Summer Program at Chapel Hill, NC – “Pride and Prejudice & its Afterlives”- Thursday-Sunday, June 20-23, 2019 – look here for the schedule: https://janeaustensummer.org/about/

*

Clerkenwell workhouse – wikipedia

All Things Georgian relates a tale that would make a riveting historical fiction read: ‘A mysterious stranger in Regency Clerkenwell’https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/who-was-she-a-mysterious-stranger-in-regency-clerkenwell/

Vauxhall Gardens

*

An informative look at Vauxhall Gardens in the Regency Period: https://www.regencyhistory.net/2019/01/vauxhall-gardens-in-regency.html

*

See the Museum of London exhibitions on Votes for Women before they close: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/votes-women-museum-london?series=Votes%20for%20Women

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

Faith sites to visit in Austen’s England: https://brendascox.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/jane-austen-travel-faith-sites-in-austens-england/

Heckfield Place – a new luxury getaway in Hampshire, northeast of Basingstoke: https://www.heckfieldplace.com/ – see here for a review: http://bonvivant.co.uk/journal/heckfield-place/ – The room I like best is £2000 / nite…

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


For hours of viewing pleasure – Thomas Jefferson’s Library at the Library of Congress:
https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/thomas-jeffersons-library/index.html

A book in Jefferson’s library: The Uncertainly of the Signs of Death… “Because of this book, fear of being buried alive became widespread in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though modern scholars believe it rarely happened.” Good to know…

***

Embroidery/Spot motif sampler. Unidentified Maker. circa 1620.

Samplers from the Fitzwilliam Museum: https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/gallery/sampledlives

***

Well, this is just plain fascinating – a Victorian literary gentleman, William Sharp, “a Scottish poet, novelist, biographer and editor who in 1893 began to write critically and commercially successful books under the name “Fiona Macleod.” He also corresponded with “her” and you can read these letters here, thanks to OpenBookPublishers [the pdf download is free]: https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product.php/793?793

***

Pick your favorite from these terrific images of “Fat Cats in the City [London], 1824” at Spitalfields Life: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/01/fat-cats-in-the-city-1824/

Abebooks most expensive books sold in 2018: https://www.abebooks.com/collectibles/most-expensive-sales/2018/?cm_sp=home-_-tile_2_12_cta-_-2018mostexp

  • Alas, no Austen, but a Hemingway, Dickens, L. M. Montgomery, Narnia, and Mickey Mouse…

And to top this all off – a new Austen youtube “Jane Austen – Sarcasm and Subversion – Extra History”:

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

A very short reading list: Books I am reading / have just finished:

David McCullough’s The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris – fabulous, impressive, extraordinary lives.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, by Imogen Hermes Gowar – interesting, and a great setting in 1780s London, which I can never get enough of – Reminded me of The Essex Serpent – would like to discuss with someone…

The great biographer Claire Tomalin’s own biography: A Life of My Own – loved this book, love all her biographies

Vanity Fair, by the wordy Thackeray – for a Jane Austen book group – I confess to never having read it, though Becky Sharp is part of anyone’s knowledge if interested in Heroines (good and bad ones)

Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals) by Alyssa Cole – I read this because it was on many lists of best books of 2018 – I don’t know why – someone explain this to me…

and finally, The Blue, by Nancy Bilyeau (I’m reading this because I am also reading the South Carolina based The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd – in my humble opinion, one cannot get enough of the color blue…)

 

c2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

 

 

JASNA-Vermont ~ Next Meeting! September 16, 2018 with Dr. Cheryl Kinney on “Persuasion”

cover-P-OxfordYou are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s September Meeting 

Celebrating 200 Years of Persuasion with 

Dr. Cheryl Kinney*

Persuasion: Engineered Injury” 

Sunday, 16 September 2018, 1 -3 pm

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

********

C. E. Brock, ‘Persuasion’ (Dent, 1898)
[Mollands.net]

By examining the various injuries and illnesses in the novel (think Anne’s “loss of bloom and spirits;” Mary’s “always worse than anybody’s” sore throats; Louisa “taken up lifeless” on the Cobb pavement; and more), Dr, Kinney will show how Jane Austen uses these bodily changes to expose the moral worth and inner nature of her characters. The talk also reviews the changes that were occurring in Regency medicine and how Jane Austen’s interaction with doctors influenced her writing.

~ Free & open to the public ~
~ Light refreshments served
 ~ 

For more information:   JASNAVTregion@gmail.com /
Please visit our blog at: http://JaneAustenInVermont.blog 

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

*Dr. Kinney is a gynecologist in Dallas, Texas, listed in “Best Doctors in America” since 2001, named by the Consumer’s Research Council as one of “America’s Top Obstetricians and Gynecologists” yearly since 2002, and chosen as a “Texas Super Doctor” by her peers for the last eleven years. She is on several medical-related boards and has lectured around the world on issues relating to gynecology. But also, and lucky for us, she has been very involved in the Jane Austen Society of North America, both at the national and regional level, and has spoken in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom on health and sickness in the novels of Jane Austen and other 18th and 19th century British authors.

Hope you can join us!
~~

Upcoming meeting: Dec. 2, 2018: Annual Birthday Brunch / Tea, with Prof. Anna Battigelli (SUNY-Plattsburgh) on “Landscapes and Soundscapes in Jane Austen’s Narratives”

c2018 Jane Austen in Vermont