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/

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This made me laugh: always great stuff on The Londonist

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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

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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.

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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

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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/

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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

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

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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

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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…

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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…

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

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

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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

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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”:

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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

 

 

The Pemberley Post No. 4 (Jan 21-27, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

This week’s stash…

“Becoming Americans” at Charleston Museum tells the story of Charleston’s role in the American Revolution – including several artifacts of Francis Marion,The Swamp Fox”: https://www.charlestonmuseum.org/exhibits/permanent/3/becoming-americans

– Also the temporary fashion exhibit on 150 years of Charleston’s children fashions… https://www.charlestonmuseum.org/exhibits/current/40/yesterday-in-microfashion

For all you lovers of mysteries with lady sleuths: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/secret-history-girl-detective-180958311/

The ever-interesting Ladies of Llangollen – as essay at the Wellcome Collection: https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/WqewRSUAAB8sVaKN (with thanks to Kelly!)

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I LOVED Beowulf when studying medieval literature in graduate school – time for a re-read (I still have my copy!), inspired by this: https://medievalfleming.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/ethel-sweet-ethel-weard-the-first-scribe-of-the-beowulf-manuscript/

  • This totally depressed me: the author of the essay writes: “I recently realized that ethel / ᛟ, the word and rune, have been appropriated by white supremacists and neo-nazis.”
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The Rice Portrait of “Jane Austen” is back in the news with more concrete evidence that it IS our Jane: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/23/jane-austen-family-say-note-establishes-disputed-portraits-identity?fbclid=IwAR2xPLDjX280sOpAtlKK_NOOr2MARgV8TiY0dl4bc4Um45OlSsmH8JRSPFg

The perfect winter repast – the Folger on an early recipe for hot chocolate: https://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2019/01/15/the-american-nectar-william-hughess-hot-chocolate/

Always a good idea to check your attic: any Caravaggios? https://www.barnebys.com/blog/design/rediscovered-caravaggio-to-be-auctioned-this-spring/17550

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The Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature (at the University of Florida) – over 6,000 titles available online! http://ufdc.ufl.edu/juv

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Alexander Hamilton’s doctor and America’s first Botanic Garden: https://publicdomainreview.org/2019/01/24/flower-power-hamiltons-doctor-and-the-healing-power-of-nature/

Know what a “calenderer” did? No, I didn’t either – now you will: https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/find-out-more-about-the-job-of-a-calenderer-in-the-18th-century/

“Nell Gwynn” at the Folger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfrjRSpR0XU&t=16s

…and a review at The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/theater-dance/jessica-swales-historical-comedy-aims-to-restore-nell-gwynns-luster/2019/01/23/0a934558-1d9e-11e9-8e21-59a09ff1e2a1_story.html

Vic at Jane Austen’s World on the benefits of chamomile tea: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/chamomile-tea-a-tisane/

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Design for GPO telephone kiosk number 2: plan, elevations and section

Sir John Soane and the iconic British telephone box:
https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-tomb-and-the-telephone-box-soanes-mausoleum-1816/

Jane Austen’s contemporary Marie Edgeworth – all but forgotten, and that’s too bad…: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/maria-edgeworth-was-a-great-literary-celeb-why-has-been-forgotten-1.3760188

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My new favorite how-to-waste-hours-of-your-life website: http://www.romanticlondon.org/

What has been your favorite find this past week?

c2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 2 (Jan 8-14, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

My round-up of the past week – so much of interest, from Dolley Madison to Vermont’s State House to Mike Myers!

Celebrating Rembrandt: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/the-year-of-rembrandt?&utm_campaign=uitnodiging&utm_medium=email&utm_source=20190107_Cultuurtoerist_ENG_jan

Jane Austen’s moving poem on the death of her friend Madam [Anne] Lefroy: https://interestingliterature.com/2019/01/07/to-the-memory-of-mrs-lefroy-who-died-decr-16-my-birthday-a-poem-by-jane-austen/

A Jane Austen £10 note on ebay – for £49! (others available also at various prices)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LUCKY-10-NOTE-JANE-AUSTEN-TEN-POUND-BIRTHDAY-ANNIVERSARY-31-08-61-AUGUST-1961/323639434583?hash=item4b5a69dd57:g:eiwAAOSwGW9apceW:rk:11:pf:0

“How Dolley Madison Conquered the Nation’s Capital (with great images): https://www.montpelier.org/learn/dolley-madison-becoming-americas-first-lady

Mrs. Madison’s drawing room [image: Montpelier]

Another First Lady – Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming is the highest selling print book of 2018, and it was just released in mid-November! https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/78941-becoming-is-top-selling-title-in-2018.html

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The Broom Brigade (there were several in Vermont – who knew??): https://www.revolvy.com/page/Broom-brigade%20/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broom_brigade

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More Vermont: the Ceres statue stop the State House in Montpelier:

Ceres statue [image: ‘Vermont Woman’]

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London’s Gentlemen’s Clubs: https://londonist.com/london/drink/the-curious-world-of-london-s-gentlemen-s-clubs

Image: Image: The Gaming House, A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth. An early depiction of White’s which was at this time a notorious gambling den [Londonist]

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A Guardian review of one of 2018’s best books – also has the hero immersed in Emma (how many real men are out there immersed in Emma I wonder…): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/08/normal-people-sally-rooney-novel-literary-phenomenon-of-decade

A rare Monet to be auctioned for the first time! (with an estimate of $25-$35 million) – https://www.barnebys.com/blog/art/a-rare-claude-monet-landscape-goes-to-auction/17395/

A terrific book at Open Access on Victorian newspapers and periodicals: A Fleet Street in Every Town: The Provincial Press in England, 1855-1900, by Andrew Hobbs – https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product/835 [the pdf is a free download, all 470 pages!] – Hobbs has also set up a twitter account where he will post diary excerpts daily: https://twitter.com/HewitsonDiaries

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Birds of America – one of the world’s rarest books by the 19thc American artist and ornithologist John James Audubon has gone on display at Liverpool Central Library, with a “Mission Impossible”-like scenario to get it there! https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-merseyside-46820378/rare-audubon-bird-book-displayed-at-liverpool-library

The Frankenstein exhibit at the Morgan Library ends January 27, 2019: https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/frankenstein

Also at the Morgan online: two of Humphry Repton’s redbooks are available for your viewing pleasure: https://www.themorgan.org/collection/Humphry-Reptons-Red-Books

Repton Redbook [image: Morgan]

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Who knew? During a pre-Golden Globes auction, Mike Myers matched a £40,000 bid to split the prize of staying at Heckfield Place in Hampshire to get the ‘Jane Austen’ experience.’ See https://www.heckfieldplace.com/ – the story is here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/8174350/man-utd-julia-roberts-qatar-world-cup-tickets/

January 13, 2019 7pm on PBS “I Hate Jane Austen,” with British columnist Giles Coren: http://www.gpb.org/blogs/mygpb/2019/01/11/whats-new-next-week-january-11-2019 [I’ve taped this but haven’t watched it yet – if you have, tell me what you think…]

The all-over-the-press account of the Austen family photos found in an album on ebay: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6580879/Extraordinary-photos-Jane-Austens-family-discovered.html

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Edward Hicks, Peaceable Kingdon [image: Wikipedia]

Edward Hicks’ “Peaceable Kingdom” paintings at Christie’s: https://www.christies.com/features/Edward-Hicks-The-Peaceable-Kingdom-9632-3.aspx?sc_lang=en&cid=EM_EMLcontent04144A60D_1&cid=DM265864&bid=162201602

A collection of the wacky and weird, long before P. T. Barnum – Kirby’s Eccentric Museum, with thanks to The Gentle Author at “Spitalfields Life” (excellent images – one weirder than the next…): http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/01/12/kirbys-eccentric-museum/

The beginnings of Bibliotourism: put your Library on here! https://libraryplanet.net/

A Slave Bible [heavily edited] on view at the Museum of the Bible: https://museumofthebible.org/exhibits/slave-bible

Slave Bible – Smithsonian

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And again from “Spitalfields Life” – Christopher Wren’s model of St. Paul’s Cathedral – awesome pictures! I had no idea this was there! http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/01/13/inside-the-model-of-st-pauls-x/

Literary penguins! (Guess which Austen Hero gets his own penguin…): https://maryland.ourcommunitynow.com/baltimore/maryland-zoo-names-baby-penguins-after-literary-characters/

Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 14.2 (Fall 2018) is now online: http://www.ncgsjournal.com/issue142/issue142.htm

I have long collected Robert Sabuda’s delightful pop-up books [ http://robertsabuda.com/ ]– but here’s a new entry into the Pop-Up world – by Lego! https://shop.lego.com/en-US/product/Pop-Up-Book-21315

Happy Reading!

2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

Guest Post: Into the Shadowy World of “Regency Spies” ~ Sue Wilkes on The Cato Street Controversy

Join us today for a guest post by Sue Wilkes, as she shares one of her spy tales from her new book Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain’s Rebels & Revolutionaries (more information on the book below).

reg spies highrescover1

The Cato Street Conspiracy, 1820

The year 1820 began with grave news – the death of George III on 29 January, after years of illness. The King was buried a week later with great pomp and ceremony on 16 February. But his son George IV’s reign did not get off to a good start. A week later, news broke to an astounded British public of the arrest of ‘a gang of diabolical ruffians’ at Cato Street, in London. The conspirators, led by the ‘notorious’ Arthur Thistlewood, planned to kill members of the Cabinet (government ministers) while they dined at Earl Harrowby’s house in Mansfield Street (Gentleman’s Magazine, February 1820).

Arthur Thistlewood

This was no chance discovery, however. Thistlewood and his gang were well known to the authorities – the government’s spies had kept them under surveillance for years. Arthur Thistlewood, a brooding, dangerous man known to be deadly with a sword, led a group of revolutionaries called the ‘Spencean Philanthropists’.

The Spenceans were followers of the late Thomas Spence, who advocated the common ownership of all land – a truly anarchic idea in an unequal society rooted in land, wealth and property. Thistlewood first came to prominence in the Spa Fields riot of December 1816 in London. The riot was thought to be a ‘trial run’ by the Spenceans to see if they could get enough popular support to attack the Tower of London, Bank of England, and seize the city. Thistlewood and his friends were arrested and tried for treason the following year, but acquitted as most of the evidence against them was based on unreliable spy evidence.

After his release from prison, Thistlewood and his followers were constantly watched. In 1817 a spy called Shegoe reported, ‘They entertain the plan of assassination, and Lords Castlereagh, Sidmouth, Liverpool and Ellenborough have been marked as objects of their pursuit’. Some conspirators guessed that Shegoe was a spy, however, and his usefulness declined.

A new spy, George Edwards (code-name ‘W—r’ in the surveillance reports) infiltrated the gang and actively encouraged their plans. Edwards also recruited more conspirators: one of the people he ‘groomed’ was John Thomas Brunt, a shoe-maker. Another was Richard Tidd, who came from Thistlewood’s native Lincolnshire, and met Edwards through Brunt. Edwards’ actions and words were so ludicrously violent that several men he approached sent him packing, convinced that he was trying to entrap them.

Early in 1820, Edwards brought Thistlewood the news he had been waiting for: a Cabinet dinner was planned at Lord Harrowby’s house. Thistlewood and his gang rented a loft in Cato Street. They arranged to meet on Tuesday 22 February, bringing as many weapons as they could lay their hands on. But thanks to Edwards, the time and place for the planned assassination were already known to the police and Home Office. Everything was now set to nip the conspiracy in the bud.

Cato St execution - Newgate

On Monday 1 May 1820, Arthur Thistlewood, James Ings, John Thomas Brunt, Richard Tidd and William Davidson were executed guilty for high treason at Newgate. But was it really Thistlewood’s idea to kill the Cabinet – or was it the spy George Edwards’s plan, as Arthur claimed at his trial?

cato st gentmag may1820 exec1

An account of the death sentence passed by the judge, and the conspirators’ execution,
from the Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1820. (Author’s collection).

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About the book: [from the jacket]

reg spies highrescover1In her new book, Sue Wilkes reveals the shadowy world of Britain’s spies, rebels and secret societies from the late 1780s until 1820. Drawing on contemporary literature and official records, Wilkes unmasks the real conspirators and tells the tragic stories of the unwitting victims sent to the gallows.

In this ‘age of Revolutions’, when the French fought for liberty, Britain’s upper classes feared revolution was imminent. Thomas Paine’s incendiary Rights of Man called men to overthrow governments which did not safeguard their rights. Were Jacobins and Radical reformers in England and Scotland secretly plotting rebellion? Ireland, too, was a seething cauldron of unrest, its impoverished people oppressed by their Protestant masters.

Britain’s governing elite could not rely on the armed services – even Royal Navy crews mutinied over brutal conditions. To keep the nation safe, a ‘war chest’ of secret service money funded a network of spies to uncover potential rebels amongst the underprivileged masses. It had some famous successes: dashing Colonel Despard, friend of Lord Nelson, was executed for treason. Sometimes in the deadly game of cat-and-mouse between spies and their prey suspicion fell on the wrong men, like poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Even peaceful reformers risked arrest for sedition. Political meetings like Manchester’s ‘Peterloo’ were ruthlessly suppressed, and innocent blood spilt. Repression bred resentment – and a diabolical plot was born. The stakes were incredibly high: rebels suffered the horrors of a traitor’s death when found guilty. Some conspirators’ secrets died with them on the scaffold…

Sue Wilkes4About the author:

Sue Wilkes is the author of several works of social and family history: Regency Spies (Pen & Sword, 2016) and A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England (Pen & Sword, 2014), Regency Cheshire (Robert Hale, 2011), The Children History Forgot (Robert Hale, 2010), Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives (Tempus, 2007), as well as guides for family historians on tracing ancestors in various UK counties and towns.

Read her blogs at:

Book info:

Publisher: Pen and Sword (February 19, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1783400617 / ISBN-13: 978-1783400614
Price: $39.95 / £19.99
Pen & Sword: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Regency-Spies-Hardback/p/11177
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regency-Spies-Histories-Britains-Revolutionaries/dp/1783400617

Read another post by Sue here: Regency Explorer

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Thank you Sue for telling us about one your tales! This book is filled with such – I will be interviewing Sue in the coming weeks, so please return to learn more about this world of spies in Jane Austen’s time … my first question? Whatever would our dear Henry Tilney have to say about it all?!

NA-Brock-staircase-mollandsDear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open? Dearest Miss Morland, what ideas have you been admitting?”
[NA, Vol. II, Ch ix. Image: Mollands.net]

Image sources:

All four images from George Theodore Wilkinson, The Newgate Calendar Improved Vol. 5, (Thomas Kelly, 1836). Courtesy the Internet Archive, archive.org.

c2016, Jane Austen in Vermont

Guest Post ~ “Encountering Jane Austen…”

Governors house

My friend Suzanne is the Innkeeper at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vermont, where she four times a year holds Jane Austen Weekends for those of us who like to retreat into the early 19th century for a few days. She also offers an annual In-Character Weekend, where all manner of various Austen characters people the Inn and where one must remain in character for the whole time or risk being evicted… it is all in good fun, what with archery, and fencing, and quill-making and dancing and efforts to make bonnets and turbans , one easily forgets the call of the internet or the chatter of cell phones, and as long as a resident Lady Catherine or Mr. Collins, or a grave General Tilney do not ruin the festivities, one can really get quite lost in it all. One such weekend is coming up August 7-9, 2015 and you can read all about it here: Governor’s House-JA weekends.

But I write here today about Suzanne’s and my Love of London, discovered several years ago, and about which we have yet to stop talking… We have been there together, and alas! separately, and as she was in the UK this spring without me (I am struggling to forgive her…), I here offer a post that Suzanne wrote on her Innkeeper’s blog a few weeks ago about her latest trip and the rather alarming number of encounters she had with Jane Austen! – here is the first paragraph with a link to the rest of the post … a perfect trip for armchair travelers!

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Encountering Jane Austen

After a tough Vermont winter and a serious bout of flu what form of R and R would be good before getting back to the 24/7 business of running a small inn? As is so often the case, a little Jane Austen seemed like a good plan. I’d been noticing how amazingly often JA is mentioned in whatever I’m reading, from Mr. Churchill’s Secretary to a serious article in the Economist just last week. So I wondered how many encounters there might be as I did some walking in her part of England and decided to chronicle my adventures. And all I can say now is that it is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen truly is everywhere!

Day 1

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Arriving in London after an overnight flight, I immediately set out for a walk. First stop was Hatchard’s, England’s oldest bookshop founded in 1797. JA’s writings were well represented and it’s always a great place to look for guides to Regency London and places with literary ties, but the appeal for me is the list of authors who were also customers. Next stop was the National Portrait Gallery for “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends”, John Singer Sargent’s striking portraits of Monet, Rodin, Robert Louis Stevenson and others, but certainly not JA who’d lived a century earlier. But returning the long way down from the third floor ladies, I came to this wall of JA’s contemporaries surrounding the tiny portrait of her we know so well.

Day 2… Continue reading at Suzanne’s blog here: http://www.onehundredmain.com/encountering-jane-austen/

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You can read more about the In Character Jane Austen Weekend for August 7-9, 2015 here: http://www.onehundredmain.com/events/jane-austen-weekends/ – it is not too late to sign up to give the performance of your life, Mr. Collins anyone?? and all you closet Mrs. Allens (dare I say Mrs. Norris??) can come and rave about your fashions to your heart’s content…

Showing off the Regency style turbans they made that afternoon in Hope Greenberg’s workshop

Showing off the Regency style turbans they made that afternoon in Hope Greenberg’s workshop

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On another note of interest to members of JASNA-Vermont – Suzanne is hosting us at the Governor’s House for an Afternoon Tea on July 26, 2015, from 2-4, where we will hear my good friend Ingrid Graff speak on “A Home of Her Own: Space and Synthesis in Sense and Sensibility.” As a member of JASNA, Suzanne is offering us this Tea at minimal cost to us, $8. / per person – reservations are required, so please email or call – invitations are being emailed later today to all on our JASNA-Vermont mailing list. Hope to see many of you there!

[Images courtesy of Suzanne B. from her Governor’s House website]

c2015 Jane Austen in Vermont

Museum Musings: London During the American Revolution – Exhibit at The Society of the Cincinnati

The Society of the Cincinnati, at its headquarters at Anderson House in Washington DC, currently has on exhibit  “Homeland Defense: Protecting Britain during the American War” – you can view the online exhibit to see a collection of prints and cartoons that depict the various camps, soldiers, the visits of the fashionable, and other items that reflect Britain’s concern with possible invasion. We must believe that Jane Austen had some of this history in mind when she was writing Pride and Prejudice, with her soldiers, and the mad for red coats frenzy of the younger Bennet girls – and Mrs. Bennet for that matter!

“My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother. When they get to our age I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well — and, indeed, so I do still at my heart; and if a smart young colonel, with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls, I shall not say nay to him; and I thought Colonel Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir William’s in his regimentals.” (P&P, vol. I, ch. 7)

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Mr Wickham, by Robert Ball, Pride and Prejudice (Doubleday, 1945)

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If you can get to Anderson House in DC, all the better (the exhibit runs October 3, 2014 — March 14, 2015), but visit the online exhibit here if you cannot… http://www.societyofthecincinnati.org/exhibit/current

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Isaak Jenher. ‘Plan of the Camp at Cox-Heath 1779’ [in Kent] (London, 1779)
[image: Cincinnati Fourteen, Fall 2014, Journal of The Society of the Cincinnati, vol. 51, no. 1.]

By the beginning of 1778, British hopes of an easy victory over the American rebels had vanished. The British army had seized New York City and Philadelphia, but American resistance had proven far more tenacious than anyone in Britain had expected. The costs of prosecuting the war were mounting. Shipping losses were increasing. Parliamentary opposition to the war was growing. The defeat at Saratoga had destroyed British confidence that the colonies could be conquered. Even Lord North, the prime minister, had lost hope of total victory in what he called “this damned war.”

Then in February, France completed an alliance with the rebels. For the first time in a generation, Britain faced the threat of invasion. With most of the regular army in North America, the ministry recruited militia “for the internal defence of this Country.” The army established special camps in southeastern England to train the militia along with regular soldiers, to protect the coastline, and to provide for the defense of London. A distant and increasingly unpopular war suddenly reached the British homeland.

Contemporary novels and plays about military themes, new songs and poems celebrating British strength, and popular prints depicting the camps reflected public anxiety about the threat of invasion. They also reflected contemporary British opinion about the army at a moment when failure in America exposed it to satire and ridicule. The camps had a wide–ranging influence on popular culture. Fashionable ladies, for whom visiting the camps was a part of the social whirl, sported riding habits modeled on regimental uniforms. Cartoonists, meanwhile, took delight in poking fun at preparations for a foreign invasion that never came.

[quoted from the website]

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John Collet. ‘An Officer in the Light Infantry, Driven by his Lady to Cox-Heath’ (London, 1778)
[image: Lewis Walpole Library]

 c2014 Jane Austen in Vermont