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:

-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):

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.

The best of Edward Gorey’s book jackets:

This is fascinating: Darwin’s children doodles on the manuscript of The 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
  • 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:

-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:

  • 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]:


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:


Cast of the now-filming Sanditon series has been announced:

A review of Kate Hamill’s Vanity Fair:

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

Learn about the Map of Matrimony from the University of St. Andrews Special Collections:


The Art of Book Covers at the Public Domain Review:

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:


Hobbit lovers, head to the Morgan for their grand exhibit on Tolkien, through May 2019:

And finally, Sotheby’s gives us “The Most Expensive Old Master Female Artist”:

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

Round-up…all things Austen, week of Sept. 14…

Lots out there this week, much about Lost in Austen (which I have not yet watched…oh woe is me!), and a few other tidbits of interest…

Fashion on Main, an exhibit at the University of Texas; see the site for a search-able database of the collection (though the “search” feature is under construction; you can browse the site), and references to other fashion resources.

 And more on fashion in the time of Marie Antoinette, read this post on the Queen’s modist (clothing creator) at the Paper Crown Queen Blog, where there is a host of information and pictorials on crowns.

And the ongoing saga of “Lost in Austen” and the many reviews and opinions thereof:  see Austenblog for its usual candid round-up of comments, and also today for Episode 3, and Jane Austen’s World Blog for a nice review of Episode 2, and another review at Austenprose.

See the Times-Picayune (LA) write-up of a Jane Austen Festival in Mandeville, LA on September 13 (alas! I missed it!….but there is another in March, so put it on your calendar if you happen to be in Louisiana): an Austen “Regency Revisited” Day at the Mandeville Trailhead Pavilion.  Organizers of the Jane Austen Festival host a morning of music, dancing, a fashion show and workshop, 10 a.m.-1. Period dancing with free lessons begins, at 10 a.m. The public is invited to bring costumes/outfits/accessories and experts will demonstrate how to convert them into Regency style apparel, appropriate for the festival in March. Free. For details, visit or call 985.624.5683.

And here is a journalist from the  who has had it with adaptations of classic literature, especially Austen “who has colonised television in a way that no other dead author has managed.”  But alas!  she informs the reader that the gorgeous Rupert Penry-Jones of Spooks (MI-5 in the U.S.) and the ITV Persuasion, will play in a new television version of John Buchan’s oft-filmed The Thirty-Nine Steps.  Can’t wait!

Austenprose continues to offer us the journaling of Virginia Claire Tharrington, the intern at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath:  see her first post and this week’s.  We are all SO envious!

Jane Odiwe tells of her newest book being published by Sourcebooks next year:  Mrs. Brandon’s Invitation, a sequel to Sense & Sensibility.

Several reviews of Marsha Altman’s The Darcys and the Bingleys, are sited at Austenprose; see Jane Austen Today for an interview with the author.

An article in Piecework Magazine is mentioned on Austenblog; also see the comment from the current President of JASNA, Marsha Huff, referencing a Persuasions article on the coverlet that Jane Austen, Cassandra and their mother made (the quilt now hangs in Chawton), so you, too, can make a replica of this quilt.  [See also my previous reference to the JASA article on this topic.]

Ms. Place at JA’s World continues the column with Marjorie Gilbert and her creation of a regency gown… this week is about the necessary regency undergarments.

Excellent sleuthing by Laurel Ann at Austenprose who writes “The Legend of the Lost Sequel“, about the publishing history of D.A. Bonavia-Hunt’s Pemberely Shades.  

See the article in the Western Daily Press about the Crazy for Jane movie premiere at the Bath JA Festival. The documentary tells the tale of contemporary publishers rejection of Jane Austen novels…shame on them!