Austen on the Block

Auction picture - P&P 62309

314. [AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Pride and Prejudice: a Novel in Three Volumes. London: T. Egerton, 1813. 3 volumes, 12mo. Half-titles. Contemporary dark brown sprinkled calf, brown endpapers, gilt volume numbers to spine, green morocco gilt lettering pieces to style, with “Charleton” gilt-stamped to upper cover; half morocco folding case. Condition: intermittent foxing; rebacked preserving original spines, a little wear to extremities, exposure to several corners, renewed lettering labels. Provenance: Frida Best (bookplate); Susan Carnegie? with intriguing provenance of an early feminist author.

It is tempting to identify the ownership stamp with Charleton House, Montrose, the home, from her marriage in 1769 until her death in 1821 of the feminist writer and philanthropist Susan Carnegie: “…she learned to challenge the idea that women were intellectually less able than men, choosing instead to explain discrepancies in terms of women’s educational opportunities and their general treatment in a patriarchal society. Certainly in her correspondence Susan was fearless in drawing attention to a lack of respect or of rudeness on the part of male writers. Prior to her marriage to George Carnegie of Pitarrow (1726-1799), she acknowledged her future husband’s right to command her, but hoped ‘that he never will have [the] occasion or inclination to exercise it’. (Oxford DNB). On her death the estate passed to her grandson George Carnegie Fullerton, poet and sportsman. His extravagances resulted his sale of the three Ayrshire properties, and another other volume with this ownership stamp, a copy of Charles Emmanuel de Warnery’s Remarks on Cavalry, 1798, sold at Bonham’s in 2003.
First edition. Gilson 3; Grolier Hundred 69; Keynes 3; Sadleir 62b.

est. $50,000 – $70,000

[from the Bloomsbury Auctions Catalogue.  “Fine Books & Manuscripts, Literature and Americana” –  New York,  Sale June 23, 2009.  See the Bloomsbury website for more information on the sale.]

On the Air and in your Inbox ~ All Things Austen

                                                                                                                            has just announced a new program of  “Classics on Air” – the first program [and rightfully so!] is on “Why We Love Jane Austen” with Juliette Wells*, Alan Walker, and Stephen Morrison: listen in for this 30 minute episode…



Elda Rotor of Penguin Classics interviews Jane Austen scholar Juliette Wells about Austenmania, what it means to be a Janeite, etiquette in Austen’s time, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Alan Walker, head of academic marketing, introduces listeners to Excellent Women by Barbara Pym on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” And Stephen Morrison, associate publisher and editor in chief of Penguin Books, offers up the opening to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in his segment, “First Pages.”


jane austen centre logo

Also today, the Jane Austen Newsletter appeared in my email box, always a happy occurrence:  news items include an article on Sandy Lerner and the Chawton House Library; Jane Austen’s prayers by Linore Rose Birkard; Persuasion, the Twitter version; the National Gallery of Victoria exhibit of fashion during Jane Austen’s lifetime; a quiz on Austen manners; a reminder to vote in the Regency World Awards by June 30th; a follow-up on the production of the movie “Jane Austen Handheld“; and yet another article on the new book by Andrew Norman on Austen’s unrequited love…

You can sign up for the Centre’s monthly email newsletter here.

*Juliette Wells of Manhattanville College will be speaking at the 2009 JASNA AGM on “The Closeness of Sisters: Pride & Prejudice’s Influence on How We Imagine Jane and Cassandra.”

“Holy Austen, Batman!” Pride & Prejudice #3

Please see the post below for information on our JASNA-Vermont June 7th event on Austen & Fashion


Marvel P&P #3

The third issue of the Marvel Comic Pride & Prejudice will be released on June 10, 2009.  Visit Comic Book Resources for a preview [click on the cover and continue through 7 pages of text] ~ a must-have for your P&P collection!

Marvel comic P&P #3 page 6

[from Comic Book]

Posted By Janeite Deb

Guest Post ~ Author Maya Slater

book cover private diary darcyGentle Readers:   Maya Slater has penned a guest post for us on her book The Private Diary of Mr Darcy  – and as I mention in my previous post, it is quite an entertaining read!  Thank you Ms. Slater for sharing your thoughts with us [and those of Mr. Darcy!]





INTRODUCING:  The Private Diary of Mr Darcy, the American edition to be published on June 15th by W.W.Norton.

 ‘What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?’

I found myself answering, without hesitation, ‘Oh, Mr Darcy’s diary.’ Everyone round the table laughed, and the moment passed. But the idea stayed with me for months, till finally I had to give in to it, and start writing.

It’s not as though Mr Darcy was the kind of man to have kept an intimate diary of his own volition. He started it as a child when his mother gave him a moleskin notebook, gently suggesting he should make it his confidant. A few days later she was dead, and keeping a diary became a sacred duty to him.

The final volume of his diary, published under the title The Private Diary of Mr Darcy*, begins on the day that he first sets eyes on Elizabeth Bennet – although she makes no impression on him whatsoever. It concludes as they happily plan their wedding. In between, he unburdens himself of many secrets, and lives through the weeks and months when he is absent from Pride and Prejudice: that first winter when Mr Bingley has deserted Jane, the following summer when Elizabeth has turned him down, the anxious search for Lydia and Wickham.

 Of course the diary is private. Much of what it contains would shock his female acquaintance, describing as it does his life as a rich bachelor about town.   His gentlemen friends too would be astonished – at the uncertainties, weaknesses and powerful emotions confided by this politely reticent and formal young man. It is not surprising that he decides to abandon it when he marries: it would not do for his wife to discover it.

Throughout, it is Mr Darcy who has directed operations; I have merely followed where he led.


*The British edition (Phoenix, 2007) was titled Mr Darcy’s Diary.

[ See also the full Maya Slater interview at  [type in < Maya Slater > in the “search video” box and click on the book cover]  and my previous post with additional links here ]

The opening question, by the way, is quite thought-provoking – anyone want to add their thoughts? –

What book would you most love to read, if only it had been written?

Maya Slater’s ‘The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy’

In my previous very short  review of Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Maya Slater, I make mention that I liked this book more than any of the other what-Mr. Darcy-was-thinking sequels [not that I have read them all.]  The American edition published by Norton is to be released on June 15th [as always, check with your local independent bookseller; and it is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Borders]

Note that the American title is The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy [so as not perhaps to be confused with Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary published in 2007].

book cover private diary darcy


and though perhaps I am quibbling, I do much prefer the British edition cover …  I like my Mr. Darcys to be left to MY imagination…

book cover mr darcy's diary

Here is a Booklist review: [from the site]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy is one of the most fascinating heroes in literature. Other writers have tried, with varying degrees of success,  to capture some of that old Darcy magic. This time around, we are made privy to Darcy’s secret diary. Though the story presented in the diary entries adheres to the structure of Pride and Prejudice,  the Bennets, even including Elizabeth herself, are very much in the background, while other characters, such as the Bingleys and Darcy’s sister Georgiana, play a larger role. While trying to fend off his growing attachment to Lizzie, “an undersized young lady of doubtful family,” Darcy recounts his day-to-day activities—managing his estate, looking after his sister, engaging in pastimes with his disreputable friend Lord Byron that would make the ladies at Longbourn blush. Austen knockoffs should always be judged on their own merits, and if the Darcy presented here isn’t quite her Darcy, or yours, the book is still a smart and entertaining period piece. –[Mary Ellen Quinn]

‘Pride & Prejudice’ ~ The Comic Book [part 2]

P&P marvel comic


Marvel Comics has made the first issue of their Pride & Prejudice Comic Book available for free viewing online:

See the Marvel Comics site and select “Open” for the complete issue.



And issue No. 2 has just been released on May 13, 2009 and is available for $3.99.

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. Two-time RITA award winner and multiple RT Reviewer’s Choice winner Nancy Butler and artist Hugo Petrus continue their adaptation of one of the greatest romantic comedies ever told! In this issue: What is UP with that Darcy guy? Dude’s just being a jerk. Forget it, Lizzy, better to spend time with the cute military man that just rode into town…

P&P marvel comic 2


P&P marvel comic 2header

“What to Think When he Thinks You’re Thinking”

[Read my previous post on this comic book series here.]

Bishop’s PRIDE, part II

Prof. Robert Morrison
Queen’s University, Kingston
“Getting Around Pride & Prejudice: Gothicism, Fairy Tales & the Very World of All Us”.

In a thought-provoking premise, Dr. Morrison equated the “Gothic” literary tradition with a fear of spinsterhood and the deeper fear of its relation, poverty.

Citing sources such as Byron and Wollstonecraft, his ideas contained such laden words as humility, compassion, love, humiliation, terror, anguish, in short: firm Gothic Territory. Neoclassical in form and structure, with fairytale endings of “happily ever after,” Austen’s writings are often paired with Shelley’s in Dr. Morrison’s classes. Pretty women, estates, happy marriages. ” ‘What calm lives those people had,’ said Churchill of Austen’s characters.” But Austen’s major achievement, hidden perhaps, are the shortage of men, passing mentions of prize money and economic crises: “Politics seems to shape the novel at every turn”. Austen cannot continue to suppress or ignore the ‘individual’. Citing Howells, we could all agree that Elizabeth – a gentleman’s daughter – was more a ‘lady’ than even Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Elizabeth’s triumph over Lady Catherine can be taken as a triumph of humanity over rank.

The linchpin is realism, Dr Morrison concluded, but her novels touch on the fears (the Gothic).

Some points and arguments that Dr Morrison advanced which caught my particular attention:

Citing Martin Amis, he commented on Austen’s thoughts and rhythms invading his own thoughts and rhythms. I would heartily agree; it makes such a difference in my quality of writing (even speech), when I read the phrases of a powerful author as opposed to a pedestrian hack.

He brought up the reactions of such readers as Annabelle Milbank and Henry Crabbe Robinson. These are precious, as they are reactions to the novels, from people living during Austen’s lifetime, and wholly untainted by memories of films and teleplays. HCR even called Mr Collins ‘a masterpiece’! My thoughts exactly (which made a later comment [see below] hard to fathom).

Dr Morrison made a joke of Catherine Morland’s name; citing that everyone in the novels wants ‘more land’. He promoted the idea of a woman being “her father’s burden; her husband’s property”. But the comment of Charlotte Lucas committing “respectable prostitution” – well, that seemed out of place. Actually, it left me shaking my head – ‘No!’ When Dr Morrison said that his ‘skin crawled’ at the idea of the Collinses’ marriage, that sounded more ‘colored by film depictions of Mr Collins’ than genuine thoughts about the plight of both characters: one in want of a good wife; the other in want of a good home.

In equating the Gothic, there was this thought-provoking idea behind Darcy’s comment on Elizabeth’s looks: Darcy doesn’t want to dance (doesn’t even wish to be at the dance); and all people talk about is his money! Darcy’s “tolerable” evaluation of Elizabeth “haunts her – raises the specter of spinsterhood”. Her greatest asset (no dowry) is her looks. Excellent way of digging deeper into this much-quoted comment by Darcy.

Elizabeth is wrong about Charlotte, willing to be wrong about Wickham, and wrong about Darcy. Darcy’s letter helps her see herself more clearly. The implacable resentment Elizabeth attributes to Darcy, she feels herself.

One unanswered – until that evening – observation: when Dr Morrison spoke of Austen’s use of words and cited her deliberate use of “a month” in Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy. Dr. Morrison’s thoughts centered on Lizzy’s inability to forgive the slight Darcy had inflicted. But as the question period opened and this was addressed (with more than one person saying ‘I never really noticed’) it became apparent that Austen meant more by this specific period of time: not an hour, not a day – but “I had not known you a month”. The Play that evening answered this hitherto unanswered observation – and it is in the novel: When Mr Wickham is ‘confessing’ his life story to Elizabeth, he asks her how long Darcy has stayed with Bingley. The magic answer: “About a month.” Obviously Austen wanted readers to conclude, in the proposal scene, that  Lizzy’s enmity against Darcy survived the slight to her ‘tolerable’ looks, but surfaced to the fore from the point at which she ‘knows’ Darcy to have harmed the prospects of Mr Wickham!

An audience member then brought up this acute observation: Miss de Bourgh, in being sickly, is quite Gothic and can be seen as the symbol of “the dead end,” the dying system that once was predicated upon blood (again the idea of rank versus the humanity of Elizabeth). And on that thought, which touched on the truly Gothic – the vampire tales, we broke for beverages, cookies and oranges. There will be more to say on this subject when the Play is discussed; for the actress portraying Miss de Bourgh gave the role something never seen before.

Bishop’s PRIDE

Two Saturdays ago (March 14th, to be exact) I ventured up to Bishop’s University (Lennoxville, Quebec) for a Pride & Prejudice Weekend – a symposium, thanks to English department professor Claire Grogan; a delicious ‘Jane Austen’s Cream Tea’ at Uplands; a Pride & Prejudice play, adapted by drama professor George Rideout; and an Austen-era Sunday Service in the university’s beautiful chapel. Sure the footlights have dimmed, the curtain has dropped, and the weekend’s events have faded into memory – but readers should know what they missed; and why they should keep an eye out for a production of this well-thought-out new play.

Saturday afternoon’s symposium featured three speakers; a full-hall (a good 70 people) had gathered to hear them.

Prof. Peter Sabor
McGill University, Montreal
“Portraying Jane Austen: How Anonymous became a Celebrity”. 

Illustrated by images, Dr. Sabor brought the audience along Austen’s circuitous route to celebrity – beginning with the original “BY A LADY” title page of Sense and Sensibility and showing near the end a publicity photo that made everyone chuckle: Jane Austen Hollywood-ized, complete with cell phone (the giant, 1980s version), conducting business while lounging on a poolside chaise.

In between these humble beginnings and the 20th-century hype lay a lot of Austen territory to be explored. Austen, of course, sold the copyright to Pride & Prejudice – her most popular novel – for ₤110. In 1813, the three volumes sold for 18 shilling (“about $2 Canadian today”).

Austen’s name has been located on a few subscription lists (Burney’s Camilla; the 1808 sermons of the Rev. Thomas Jefferson). Dr. Sabor explained that it was costly to purchase books by subscription. Such lists, however, can be invaluable to the researcher (I have located many Goslings and Smiths on subscription lists; it gives a thrill to realize they knew the author or valued the work enough to purchase a copy – or more than one – before the presses rolled).

The anonymous review (in reality Walter Scott) of Emma highlights Austen’s soon-acknowledged authorship a few years later: Although the title page of Northanger Abbey cited “By the author of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Mansfield Park,’ &c,” the first volume included brother Henry’s biographical notice – thereby naming in print for the first time exactly who authored all six of these novels. [See also Henry’s updated version in the Bentley edition (1833) of S&S.] Beginning in 1818, we see reviews that mention Austen by name. (In an aside: Emma Smith, the future Mrs James-Edward Austen, was in 1817 already citing her as the author, specifically, of Mansfield Park; though Emma spelled the last name, as many did and often still do, Austin.)

A French translation of Austen’s last completed novel – published under the title La famille Elliot – becomes the first book in which Austen’s name appears as author on a title page. The year is 1821. [For information on the translator, see Ellen Moody.]

When discussion of the known and purported Austen portraits began, the audience was given a truly informative lesson on the pitfalls, as well as hopes and shattered dreams, of claimants to “authentic Janes”. Even the 1804 sketch: Is it a depiction of Jane by her sister Cassandra?? Anna Lefroy (half-sister to James-Edward Austen) inherited it, and to this day it resides within the family. (It was first presented by Chapman in his volume of Letters.)

The illustrations of Austen grow more wild as the publicity picks up – paper dolls, figures made for ‘action,’ plush and bobble-headed dolls, even an Austen Powers ‘superhero’. From recreations to fantasy depictions, Austen’s ‘anonymity’ has certainly turned a complete 360-degrees.

ADDENDUM: for an observation on the so-called ‘wedding ring portrait’ of Jane Austen (which Dr. Sabor called “bizarre”, see SEPARATED AT BIRTH?)


next: Prof. Robert Morrison (Queen’s), “Getting Around Pride & Prejudice: Gothicism, Fairy Tales & the Very World of All Us”

Waiting in the Wings: read insights into the character of Miss Bingley by actress Stephanie Izsak.

Pride & Prejudice ~ the Comic Book


Late to the table, but here is a reminder about the first issue of the Marvel Comic’s Pride & Prejudice  due out April 1st.  See the story and images from the first issue at :

Two-time Rita Award-Winner Nancy Butler and acclaimed artist Hugo Petrus bring PRIDE & PREJUDICE #1 to life—and we’ve got an exclusive preview for you! Follow the gripping story of Lizzy Bennet and her loveable, yet eccentric, family as they navigate the treacherous waters of British high society, in this faithful adaptation of the seminal Jane Austen novel.

Further reading:

Seek and Ye Shall Find

pride58A couple ladies still remember well the 1958 six-part Pride & Prejudice series featuring Jane Downs (Elizabeth Bennet) and Alan Badel (Mr Darcy); one fan expressed a hope for at least a picture. Sue Parrill, familiar to JASNA members as the Book Review Editor for JASNA News, supplies just that! Visit her website AUSTEN POWER.