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. 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

The Pemberley Post, No. 1 (Jan 7, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More

When I first started this blog on March 31, 2008, I would post a weekly round-up of Jane Austen findings on the web. After a few years, Life got in the way of working on that weekly list, though I have continued to find things every day that I sometimes post on facebook or twitter, but now rarely even do that – there’s just SO MUCH information out there, and you all likely see and know more than I do on any given day. But I’ve decided to try my hand at sharing some weekly links – some about Jane Austen, others about books and reading, and a little bit of history thrown in – a mishmash really of things that interest me – and in hopes they interest you too. I am calling this round-up “The Pemberley Post,” the name of our no-longer-published JASNA-Vermont newsletter – just because I like the name (and “Highbury Gossips,” the best possible name ever is the title of JASNA-Montreal’s newsletter…)

I cannot promise I’ll do this every week, but shall make an effort, though some might be very short! – here is the first, for the week of January 1-7, 2019 – and as you can see, I am all over the map with information!

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The Broadview Press in December 2018 released their online “Jane Austen in Context.” For $9.95 you can access this research tool for its critical articles, visual materials, and interactive timelines and maps – and more is being added each week. Click here for more info: https://broadviewpress.com/product/broadview-online-jane-austen-in-context/?ph=36eb83021c2f2f534593bea0#tab-description

Laurel Ann at Austenprose – her favorite books from 2018: https://austenprose.com/2019/01/01/my-favorite-books-of-2018-by-a-partial-prejudiced-and-ignorant-jane-austen-fan/

What P&P teaches readers: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/12/what-jane-austens-pride-prejudice-teaches-readers/578872/

Classics now out of copyrighthttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/29/books/copyright-extension-literature-public-domain.html

And also this: https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/public-domain-day-2019-what-books-can-you-now-read-for-free.html/

10 novels to beat the January blues (Mansfield Park? – who knew??): https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/best-books-to-read-new-year-novels-fiction-jane-austen-pg-wodehouse-literature-a8709196.html

5 best novels starring Jane Austen: https://www.vulture.com/article/five-essential-novels-with-jane-austen-as-a-premise.html

Favorite Romance novels of 2018 by Cailey Hall at LARB (many are YA novels, very often the best reads): http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/reviews/favorite-romance-novels-2018/

A Jane Austen Literary tour of England this summer 2019 (space is limited): https://betweennapsontheporch.net/jane-austen-fans-would-you-enjoy-a-literary-tour-of-southern-england/

Reviewing “Clueless, The Musical”https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/theater/clueless-the-musical-review.html

Maria Sibylla Merian -JSTOR

The 17th-Century should-not-be-forgotten insect artist and early feminist, Maria Sibylla Merian: https://daily.jstor.org/the-metamorphosis-of-a-17th-century-insect-artist/

The ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’ – free podcasts each week: https://soundcloud.com/odnb – listen to this 15 minute piece on Jane Seymour (Henry VIII wife #3 – she at least didn’t lose her head…) – or this one on Elizabeth Parsons, the Cock Lane Ghost: https://soundcloud.com/odnb/elizabeth-parsons-the-cock-lane-ghost-17491807-imposter

Or this one at nearly 2 hours (and from 4 years ago), Jane Austen vs. Emily Bronte (with John Mullan and Kate Mosse): https://soundcloud.com/intelligence2/jane-austen-vs-emily-bronte

The literary photographs of Lotte Jacobi exhibit at the University of New Hampshire to open this January – think J. D. Salinger: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/1701/lotte-jacobi-1.phtml

Check your bookshelves for any old Mary Poppins: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2018/12/the-return-of-mary-poppins.phtml

Susannah Fullerton’s (president of JASA) list of favorites read in 2018: https://susannahfullerton.com.au/my-2018-favourites/

Ellen Moody an Jane Austen’s friendship with Anne Sharpe (where she fleshes out and corrects the chapter on Austen and Sharp(e) in The Secret Sisterhood): https://reveriesunderthesignofausten.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/jane-austen-anne-sharp-she-is-an-excellent-kind-friend/

 

Gainsborough – NPG

Your last chance to see the “Gainsborough Family Album” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery (London) which closes February 3, 2019 (or buy the catalogue for £29.95): https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/gainsborough/exhibition/

A calligraphy exhibit at the Getty (through April 7, 2019) http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/artful_words/

How the Georgians stored their ice (no mention of martinis): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/london-archaeologists-unearth-subterranean-georgian-ice-store-180971146/

Set up your 2019 reading list with the help of the Modern Mrs. Darcy: https://modernmrsdarcy.com/reading-challenge-2019/

London’s Feminist Library has been saved from closing: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/03/feminist-library-saved-from-closure-as-supporters-raise-35000

Read:

– everything you ever wanted to know about Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding gown in The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson: http://www.jennifer-robson.com/writing/the-gown/

Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, by Kirsten Gillibrand, illustrated by Maira Kalman: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-women-who-won-the-right-to-vote

Julie Klassen has a new book out in her Ivy Hill series, The Bride of Ivy Green: https://bakerbookhouse.com/products/the-bride-of-ivy-green-9780764218170

Publishers Weekly’s list of the favorite 2018 reads of booksellers…: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/78903-booksellers-favorite-titles-of-2018.html

Lots of reading lists – what’s on your TBR pile?

c2019, Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen on Nightline ~ Mr. Darcy Rules!

Here is the video that showed on Nightline last night “Oh Mr. Darcy! Jane Austen Super Fans” – where the camera takes us through various Jane Austen events with costumed, tea-drinking fans, as well as numerous film clips of our favorite Mr. Darcys in all manner of steamy situations …

The reporters hit the JASNA AGM in Minneapolis, a Jane Austen group in Pasadena, and our very own Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vermont which makes a grand showing, fabulous for Innkeeper Suzanne!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

A Road by Any Other Name ~ Jane Austen Takes Over Worthing!

Breaking Jane Austen News!

From The Argus [Surrey, UK]:

Visitors to a new Worthing housing estate are in for a literary experience.

Three streets at the Barratt Homes development, The Fieldings  have been given names connected to celebrated author Jane Austen.

The Fieldings

The Fieldings

 [Image from the Barratt Homes website]

Austen found inspiration for many scenes and characters in her final and unfinished novel Sanditon when she visited the town in 1805.

Members of the Jane Austen Society contacted Worthing Borough Council calling for a street name in the town for the author.  [it is the JAS-Midlands Branch that spearheaded this effort under the leadership of Chris Sandrawich.]

Barratt Homes have now unveiled the street names as Austen Gate, Sanditon Way and Chawton Gate on the estate.  [There is also a block of flats called Mansfield Court.]

Society members and descendants of the author gathered in Worthing to mark the unveiling.

JAS-Midlands Branch

JAS-Midlands Branch

Barratt southern counties sales director Lynnette St Quintin said: “Where we build new homes and create new communities, it is important they are reflective of local history. The Worthing connection with Jane Austen is certainly one for everyone to be proud of.”

[Source:  http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10667516.Jane_Austen_gives_inspiration_to_Worthing_roads/]

One wonders with “The Fieldings” so named if there might also be a Joseph Andrews Avenue or a Tom Jones Junction, or how about Bow Street Runners Boulevard … even Jane Austen would like that I think!

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You might recall last year’s efforts regarding the Library Passage in Worthing: this street naming is a partial result of the JAS’s hopes to have some recognition of Jane Austen in the area.  There is more to come in a future post from Chris Sandrawich, so stay-tuned, and on your next trek to England be sure to put Worthing on your itinerary; better yet, buy a home here at Chawton Gate!

 c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

 

Jane Austen and the Bank of England

Well, this is everywhere so only posting this so everyone knows I am actually paying attention. The UK seems to be in the news an awful lot this week, and while I find this quite funny:

fbpolhumor-baby

[from https://www.facebook.com/politicalhumor ]

I don’t agree! I am unashamedly an Anglophile of the highest order [my parents were born there], and I had Tea every day as soon as I got home from school and have never changed the habit, and so all this stuff is just sort of ingrained…

So very excited this week, both about the Royal Baby AND the £10 note to feature Jane Austen.

So first a hearty congratulations to all in the Royal Family about George Alexander Louis – after George Knightley I am assuming, and a fine model for any young man (not to mention his great-grandfather)…

willkatebaby-cbs

[Image:  CBS News]

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And then Jane takes front-row seat after several weeks of mind-boggling discussion and various petitions on who shall grace the next issue of the £10 note, a woman it was to be, and Jane Austen it is – we can assume the Bank of England was a tad nonplussed by all of Jane Austen fandom raving for her to be chosen…

Here are the details – though they will not be in circulation until 2017 – I do wonder if they are concerned that any such Austen covered notes appearing shall just as quickly disappear into people’s scrapbooks and they shall have to start all over again – I cannot even imagine SPENDING this money, can you??

ja10poundnote

[ Image: news.com.au ]

The portrait of Jane Austen, which will appear on the banknote, is adapted from a sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra Austen. Other features include:

• A quote from Pride and Prejudice – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

• An illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, one of the characters in Pride and Prejudice

• An image of Godmersham Park in Kent – the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, and the inspiration for a number of novels

• A central background design of the author’s writing table which she used at home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire

Fellow writers William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens have appeared on banknotes in recent times. Dickens was on the £10 note [Jane Austen shall be replacing Charles Darwin who is currently on the £10 note] and Shakespeare on the £20 note.

Bank of England notes can be spent throughout the UK. In addition, three banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland are authorised to issue banknotes.

On Twitter, Mr Osborne wrote: “[Incoming Bank of England governor] Mark Carney’s choice of Jane Austen as face of £10 note is great. After understandable row over lack of women, shows sense and sensibility.”

[Good to know someone knows their Austen…]

[Quoting from BBC News, where you can find a list of all the previous banknotes with famous faces…]

newscovers-baby

[Image:  CBS News]

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UPDATE:  adding a few links here to other writings on the kerfuffle of Jane on the £10 note:

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen on Richard III ~ Guilty, or “A Very Respectable Man”?

richard III - yorkshire branch website

Richard III, by an unknown artist – National Portrait Gallery

Richard III has been getting much-needed attention these past few days – his Bones, it seems, have been languishing beneath a parking lot

the bones

About 22 years ago on a trip to Scotland with the Appalachian Mountain Club, we stayed in Beauly not far from Inverness in a Castle called Aigas (now the Aigas Field Centre), hosted by Sir John Lister-Kaye and his Lady Lucy. We spent our days studying the flora, fauna, and geology of the surrounding area, a glorious adventure, as you can imagine – but one of the most memorable parts of the trip was meeting another guest staying at the Castle – he was not part of our group, but came there every year to go birding, an elderly gentleman blessed with a brilliant mind and great charm – his one great obsession other than birds was Richard III, and from him I learned about the Richard III Society.  He went off into spasms of ecstasy telling of his also annual treks to Bosworth where he could hear the “swish, swish” of the swords on the field where Richard was slain in 1485.

Bosworth Battlefield - Britannica

Illustration depicting the Battle of Bosworth Field, with King Richard III on the white horse.

Credit: The Print Collector/Heritage-Images – from Britannica.com
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Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portrait - wp

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard III – from the RIII Society website

I came home with my own obsession with the long-dead Richard – read everything I could find on him, beginning with Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, her tribute to Richard [she was a staunch member of the Society] and the clear statement of her belief in his innocence.  Shakespeare had done the young King a dirty deed it seems, maligned forever in History as the murderer of the Princes in the Tower and various other souls including his Wife, and perpetrator of all manner of other nefarious politically-induced deeds…

I confess to having forgotten more than I ever actually knew about RIII, and now other than Shakespeare and Tey, he has largely fallen off my radar, or at least I no longer need to get into discussions with everyone I meet in a rabid defense of his innocence… but I am excited about his Bones being found and restored to a rightful burial place at Leicester Cathedral; this discovery shall certainly bring on a re-assessment of who he might really have been…

Leicester Cathedral

Leicester Cathedral – RutlandChurches.co.uk

Which brings us to Jane Austen:

Austen, as avid readers know, had an aversion to the name of “Richard”: let’s recall her first paragraph in Northanger Abbey, where she denigrates Catherine’s father so:

Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard … 

And later in a 1796 letter to her sister, she remarks on Mr. Richard Harvey’s match being put off,till he has got a better Christian name, of which he has great Hopes.” [Letters, p. 10]

And famously in Persuasion, and one of the nastiest comments in all her novels, on poor Dick Musgrove:

The real circumstances of this pathetic piece of family history were, that the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son, and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year; that he had been sent to sea, because he was stupid and unmanageable on shore; that he had been very little cared for at any time by his family, though quite as much as he deserved; seldom heard of, and scarcely at all regretted, when the intelligence of his death abroad had worked its way to Uppercross, two years before.

He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him “poor Richard,” been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done any thing to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead. [Persuasion  v. I, ch. VI]

Ouch!

No one has ever satisfactorily explained this aversion of Austen’s to the name ‘Richard’ – one could certainly explain it as her disliking Richard III with such a passion that anyone named Richard should suffer her admonition; but here is what she says about Richard in her History of England, with such a contradictory tone, one does not quite know what she really thought [forever the illusive Jane] – but on the whole I think she believes him to be mistreated by History – perhaps she would have been a reigning member of the Richard III Society!

Cassandra's portrait of Richard III

Cassandra’s portrait of Richard III

 Richard the 3d

The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man. It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews & his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; & if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard. Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.

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You can read Austen’s complete History of England here at the British Library, and here at Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts , both in the original edition and facsimile.

So what do you think? Should Richard III be exonerated of his dastardly deeds? Should we do as Jane did and be “rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man”? I will just say that may Richard at least from henceforth Rest in Peace…

RIII memorial leicester

 [Richard III Memorial in Leicester Cathedral]

And I must add this final image sent just this morning from a friend – only the English can get away with this sort of thing, but I laughed ‘til tears came… somehow I think Jane Austen would be laughing too…

car park sign

Further reading:

book cover - daughter of time - tey[like Jane Austen, Tey wrote just over a handful of novels – read them!]

 c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont