Guest Post by Tony Grant: Virginia Woolf Made a Reference to Jane Austen

Dear Janeites and Other Readers:  I welcome today Tony Grant. He has just read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and asked if I would post his review. Tony for a time wrote a blog on Virginia Woolf called “The Novels of Virginia Woolf” – he is hoping to do more on there now that he is re-inspired! There are endless resources out there on Woolf (see below for a few links), but here Tony is giving his personal view of what he learned in reading A Room of One’s Own, and how it relates to Jane Austen.

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“Virginia Woolf Made a Reference to Jane Austen,”
by Tony Grant.

A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN by Virginia Woolf was first published in 1929. Woolf was invited in 1928 to give a talk to the female undergraduates at Girton College, Cambridge on the theme of women and fiction. She came up with the title for her talk as, A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN. The premise of her argument was that women needed a room of their own and time to write, provided by an independent income. Virginia Woolf suggested £500 a year.

Coincidently that was the same amount that an Aunt, who died in India, left Virginia Woolf in her will, allowing her to be independent of her husband. She was allowed time to think and write without the constraints of the straight jacket of wife, mother, and organizer of a great man’s home. She could afford a room of her own in which to write undisturbed. She argued that women writers in history had been far and few between because of the restrictions a patriarchal society put on them, a society that actively discouraged, insulted, and humiliated women’s abilities. Men thought that women were not capable of writing great fiction or write intelligently on any subject.

She references Aphra Behn, a playwright, poet and translator who lived in the 17th century, as the first woman writer to make money from writing. She goes on to explain that later in the 18th and 19th centuries, Jane Austen, The Brontës and George Elliot began to show what brilliant writers women can be, even if hidden behind anonymity or male pseudonyms. These few, early, great women writers were however, limited in their scope by their circumstances. Virginia Woolf’s hope is that a “Shakespeare’s Sister,” will emerge one day.

We are introduced to Mary Beton, her aunt who left Virginia the £500 per year inheritance and provided the means for her to become a writer; Mary Seton, a wife and mother who is constrained by her circumstances and has no chance of becoming a writer; Mary Carmichael, an author who does not write particularly well – her sentence structures are not those of Jane Austen, from whom she should have learned, but nonetheless begins to write about women in an extraordinary way from a woman’s perspective and begins to portray the subtleties of womanhood uninfluenced by a patriarchal society. These three characters represent three aspects of the lives of women.

Virginia Woolf’s bedroom at Monk’s House

Virginia Woolf argues that intellectual freedom depends upon the possession of material things (a room of one’s own and £500 per year), a good education and well-connected families. She thinks the education the poor receive will not raise them to equality with the upper levels of society. She decries that they will have no chance of their voice being heard. Women’s lives and the poor in society are a downtrodden second class group.

Nowadays there is a sort of worship and fan cult associated with Jane Austen. Virginia Woolf would be bemused and not understand this I think. Austen is a great writer, especially in exploring the relationships between men and women which is acutely highlighted in her writing because of the patriarchy of the 18th and 19th centuries.

But because of the constraints placed on by the male members of her family, no “room of her own,” and no independent income, Austen’s world was a very narrow world of drawing rooms. There was not enough global experience of women writers and women in other aspects of society, equal to that of men’s for Austen to build on. She was and is impressive for what she achieved, but she had her limitations. Austen was timid and protective about her writing. She didn’t experience life outside of a strict set of patriarchal boundaries. It does seem extraordinary nowadays there is so much fuss over her.

The aim for women writers, in the words of Virginia Woolf, is to become “Shakespeare’s Sister.” It must be said that Shakespeare did not have a sister as far as we know. What Virginia Woolf means is that in her view Shakespeare was the greatest male writer. He had the perfect balance of the “male-female” brain, creative and fertile with ideas derived from a wide experience of the world, male histories, male experiences and male writing through the centuries. If Shakespeare’s Sister had been able to become the female version of her brother, employing the “female male” brain alongside a wealth of women’s experiences in writing and society, we would have a female writer of equal brilliance and scope.

Virginia Woolf’s presentation to the Girton Undergraduates is nothing if not meant to encourage them all to become writers, not just of fiction but scientific treatises, histories, biographies, poetry, and more besides, because as Woolf states “books talk to books,” and with a rich history of women’s writing to draw on this “Shakespeare’s Sister” can finally emerge.

Jane Austen was a step along the way to the emergence of this “Shakespeare’s Sister.” Mary Carmichael, perhaps a pseudonym for Virginia Woolf herself, represents another important step along the way. They are only steps.

“Be yourself” is a slogan Virginia Woolf leaves her young female audience with. She describes what women need to do to become writers and become themselves: “They need to build their ideas and thoughts on those of other women.” She points out how near impossible it is to achieve that without an immense struggle and everyone doing their bit. Even ninety years later, Virginia Woolf’s treatise has a freshness about it.

Virginia Woolf’s writing shed, Monk’s House

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Thank you Tony for sharing your thoughts on Woolf and Austen! You can visit Tony’s regular blog “London Calling” here: http://general-southerner.blogspot.com/

Would love to hear your thoughts on A Room of One’s Own – do you think Woolf’s ideas remain relevant today? Do you agree that there was a dearth of women’s writing because of the patriarchal society and its subjugation of women? Since Woolf’s time there has been an ongoing effort to re-discover the early women writers that have been long forgotten, also a result of that subjugation, and many of these Woolf would have known nothing about. [You can visit the Library at Chawton House to read about many of these early authors: https://chawtonhouse.org/ – and especially the biographies and online novels].

Woolf references Austen in more than just A Room of One’s Own – she refers to Austen in many of her writings, and wrote several full-length essays – here are two.

  1. “Jane Austen” in The Common Reader (1925): http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300031h.html#C11
  2. Woolf’s review of R. W. Chapman’s 1923 edition of Austen’s novels at The New Republic (1924): https://newrepublic.com/article/115922/virginia-woolf-jane-austen

For some commentary on Woolf’s opinion of Austen, see:

  1. This essay in Persuasions 12 (1990) by Judith Lee on Woolf reading Austen: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number12/lee.htm
  2. Another essay in Persuasions On-Line 29.1 (2008) by Emily Auerbach, “The Geese vs. the “Niminy Piminy Spinster”: Virginia Woolf Defends Jane Austen”: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol29no1/auerbach.html

I could go on… – there’s a veritable goldmine of information on Woolf and Austen out there!

Further reading:

[Images from Tony Grant]

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 13 (April 15- 21, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

April 23 – Today is the day Shakespeare died in 1616, (he may have also been born on this day – he was baptized on April 26, 1564) so let’s begin with the recent research into Shakespeare’s exact location in London: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/apr/13/shakespeare-plays-possibly-inspired-by-london-neighbours

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April 23 is also World Book & Copyright Day

“23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books – most beautiful invention for sharing ideas beyond the boundaries of humanity space and time as well as the most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.”

https://www.worldbookday.com/2019/04/world-book-copyright-day-23-april-2019

Celebrate by visiting your local bookstore!

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Charlotte Bronte’s hair has been found in a ring on Antiques Road Show: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/17/charlotte-bronte-hair-ring-antiques-roadshow-bronte-society-braid-1855

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This is a look back at how the Cathedral of Notre-Dame has been portrayed in art through the ages:  https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-notre-dame-cathedral-in-art-1460-1921/

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British Book Illustration – Folger

Quite the collection of British Book Illustration at the Folger – see here for all the searchable images: https://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/FOLGER~2~2

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A few things to add to your already overburdened reading list: Twelve of the most important books for women in philosophy – a reading list of books that explore recent feminist philosophy and women philosophers: https://blog.oup.com/2019/04/12-most-important-books-women-philosophy/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=oupblog

Sophie de Grouchy. Letters on Sympathy: A Critical Engagement with Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Published in 1798 in French, now here translated.

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In case you are in need of some new reading material, the whole of the 2 volumes of the Mueller Report are available for free online (you DON’T need to buy it from Amazon): Notice all the redacted data….  https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

or here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5955379-Redacted-Mueller-Report.html#document/

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Apparently Pride & Prejudice made this art mural bookcase in Utrecht – can you find it?? http://www.openculture.com/2019/04/street-art-for-book-lovers.html

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Are you a Hoarding Bibliophile who doesn’t want to declutter your bookshelves via the Marie Kondo directive?? Here are a few people who just cannot let go: (and I am happy to find some soulmates!) https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/marie-kondo-bibliophiles-books-decluttering-tidying-a8864926.html

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UCLA will be hosting a Marathon Reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on May 9-10 – for a full 24 hours – read about it here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exDvztcgJpo&app=desktop

And here on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/233607600848307/

Octavia Butler’s “Earthseed Series” will also be part of the reading.

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Into Absolut Vodka? You can bid on the various artist-rendered lithographs here: live bidding starts today!

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/139611_absolut-vodka-lithographs/

George Rodrigue’s “Absolut Statehood Louisiana” – bidding is already at $1800…

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The Modern Library is launching a new trade paperback book series, Modern Library Torchbearers, that will “honor a more inclusive vision of classic books” by “recognizing women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.” The books, all previously published, will be repackaged, and each will be introduced by a contemporary woman writer. The inaugural list for the series features:

  • American Indian Stories by Zitkála-Sá, with an introduction by Layli Long Soldier (May 21)
  • The Heads of Cerberus by Francis Stevens, with an introduction by Naomi Alderman (May 21)
  • Passing by Nella Larsen, with an introduction by Kaitlyn Greenidge (May 21)
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin, with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado (June 18)
  • Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, with an introduction by Flynn Berry (June 18)
  • Villette by Charlotte Brontë, with an introduction by Weike Wang (June 18)

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/79804-modern-library-launches-series-of-classics-penned-by-women.html

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I can honestly say that the only thing I really have a fancy for that one might call over-the-top decorative arts are the stunning Faberge eggs – I’ve seen them in museums over the years and two years ago at the best place of all at The Hermitage – so here in celebration of Easter is a nicely done history from Barnaby’s: https://www.barnebys.com/blog/in-celebration-of-easter-we-look-back-on-the-history/

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Historic Ashburn School

And finally, more for your book pile: here is a great story about a judge and her “punishments” for young offenders and the reading list she gave them all to choose from – everybody should read all these books – the world would improve immensely…https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/this-is-what-happened-when-a-us-judge-sentenced-teenage-vandals-to-read-books

Happy internet surfing all!
what have been your favorites this past week?

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

 

The Women’s Writing Database “Orlando” ~ Free for the Month of March!

UPDATE: The Women Writers Online database also has free access during the month of March – you can find it here: http://wwo.wwp.northeastern.edu/WWO

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theorlandoproject

Orlando, the subscription database from Cambridge University Press on “Women’s Writings in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present” – is available for free for Women’s History Month starting tomorrow and throughout March.

The Orlando Project “provides entries on authors’ lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies.”

http://orlando.cambridge.org/svHomePage

Here is the login information: (no caps, no spaces)

Id: womenshistory19
pw: orlando19

As always, much new material has been added this past year: just as an example, Professor Isobel Grundy has shared with me that these four near-contemporaries of Jane Austen are now part of the database (or will be added shortly):

Mary Harcourt (later Countess Harcourt) (1750-1833), who was embedded with her husband while he commanded troops in the Low Countries during the War of the First Coalition against revolutionary France, and wrote an account of her experience and her gradual development of strongly anti-war views; and

Eglantine, Lady Wallace (died 1803), a dramatist and conduct-writer, a Scots aristocrat of rather dubious respectability who got caught up in part of the same war and was very friendly with a revolutionary leader. [entry is under Eglinton Wallace].

Jane Loudon (1807-1858), who published a science fiction novel called The Mummy, unfortunately a few years too late for Austen to read it. [to be added soon]

Anna Gordon (Mrs. Brown) (1747-1810), a Scottish ballad-collector and singer. [to be added soon]

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If you are wondering about the symbol of the Oak Tree, here is the explanation from the website:

“. . . a little square book bound in red cloth fell from the breast of her leather jacket—her poem The Oak Tree.” —Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a Biography, 1928, inspires this work in literary history. Woolf’s biographical and historical fantasy explores the changing conditions of possibility for women writing in England from the time of Elizabeth I to her own day, and gives us a poet protagonist who is at work throughout the whole of this history on the composition of her poem “The Oak Tree”. The Orlando Project team sees in the oak tree a suggestion of the history of women’s writing in the British Isles, the growth of history from biography, and (in a kind of visual pun) the tree-like structure of our text encoding.

Fabulous resource – spend the month indulging in this feast of information!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

My Jane Austen Book Stash ~ From the 2016 JASNA AGM on Emma

jasnabannerThere has been a good deal to write about this year’s terrific JASNA AGM in Washington DC on Emma – but while it always takes me a good while to re-emerge into the 21st century after these events, little time has been accorded me to actually write anything about it. But I did want to give you a quick summary of the books and other “stuff” I bought this year – less than usual because I bought a DRESS and a SPENCER, which did my pocketbook some serious damage…(see the image below*).

But to the matter at hand, here are the books, etc. – most would make fine holiday gifts for your favorite Austen follower, or for your own stocking for that matter… except this first one which would not in any way fit:

  1. cover-mp-harvardJane Austen. Mansfield Park: An Annotated Edition. Edited by Deidre Shauna Lynch. Harvard UP, 2016.

Very excited to have this, completing my collection of these beautiful Harvard editions. The book was released during the AGM and thankfully Jane Austen Books had copies. I have only skimmed through it, but it promises to live up to the other Harvard editions with an insightful introduction and notes by Lynch, and color illustrations throughout that give you the sense of time, place, and history that surround the adventures of Fanny Price. A must have and a perfect holiday gift for your Austen friends (and at $35, this is the best book deal out there, bar none…)

2. Alden O’Brien, et al. ‘An Agreeable Tyrant’: Fashion after the Revolution. Exhibition Catalogue. Washington DC: DAR Museum, 2016.

The catalogue that goes along with the fabulous exhibition at the DAR Museum that many of us at the AGM werecover-agreeabletyrant-dar privileged to see. Ms. O’Brien spoke at the AGM to take us through the history behind and the creation of this fashion exhibit – complete with characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice found in the “Pemberley Room” – it runs from October 7, 2016 – April 29, 2017 and is described on the website as: “…displaying men’s and women’s clothing from 1780 to 1825 in a dozen period rooms throughout the museum. It considers how Americans fashioned a new identity through costume; on the one hand, Americans sought to be free from Europe, yet they still relied heavily on European manufacturing and materials.”

The catalogue is quite lovely, showing full page color illustrations of fashions of the time as well as photographs of costumes in the DAR Museum collection. A must-have for every good Janeite with any fashion sense and perhaps in need of a new dress idea…it also contains various patterns in the back. You can purchase the book through the Museum’s website here. And my friend Kelly has written about the exhibit on her blog Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Here are a few of my shots of the exhibit:

3. Chawton House Library – their new brochure and guide, text by Helen Cole, et al. CHL, 2016.cover-chl-db2

This is Lovely! It tells the history of the Chawton Great House, Jane Austen’s connection with it, the development of it as a learning centre for the study of early women’s writing from 1600 to 1830. There is much detail with fine illustrations of the house itself: the Library; the various rooms and staircases; exhibition and conference information; the furnishings, art and portraits; the gardens and grounds; and a bit of the history of women writers and their place in our literary heritage. For $12 you get to armchair-tour the house at leisure, and then you will add this to your next-trip-to-England itinerary, as well as a commitment to become a valued Friend of the Library (also a nice gift in a friend’s name).

[Note that the CHL online shop is currently experiencing the dreaded tech difficulties – if you would like a copy, please contact me and I will get one to you.]

chl-mary-robinson-by-hoppner

Portrait of Mary Robinson, by John Hoppner c1782 (at CHL)

Also from the Chawton House Library – their table at the AGM was jam-packed with goodies – I bought their collection of 8 botanical cards from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal (frameable!) – you can also “Adopt” this book as a way to support the Library!

blackwellcards-chl

Also couldn’t resist this book-fan “The Rules for Love,” by book artist Angela Thames from Aphra Behn’s 1686 La Montre –  (you can read about Ms. Thames as artist-in-residence at CHL here).

thames-ruleslove-ai

[Image from: a-n The Artists Information ]

cover-heyer-jasa-db4. Susannah Fullerton, Amanda Jones, and Joanna Penglase, ed. Georgette Heyer: Complete to a Shade: A Celebration. JASA, 2016.

Exactly what the title tells us and another must-have – a collection of essays from various JASA folk who have long-been or are new to the joys of reading Georgette Heyer, based on their conference on Heyer in August 2016. Complete with lovely contemporary illustrations, this was just off the press in time for the AGM – $12 (I think) – you can contact JASA for information on how to purchase.

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Alas! I was very disappointed not to find a single book on London that I didn’t already have at either of the book stalls – but did find a few oldies worth perusing:

  1. Lt. Col. W. P. Drury. A Regency Rascal. London: Collins, 1971.

The tale of Jack Peregrine, a regency rascal to say the least, who arranges a marriage of convenience for himself to helpcover-regencyrascal-db him through a financial crisis, and then finds himself the heir to an estate in Barbados – all based on the true story of Sam Lord and his Castle (most recently a hotel in Barbados*) – who cannot resist a story of such a man (Heyer couldn’t)! First published in 1937 by Hutchinson, it gives a glimpse of Regency-era life in both London and the Colonies. Will see if it lives up to the hype… [*The property was run as an exquisite hotel for many years but unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 2010 – it is currently being reconstructed and will open in 2018 as a Wyndham Grand Resort. The 450-room resort will feature 3 restaurants, meeting facilities and a luxury spa] – sign me up!

samlordscastle-barbados

Sam Lord’s Castle, Barbados, pre-fire

  1. J. Fairfax Blakeborough, ed. Legends of Highwaymen and Others. New York: Frederick Stokes, 1924.

Just because I am a sucker for carriages and highwaymen tales!

legends-page13-db

(now, doesn’t that peak your interest just a little?)

  1. Hazel Mews. Frail Vessels: Woman’s Role in Women’s Novels from Fanny Burney to George Eliot. U of London: Athlone Press, 1969.cover-frailvessels-dbWhy not? – adds to my collection on women writers – but it also had an inscription that I first thought read “Catherine Morland” and that cracked me up – heavy reading for Catherine! (it reads on close analysis “Catherine R. Harland”).

cover-ss-trollope-ab

8. Joanna Trollope. Sense and Sensibility. New York: HarperCollins, 2013.

Only because I haven’t read this first of the Austen Project retellings and my Vermont Jane Austen book group has scheduled an S&S re-read this year and thought we would try this to compare…(though I know we will likely be gravely disappointed…)

 

9.  Jack and Holman Wang. Jane Austen’s Emma [Cozy Classics]. Chronicle Books, 2013.

This to add to my other board books, and a generous gift from the author. He attended my talk on “Illustrating Emma” and I could not have been more embarrassed to have not included this cover in my talk! (caveat: I did not include any of the covers of the many recent renditions due to lack of time – I have added them to the talk for those times where I can speak longer than the time-constrained AGM) – so with hearty apologies to Mr. Wang – this is of course a simply delightful addition to anyone’s Austen collection!

cover-emma-cozyclassics

 

  1. cover-ladycyclingErskine, Miss F. J. Lady Cycling: What to Wear and How to Ride. The British Library, 2014. Originally published by Walter Scott in 1897.

I have a friend who recently gave a talk on women and bicycles and my daughter is an avid cyclist – I bought this at The Folger Library shop (there seeing the simply amazing Will & Jane exhibit) as a gift but am now loth to give it away! Women and bicycles have an interesting joint history – here is a worthy account of the whole phenomenon here: http://www.annielondonderry.com/womenWheels.html

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So, as usual, I have my reading cut out for me – I would love to hear what YOU bought at the AGM this year

*and here is my new costume – I am with my Good Buddy Marcia, who is wearing a Regency dress for the FIRST TIME!! (we bought our fabulous fashions at Matti’s Millinery & Costumes (visit their site here and have fun shopping!)

agm-marcia-deb-db

C2016 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Women’s Writing Database “Orlando” ~ Free for the Month of March!

Orlando_tree-_blue_transparentOrlando, the subscription database from Cambridge University Press on “Women’s Writings in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present” – is available for free for Women’s History Month thoughout March.

The Orlando Project “provides entries on authors’ lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies.”

You can access sit here:  http://orlando.cambridge.org/

Login: womenshistory2016
PW: orlando2016

If you are wondering about the symbol of the Oak Tree, here is the explanation from the website:

“. . . a little square book bound in red cloth fell from the breast of her leather jacket—her poem The Oak Tree.” —Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a Biography, 1928, inspires this work in literary history. Woolf’s biographical and historical fantasy explores the changing conditions of possibility for women writing in England from the time of Elizabeth I to her own day, and gives us a poet protagonist who is at work throughout the whole of this history on the composition of her poem “The Oak Tree”. The Orlando Project team sees in the oak tree a suggestion of the history of women’s writing in the British Isles, the growth of history from biography, and (in a kind of visual pun) the tree-like structure of our text encoding.

Fabulous resource – spend the month indulging in this feast of information!

c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont

Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour: Your Gaskell Library

 

Welcome to the 14th stop on today’s celebration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday – September 29, 1810!  Please join me in this blog tour honoring Gaskell as 15 bloggers, under the direction of Laurel Ann at Austenprose, each post something related to Gaskell – a look at her life and times, book reviews, movie reviews, a tour to her home in Manchester [see at the bottom of this post for the links to the various posts on the blog tour], and my post on “Your Gaskell Library” ~  where to find Gaskell in print, online, on your iPhone,  on your iPod, and on film – she is Everywhere!  By the end of the tour you will know more about Gaskell than you thought possible and be the better for it!!  There is also the opportunity to win a Naxos recording of North and South by just making a comment on any of the blogs.  Enjoy yourself as we all wish a hearty Happy Birthday to Mrs. Gaskell!

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I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is,
even at the worst time of all,
when I had no hope of ever calling her mine…

North and South
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865) is best known to us as the author of the then-controversial biography of Charlotte Bronte, where she laid bare the oddities of the Bronte household, publicizing the behavior of the semi-mad father and the destructive life and affairs of the son. But Gaskell was a well-respected and popular author in her own day; we have been seeing a resurgence of that popularity with the broadcast of Wives & Daughters (1999), North & South (2004) [the film that rocketed Richard Armitage to fame, and rightly so!], and Cranford (2007, 2009). So I give a very brief review of her life and works [this was originally posted here], followed by a select bibliography. 

Born in Cheshire to William Stevenson, a Unitarian minister, Elizabeth was raised by her aunt, the sister of her mother who died shortly after her birth.  The town of Knutsford and the country life she experienced there became her setting in Cranford and her “Hollingford” in North & South.  She married William Gaskell of Manchester, also a Unitarian minister, in 1832, had four daughters and one son, who died in infancy.  The loss of her son had a devastating effect on her and to keep herself from sinking into an ever-deeper depression, she took pen in hand and started to write.  She published her first book Mary Barton in 1848 (using the pseudonym Cotton Mather Mills), though there is some speculation that she actually started to write Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) first but put it aside to write the more socially conscious Mary Barton.  Gaskell, according to Lucy Stebbins, was chiefly concerned with the ethical question of ”The Lie”, i.e. a belief that “deception was the greatest obstacle to the sympathetic understanding which was her panacea for individual and class quarrels.” (1)  This reconciliation between individuals of different classes and between the wider world of masters and workers was her hope for humanity and it was this zeal that often led her into false sentiment in her novels and stories.(2)  But because she saw both sides of the labor question and pitied both the oppressor and the oppressed, she was thus able to portray with often explicit candor the realities of her world.  But Stebbins also says that life was too kind to her as a woman to make her a great artist.  Her tales of vengeance and remorse were written more to satisfy public taste, after she started publishing in Dickens’ Household Words.  And David Cecil calls Gaskell “a typical Victorian woman….a wife and mother”….he emphasizes her femininity, which he says gives her the strengths of her detail and a “freshness of outlook” in her portrayals of the country gentry, while at the same time this femininity limits her imagination.  In comparing her to Jane Austen, Cecil writes: 

         It is true Mrs. Gaskell lived a narrow life, but Jane Austen, living a life just as narrow, was able to make works of major art out of it.  Jane Austen…was a woman of very abnormal penetration and intensity of genius. ….. [Gaskell] cannot, as Jane Austen did, make one little room an everywhere; pierce through the surface facts of a village tea-party to reveal the universal laws of human conduct that they illustrate.  If she [Gaskell] writes about a village tea-party, it is just a village tea-party…(3) 

   Cecil is critical of her melodrama, her “weakness for a happy ending”, her overlong works that lack imagination and passion.  But he does credit her four major works (Sylvia’s Lovers, Cranford, Wives & Daughters, and Cousin Phillis) as classic and worthy English domestic novels.  

[Cranford, illustrated by Hugh Thomson.  London : Macmillan, 1891..
This copy is also available at the Illustrated Cranford site. ]

Anne Thackeray Ritchie, in her introduction to Cranford, published in 1891, also compares Gaskell to Austen, and finds the latter lacking: 

Cranford is farther removed from the world, and yet more attuned to its larger interests than Meryton or Kellynch or Hartfield….Drumble, the great noisy manufacturing town, is its metropolis, not Bath with its successions of card parties and Assembly Rooms.” …. and on love, “there is more real feeling in these few signs of what once was, than in all the Misses Bennett’s youthful romances put together…only Miss Austen’s very sweetest heroines (including her own irresistible dark-eyed self, in her big cap and faded kerchief) are worthy of this old place….”  and later, “it was because she had written Mary Barton that some deeper echoes reach us in Cranford than are to be found in any of Jane Austen’s books, delightful though they be. (4) 

Margaret Lane in her wonderful book of essays on biography, Purely for Pleasure [which also includes the essay “Jane Austen’s Sleight-of-hand”], has two essays on Mrs. Gaskell.  Lane calls her one of the greatest novelists of the time, and especially praises Wives & Daughters over Cranford for its stature, sympathies, mature grasp of character and its humour, and its effect of “creating the illusion of a return to a more rigid but also more stable and innocent world than ours” and we feel refreshed in spirit after a reading. (5) 

Wives & Daughters, Gaskell’s last work, and considered her finest, was published as a serial novel in Cornhill, the last unfinished part appearing in January 1866.  Gaskell had literally dropped dead in the middle of a spoken sentence at the age of 55, and the work remained unfinished, with only a long note from the Cornhill editor following the last serial installment.  Wives and Daughters tells the story of Molly Gibson and her new stepsister Cynthia, and their coming of age in the male-dominated mid-Victorian society of “Hollingford.” 

But it is Lane’s essay on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” in which she so highly praises Gaskell’s achievement in her biography of Charlotte Bronte.  While Gaskell obviously suppressed some facts (the letters to M. Heger) and exaggerated others (Mr. Bronte as a father and Branwell as a son), Lane says “her great biography remains a stirring and noble work, one of the first in our language…. and it is in essence ‘truer’ than anything about the Brontes which has been written since…”(6) 

Such contrary opinions!…certainly reminiscent of Austen’s admirers and critics!   Perhaps as Pam Morris says in her introduction to W&D, “Gaskell resists any simple categorization…her work ranges across the narrative forms of realism and fairytale, protest fiction and pastoralism, melodrama and the domestic novel.”(7) 

_______________________________________ 

Notes:
1.  Lucy Poate Stebbins. A Victorian Album: Some lady Novelists of the Period (Columbia, 1946) p. 96.
2.  Ibid.
3.  David Cecil.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation (Chicago, 1962) p. 187.
4.  Anne Thackeray Ritchie.  Preface to Cranford (Macmillan, 1927) pp. vii, xix.
5.  Margaret Lane.  Purely for Pleasure (Hamish Hamilton, 1966)  p. 153.
6.  Ibid, p. 170.
7.  Pam Morris.  Introduction to Wives and Daughters (Penguin, 2001) p. vii. 
                                                            *****************

I append below a “Select Bibliography” of Gaskell’s works, biographies and critical works, as well as links to what can be found online, iPhone, audio, and film – and most everything Gaskell wrote IS available.  Many of her writings were originally published in the periodicals of the day, such as Howitt’s Journal, Sartain’s Union Magazine, Harper’s Monthly Magazine, Dickens’s Household Words and All the Year Round, and Cornhill Magazine; and many of these writings were later published in collections of tales. And, like Dickens, some of her novels were originally published in serial form [Cranford, North and South, Wives and Daughters].  I list below the novels as first published in book form, a list of short stories and essays with date of original appearance in print, and a list of current editions you can find in your local bookstore [I list only the Oxford, Penguin and Broadview editions – there are many others and reprints of all kinds – best to look for an edition with a good introduction and notes.]  There is a lot of information here, with links to even more information available on the web – there is no lack of writing on Mrs. Gaskell! – But what I really want to emphasize are her short stories, which often get lost in the hoopla about her major novels – there are many as you will see, with links appended – try some – you will not be disappointed!  

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Bibliography: Selected list   [see links below for more complete bibliographies] 

Works:  Books, Short Story Collections 

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1848; 1 volume, New York: Harper, 1848.
  2. Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras: A Lancashire Tale. London: Hamilton, Adams, 1850.
  3. The Moorland Cottage. London: Chapman & Hall, 1850; New York: Harper, 1851.
  4. Ruth: A Novel. 3 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; 1 volume, Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.  
  5. Cranford. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; New York: Harper, 1853.
  6. Hand and Heart; and Bessy’s Troubles at Home.  London:  Chapman and Hall, 1855.
  7. Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales. London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; Philadelphia: Hardy, 1869.
  8. North and South. 2 vols.  London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1855.
  9. The Life of Charlotte Brontë; Author of “Jane Eyre,” “Shirley,” “Villette” etc.. 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1857; New York: Appleton, 1857.
  10. My Lady Ludlow, A Novel. New York: Harper, 1858;  republished as Round the Sofa. 2 vols. London: Low, 1859.
  11. Right at Last, and Other Tales.  London: Low, 1860; New York: Harper, 1860.
  12. Lois the Witch and Other Tales. Leipzig: Tauchnitz 1861.
  13. Sylvia’s Lovers.  3 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; 1 vol. New York: Dutton, 1863.
  14. A Dark Night’s Work.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; New York: Harper, 1863.
  15. Cousin Phillis: A Tale. New York: Harper, 1864; republished as Cousin Phillis and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865.
  16. The Grey Woman and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865; New York: Harper, 1882.
  17. Wives and Daughters: An Every-Day Story.  2 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1866; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1866.

 

Works:  Short Stories and Essays [in order of publication] – most of these are available online at The Gaskell Web, Project Gutenberg, IPhone (Stanza – Munsey’s), etc. 

  1. On Visiting the Grave of my Stillborn Little Girl (1837)
  2. Sketches Among the Poor, No.1 (1837)
  3. Notes on Cheshire Customs (1839)
  4. Description of Clopton Hall (1840)
  5. Life In Manchester:  Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (1847)
  6. The Sexton’s hero (1847)
  7. Emerson’s lectures (1847) [attributed]
  8. Christmas Storms and Sunshine (1848)
  9. Hand and Heart (1849)
  10. The Last Generation in England (1849)
  11. Martha Preston (1850) – re-written as “Half a Lifetime Ago”
  12. Lizzie Leigh  (1850)
  13. The Well of Pen-Morfa (1850)
  14. The Heart of John Middleton (1850)
  15. Mr. Harrison’s Confessions (1851)
  16. Disappearances (1851)
  17. Our Society in Cranford (1851)
  18. A Love Affair at Cranford (1852)
  19. Bessy’s Troubles at Home (1852)
  20. Memory at Cranford (1852)
  21. Visiting at Cranford (1852)
  22. The Shah’s English Gardener (1852)
  23. The Old Nurse’s Story (1852)
  24. Cumberland Sheep Shearers (1853)
  25. The Great Cranford Panic (1853)
  26. Stopped Payment at Cranford (1853)
  27. Friends in Need (1853)
  28. A Happy Return to Cranford (1853)
  29. Bran (1853)
  30. Morton Hall (1853)
  31. Traits and Stories of the Huguenots (1853)
  32. My French Master (1853)
  33. The Squire’s Story (1853)
  34. The Scholar’s Story (1853)
  35. Uncle Peter (1853)
  36. Modern Greek Songs (1854)
  37. Company Manners (1854)
  38. An Accursed race (1855)
  39. Half a lifetime Ago (1855) [see above “Martha Preston”]
  40. The Poor Clare (1856)
  41. The Siege of the Black Cottage (1857) – attributed
  42. Preface to Maria Susanna Cummins Mabel Vaughan (1857)
  43. The Doom of the Griffiths (1858)
  44. An Incident at Niagara Falls (1858)
  45. The Sin of a Father (1858) – re-titled Right at Last in collection
  46. The Manchester Marriage (1858)
  47. The Half-Brothers (1859) – in Round the Sofa collection
  48. Lois the Witch (1859)
  49. The Ghost in the Garden Room (1859) – re-titled “The Crooked Branch” in Right at Last collection
  50. Curious if True (1860)
  51. The Grey Woman (1861)
  52. Preface to C. Augusto Vecchi, Garibladi at Caprera (1862)
  53. Six Weeks at Heppenheim (1862)
  54. Shams (1863)
  55. An Italian Institution (1863)
  56. The Cage at Cranford (18863)
  57. Obituary of Robert Gould Shaw (1863)
  58. How the First Floor Went to Crowley Castle (1863)
  59. French Life (1864)
  60. Some Passages from the History of the Chomley Family (1864)
  61. Columns of Gossip from Paris (1865)
  62. A Parson’s Holiday (1865)
  63. Two Fragments of Ghost Stories [n.d]

Works ~ Collections: 

  • The Works of Mrs. Gaskell, Knutsford Edition, edited by A. W. Ward. 8 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1906-1911.
  • The Novels and Tales of Mrs. Gaskell, edited by C. K. Shorter. 11 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1906-1919.
  • The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell, ed. Joanne Shattuck, et.al.  10 vols.  London:  Pickering and Chatto, 2005-2006.  Click here for more info on this set.

Currently in print ~ Individual Works and Collections: [only the Penguin, Oxford and Broadview Press editions are noted here – there are a number of available editions of Gaskell’s individual works – search on Abebooks, Amazon, or visit your local bookseller; and there are any number of older and out-of-print editions available at these same sources!]

  • Cousin Phillis and Other Stories.  Intro by Heather Glen. Oxford, 2010.
  • Cranford.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin 2009; intro by Charlotte Mitchell.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Elizabeth Langland.  Broadview, 2010.
  • Gothic Tales. Intro by Laura Kranzler.  Penguin 2001.
  • Life of Charlotte Bronte.  Intro by Elizabeth Jay.  Penguin 1998; Intro by Angus Easson.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Mary Barton.  Intro by MacDonald Daly.  Penguin, 1997; Intro by Shirley Foster.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Jennifer Foster.  Broadview, 2000.
  • North and South.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin, 1996; Intro by Sally Shuttleworth.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Ruth.  Intro by Angus Easson.  Penguin, 1998; Intro by Alan Shelston.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Sylvia’s lovers.  Intro by Shirley Foster.  Penguin, 1997;  Intro by Andrew Sanders.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Wives and Daughters.  Intro by Pam Morris.  Penguin, 1997


What’s Gaskell Worth Now?

Austen’s works show up at auction fairly regularly, but what about Gaskell – how does she compare to the high prices that Austen’s first editions command?  There is an upcoming Sotheby’s auction set for October 28 in London:  The Library of an English Bibliophile, Part I – all of Austen’s first editions are in the sale with high-end estimates; there are three Gaskell titles in the sale, so this gives a good idea of value:

  • Mary Barton.  London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.  First edition.  est. 4,000 – 6,000 GBP
  • Ruth.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1853.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP
  • North and South.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1855.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP.

 Letters / Diaries: 

  • Chapple, J.A.V. and Arthur Pollard, eds.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Chapple, J. A.V.; assisted by by J. G. Sharpes. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester: 1980.
  • Chapple, John and Alan Shelston, eds. Further Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.
  • Chapple J. A. V. and Anita Wilson, eds.  Private Voices: the Diaries of Elizabeth Gaskell and Sophia Holland.  Keele:  Keele UP, 1996.
  • Whitehill, Jane, ed.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton, 1855-1865.  London: Oxford UP: 1932.

Bibliographies: 

  • Selig, R. L.  Elizabeth Gaskell; A Reference Guide.  Boston: G.K. Hall, 1977.
  • Jeffery Welch, Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1929-75. New York: Garland, 1977.
  • Weyant, Nancy S.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1976-1991. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1994.
  • ______________.   Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Guide to English Language Sources, 1992-2001.  Metuchen, NJ:  Scarecrow, 2004. 
    See also Weyant’s online Supplement, 2002-2010 [updated semi-annually]
  • See the Gaskell Web page for an online bibliography

Biographies: 

  • Chapple, John.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1980.
  • ___________. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1997.
  • Easson, Angus.  Elizabeth Gaskell. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979.
  • Ffrench, Yvonne.  Mrs. Gaskell.  London:  Home & Van Thal, 1949.
  • Foster, Shirley.  Elizabeth Gaskell:  A Literary Life.  Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
  • Gerin, Winifred. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
  • Handley, Graham.  An Elizabeth Gaskell Chronology.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  • Hopkins, Annette Brown. Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Work. London: Lehmann, 1952.
  • Pollard, Arthur.  Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Uglow, Jenny.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories. London: Faber and Faber, 1993.
  • Unsworth, Anna.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Independent Woman.  London:  Minerva, 1996.

Studies: 

  • Barry, James Donald. “Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell,” in Victorian Fiction: A Second Guide to Research, edited by George H. Ford. New York: MLA, 1978.
  • Beer, P. Reader, I Married Him. . . . London: Macmillan, 1974.
  • Cecil, David.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation.  Chicago, 1962.
  • Craik, W. A.  Elizabeth Gaskell and the English Provincial Novel. London: Methuen, 1975.
  • Easson, Angus, ed.  Elizabeth Gaskell: The Critical Heritage.  London, 1992.
  • Ganz, Margaret. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Artist in Conflict. New York: Twayne, 1969.
  • Lane, Margaret.  Purely for Pleasure.  London: Hamish Hamilton, 1966.  See chapters on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” and “Mrs. Gaskell:  Wives and Daughters’.
  • Lansbury, Coral. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Novel of Social Crisis.  London:  Paul Elek, 1975.
  • Lucas, John. “Mrs. Gaskell and Brotherhood,” in Tradition and Tolerance in Nineteenth Century Fiction, by D. Howard, J. Lucas, and J. Goode. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966.
  • Matus, Jill L. The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007.
  • Morris, Pam.  “Introduction to Wives and Daughters”.  New York: Penguin, 2001.
  • Ritchie, Anne Thackeray.  “Preface to Cranford”.  New Edition.  London: Macmillan, 1907.
  • Rubenius, Aina.  The Woman Question in Mrs. Gaskell’s Life and Work.  Uppsala: Lundequist ; Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1950; reprinted by Russell and Russell in 1973.
  • Sharps, John Geoffrey Sharps. Mrs. Gaskell’s Observation and Invention: A Study of the Non-Biographic Works.  London: Linden, 1970.
  • Spencer, Jane.  Elizabeth Gaskell.  London: Macmillan, 1993.
  • Stebbins, Lucy Poate. A Victorian Album: Some Lady Novelists of the Period.  New York: Columbia UP, 1946.
  • Wright, Edgar. Mrs. Gaskell: The Basis for Reassessment.  London: Oxford UP, 1965.

Papers: 

Links:  

 

Ebooks:  

  1. Mary Barton
  2. North & South
  3. Cranford 
  4. Wives & Daughters  
  5. Life of Charlotte Bronte
  1. An Accursed Race
  2. Cousin Phillis
  3. Cranford
  4. Curious, if True Strange Tales
  5. A Dark Night’s Work
  6. Doom of the Griffiths
  7. The Grey Woman and other Tales
  8. Half a Life-Time Ago
  9. The Half-Brothers
  10. A House to Let
  11. Life of Charlotte Brontë — Volume 1
  12. Life of Charlotte Bronte — Volume 2
  13. Lizzie Leigh
  14. Mary Barton
  15. The Moorland Cottage
  16. My Lady Ludlow
  17. North and South
  18. The Poor Clare
  19. Round the Sofa
  20. Ruth
  21. Sylvia’s Lovers — Complete 
  22. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 1 
  23. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 2
  24. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 3
  25. Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages (as Contributor)
  26. Wives and Daughters  
  1. Cranford    
  2. Dark Night’s Work, A
  3. Doom of the Griffiths, The
  4. Half a Life-Time Ago
  5. Lizzie Leigh
  6. Mary Barton    
  7. My Lady Ludlow
  8. Poor Clare, The
  9. Wives And Daughters    
  10. An Accursed Race
  11. Half-Brothers, The    

Ebook editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders: 

  • The [Kindle] Works of Elizabeth Gaskell – at Amazon, for $3.99 you can download most of her works to your Kindle; but if you search further, there are several free downloads of the individual novels, and other various collections; review the contents before selecting.
  • Barnes & Noble:  same as Amazon, some collections for $3.99, many free options.
  • Borders:  has various similar options 

iPhone Apps:   

Whatever you use for books on your iPhone, there are plenty of free Gaskells available.  I use Stanza, which is a free app [there are many others – visit your iTunes store and search “books” under Apps and see what I mean!], and from there you can choose the following: Feedbooks has several; Project Gutenberg has the same as online noted above; but Munsey’s takes first prize for having the most – seems to have all the novels and stories as best I can make out – so if you are stranded at an airport or in stopped traffic, what better way to pass the time than a Gaskell short story?! 
 

Audiobooks:  

  1. Cousin Phillis (unabridged)
  2. Cranford (unabridged)
  3. North and South (abridged)
  4. North and South (unabridged)
  5. Wives and Daughters (unabridged)
  6. Wives and Daughters (abridged)
  • Silksounds:  has only My Lady Ludlow, read by Susannah York  [very good!]
  • CSA Word:  Best of Women’s Short Stories, vol. 1& 2.  Read by Harriet Walter [a.k.a. Fanny Dashwood] Includes Gaskell’s “Right at Last” and “The Half Brothers”; CSA Word also has an abridged version of Mary Barton [read by Maggie Ollerenshaw] and North and South [read by Jenny Agutter].
  • LibriVox:
  1. North & South
  2. Other Gaskell works in various states of completion 


Movies:
 [see the various blog posts listed below for movie reviews]

  1. Wives & Daughters (1999)
  2. North & South (2004) – with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe ~ sigh!
  3. North & South (1975)  – with Patrick Stewart and Rosalind Shanks
  4. Cranford (1972) 
  5. Cranford  / Return to Cranford (2007, 2009)
  6. Cousin Phillis (1982)
  7. The Gaskell Collection – DVDs  – includes 7 discs:  W&D, N&S, CRANFORD and all special features.

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Well, there’s a fine list for winter reading, listening and viewing! And somewhere in the middle of all that, treat yourself to a re-watch of Armitage in North and South! [and then of course READ it again … here is a link to an older blog post about the book and movie

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This is a rather quick list of goodies – if any of you know of a particular edition of a book, or an ebook, or an audio edition you particularly like, or a movie that I do not mention, please let me know so I can add it to the list – thank you! 

Follow this link to to the next blog on the Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour by Tony Grant at London Calling:  Plymouth Grove – A Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester

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The Gaskell Blog Tour:  Here is the complete tour through the 15 blog posts celebrating Gaskell’s Birthday today: and remember that one lucky commenter will win a copy of an unabridged edition of North and South by Naxos AudioBooks read by Clare Willie. That’s 18 hours of Margaret Hale and John Thornton sparring and sparking in Gaskell’s most acclaimed work.  Here is a list of participants. You can visit them in any order and all comments during the contest will count toward your chance to win. Good luck and Happy Birthday Mrs. Gaskell!

Biography

Novels/Biography

Novellas

Resources

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

[Posted by Deb]

Austen on the Block ~ Bloomsbury Auctions

Bloomsbury Auctions-New York  announces the exhibition and auction of

 

The Paula Peyraud Collection, Samuel Johnson

and

 Women Writers in Georgian Society

 

 

Wednesday, 6 May, 2009 • 10:00 am

 

Bloomsbury Auctions, the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper, announces The Paula Peyraud Collection, Samuel Johnson and Women Writers in Georgian Society with over 480 lots of books, manuscripts and paintings tells the fascinating story of English society in the middle and late Georgian periods. This extraordinary sale focuses on the artistic and literary women who came to the fore in the period 1750-1840.

 

 

 

 A highlight in the sale are the following five titles from Jane Austen: 

bloomsbury-auction-austen

  • Emma-1816- 3 volumes: $8,000-12,000
  • Mansfield Park-1814- 3 volumes: $7,000-10,000
  • Northanger Abbey-1818- 4 volumes: $5,000-8,000
  • Pride and Prejudice-1813- 3 volumes Carysfort copy: $20,000-30,000
  • Sense and Sensibility-1811- 3 volumes: $25,000-35,000 

 

There are a total of 483 lots for sale, to comprise books, autograph letters, engravings and watercolors of the era:  Johnson and Boswell, and Walpole, etc., and many women writers are represented:  Frances Burney, Maria Edgewoth, Hannah More, Hester Thrale Piozzi, Charlotte Lennox, Charlotte Smith, Charlotte Bronte, Ann Radcliffe, Marguerite Blessington, to name a few.

 

 

And see this watercolor of Elizabeth Bridges, Austen’s sister-in-law:

elizabeth-bridges-watercolor

Bloomsbury Auction - May 6, 2009 Lot No.127

 

127. [AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817)] – Thomas Hazlehurst (1740 – 1821). Portrait miniature of Elizabeth Bridges Knight wearing a white dress with a blue ribbon tied under corsage. Watercolor on ivory, oval.
2 1/2 x 2 inches (6.5 x 5 cm).
Initialed “T.H.” (lower right).
A fine portrait miniature of Jane Austen’s sister in law, Elizabeth Bridges (1773-1808) who married Edward Austen, the brother of Jane Austen. Edward took the name of his second cousin Mr. Knight on inheriting in 1812 his estates in Kent at Godmersham Park. They had 11 children.
This lot sold with an uncolored print of Godmersham Park by Watts.
Literature: Country Life. 27 July 1987, ill. p.111.  Est. $2000 – 3000.

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Location:  Bloomsbury Auction Gallery, 6 West 48th Street New York 10019

Viewing hours:  

  • Friday May 1- By appointment
  • Saturday May 2- 10-5 p.m.
  • Monday May 4- 10-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday May 5- 10-5 p.m.

Bloomsbury Auctions is the world’s leading auction house for rare books and works on paper and is headquartered in London with salerooms in New York and Rome.

 

 For further information call Bloomsbury:  212-719-1000 or email at newyork@bloomsburyauctions.com

 

You can view the full catalogue at the Bloomsbury website.