Posts Tagged ‘Deirdre Le Faye’
Posted in Austen Literary History & Criticism, Books, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Circle, Jane Austen's Letters, literature, Publishing History, tagged Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Letters, Literary History, Pride & Prejudice, Publishing History on January 4, 2013 | 7 Comments »
In March of this year, I wrote a post on the auction of an “imaginary” portrait of Jane Austen, one of the portraits that Deirdre Le Faye wrote about in her article for the Jane Austen Society Report 2007, pp. 42-52. This portrait sold at the Bonham’s March 29, 2011 auction and the image copyright became the right of the new owner.
Dr. Paula Byrne, author of a number of Austen scholarly articles, her book Jane Austen and the Theatre [fabulous read!], and her forthcoming biography of Austen [The Real Jane Austen], is going to broadcast “Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait?” on BBC Two on December 26 about the validity of this portrait, and if this illusive image might indeed be Jane Austen. Here is the press release on the upcoming broadcast … and an illustration of the portrait, with permission of Dr. Byrne.
[Image from JAS Report for 2007. The copyright of the portrait now belongs to Paula Byrne.]
From the BBC:
BBC Two follows academic’s investigation into possible
unknown portrait of Jane Austen
This month, BBC Two follows a British academic as she unveils a portrait that may be one of the only remaining images of Jane Austen. In a one-off special, Martha Kearney follows the search to find out whether an unusual drawn portrait really does capture the face of the well-loved author.
Will the picture stand up to forensic analysis and scrutiny by art historians and Austen experts? And if it does, how might it change our perception of one of Britain’s most revered writers? Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? (9pm, Mon 26 Dec, BBC Two) follows the investigation behind one of the literary world’s most exciting art works.
Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two: “Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? will sit at the heart of our Christmas schedule and will be a fascinating chance for the BBC Two audience to delve deeper into the life of one of Britain’s best-loved authors.”
Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated writers of all time but with only a rough sketch by her sister we have just an inkling of what she may have looked like. Austen academic and biographer Dr Paula Byrne thinks that this may be about to change. She believes that she’s discovered a portrait of the author that has been lost for nearly two centuries and may offer fascinating new insight into how Jane once lived and portrayed herself to the world.
Paula Byrne: “If this really is an authentic portrait of Jane Austen, it has the potential to change our image of her for ever — instead of the prim spinster of Cassandra’s unfinished sketch, here is a professional writer at the height of her powers.”
Martha follows Paula’s search to gather as much evidence as possible in her quest to prove that she really may hold one of the rarest literary portraits of all time. From eighteenth century costume experts to the editor of Jane Austen’s letters, Paula must interrogate as many experts as possible to build a case for why this really might be Jane. After months of research, she presents the portrait to three of the world’s most prominent Austen experts. Will she be able to convince them that it really is as authentic as it seems?
Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? airs at 9pm, Monday 26th December, BBC Two and is one of two films commissioned by the BBC Arts department to celebrate the life and work of one of our greatest authors this Christmas.
The programme was commissioned by Janice Hadlow (Controller, BBC Two) and Mark Bell (Commissioning Editor for Arts) and will be executive produced by Liz Hartford for Seneca Productions and Adam Barker for BBC Knowledge. The director is Neil Crombie.
from: Victoria Asare-Archer, Publicist, BBC
You can read more about it at Dr. Byrne’s website here.
But alas! we on this side of the pond, who must live without the BBC Two, will just have to wait …
Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont
Up for auction on March 29, 2011 – Papers and Portraits, Bonham’s London, an imaginary portrait of Jane Austen.
From the catalogue:
Lot No: 6 - A Portrait of Jane Austen BY AN UNKNOWN ARTIST, half-length, wash and pencil, highlighted with chalk, on vellum, inscribed on the verso in a small contemporary hand ‘Miss Jane Austin’ (sic) and with the location or inventory number ‘A76′, contemporary gilt frame with attached identification label ‘Jane Austen B. 1775 – D. 1817′, chalk numbers on verso of frame ’166 8234′ and inscribed on the old backing board in an early nineteenth-century hand ‘Price £3-3s 0d Frame £0 5s 0d.’ and with chalk mark ‘A68′, size of image 5¾ x c. 4½ inches (14. 5 x c. 12 cm), overall size 11¾ x 10½ inches (30 x 27 cm), no date [but ?1818]
Estimate: £1,000 – 2,000, € 1,200 – 2,400
Footnote: THIS IS THE EARLIEST OF THE SO-CALLED ‘IMAGINARY’ PORTRAITS OF JANE AUSTEN, thus listed by Deirdre Le Faye in her article ‘Imaginary Portraits of Jane Austen’ in Jane Austen Society Report, 2007, pp. 42-52 (a copy of which is included with the lot).
Le Faye suggests that the portrait ‘could be as early as 1818′, one year after Austen’s death. Le Faye comments: ‘This might well be a creation by the Revd William Jones (1777-1821), curate and vicar of Broxbourne and Hoddesdon – or if not him, someone with very similar interests. On 17th April 1818 Mr Jones confided to his diary: “Whenever I am much ‘taken with’ an author, I generally draw his or her likeness in my own fancy…” The artist, whoever he/she may have been, seems to have read Henry’s “Biographical Notice [of the Author", by Jane Austen's brother Henry in the four-volumes of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in 1817] and invented the portrait accordingly, depicting a thin, large-nosed, well-dressed middle-aged lady set against a background of a swagged curtain, classical columns, and cathedral tower. She is sitting at a small round table, quill and notebook in hand and with eyes upraised apparently seeking literary inspiration from the heavens. The elements of the portrait are symbolic – her closely-fitting long-sleeved dress suggests sober respectability; and her various rings and necklaces demonstrate likewise that she was well off, not a poor hack writer starving in a garret. The sleeping cat on the table beside her implies spinsterhood – a pet instead of a child – and the cathedral tower in the background, vaguely reminiscent of Canterbury, harks back to Henry’s statement in his last paragraph that “She was thoroughly religious and devout.”‘
Jane Austen was noted for wearing caps, largely out of fashion by the time of this portrait, as her niece Caroline Austen noted: ‘She always wore a cap – Such was the custom with ladies who were not quite young…I never saw her without one…either morning or evening’ (G.H. Tucker, Jane Austen the Woman, 1994, p. 10). Jane Austen herself commented that wearing a cap ‘saves me a world of torment as to hair-dressing’.
There is no professional portrait of Jane Austen and the only authentic representation of her is a watercolour sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra, probably about 1810, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery; it was described by R.W. Chapman as a ‘disappointing scratch’ (Jane Austen: Facts and Problems, 1946, p. 212).
In this cataloguer’s view the present portrait goes beyond Henry Austen’s description of his sister in catching Austen family characteristics, including the somewhat elongated large nose and somewhat pointed chin. The sitter is clearly above middle height (Henry said ‘It could not have been increased without exceeding the middle height’) and thin, as was Jane Austen. Despite what is stated above by Deirdre Le Faye, Henry Austen did not mention in his account that his sister was thin and large-nosed. Mrs Beckford, a friend of Jane’s, however, described her in a letter as ‘a tall thin spare person…the face by no means so broad & plump as represented…’ (Tucker, op. cit., pp. 11-12).
[An image of the Portrait can be found in the JAS Report 2007, opp. p 64, as well as the Bonham's catalogue linked above; the text is from Bonhams catalogue]
With thanks to Marsha and Kerri for the information.
Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum at Jane Austen in Vermont
Posted in Austen Literary History & Criticism, Books, Jane Austen, JASNA, literature, Publishing History, tagged Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen, Jane Austen's Letters, Sense and Sensibility on January 5, 2011 | 7 Comments »
Sense and Sensibility was first published in October 1811, hence all manner of this 200 year anniversary celebration will be literally taking over the world, or at least the blog-sphere world, for this entire year! [See the JASNA site for information on the next AGM in October in Fort Worth]
There are already a number of blog events in place [I will be posting on these shortly], but I hope this year at Jane Austen in Vermont to do a number of posts on S&S, starting with its very interesting publishing history. So today, Part I – a compilation of what Jane Austen wrote in her letters about her first published work – there is not as much as on Pride & Prejudice or Mansfield Park and Emma, but she did make a number of comments that are worth noting. The upcoming Part II will outline the details of its publication and how it was received by her contemporaries. [You can also re-visit my previous posts on “Travel in S&S” – Part I, Part II, and Part III, and more to come regarding the types of carriages in use during Austen’s time.]
Note that all references in the letters are to: Deirdre Le Faye, ed. Jane Austen’s Letters. 3rd Edition. NY: Oxford, 1997, c1995.
Jane Austen on Sense & Sensibility:
Ltr. 71. 25 April 1811, to Cassandra, from Sloane St, London
No indeed, I am never too busy to think of S&S. I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her suckling child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries. I have had two sheets to correct, but the last only brings us to W.s [Willoughby] first appearance. Mrs. K [Mrs. Knight, Edward’s adoptive aunt] regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till May, but I have scarcely a hope of its being out in June. – Henry does not neglect it; he has hurried the Printer, & says he will see him again today. – It will not stand still during his absence, it will be sent to Eliza. – The Incomes remain as they were, but I will get them altered if I can. – I am very much gratified by Mrs. K.s interest in it; & whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable. I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.
[Note: S&S was actually not published until 23 October 1811]
Ltr. 79. 29 Jan 1813, to Cassandra, from Chawton
[Talking about P&P after its publication] – I have lopt & cropt so successfully however that I imagine it must be rather shorter than S&S altogether. – Now I will try to write of something else…
Ltr. 86. 3-6 July 1813, to Francis Austen, from Chawton
You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S&S is sold & that is has brought me £140 – besides the Copyright, if that should ever be of any value.* – I have now therefore written myself into £250. – which only makes me long for more. – I have something in hand – which I hope on the credit of P&P will sell well, tho’ not half so entertaining. [i.e. Mansfield Park]
*My note: this is the world’s most perfect example of understatement!
Ltr. 87. 15-16 Sept 1813, to Cassandra, from Henrietta St, London
Nothing has been done as to S&S. The Books came to hand too late for him to have time for it, before he went. [i.e send the books to Warren Hastings]
Ltr. 90. 25 Sept 1813, to Francis Austen, from Godmersham Park
[On the secret of her authorship]
I was previously aware of what I should be laying myself open to – but the truth is that the Secret has spread so far as to be scarcely the Shadow of a secret now – & that I believe whenever the 3rd appears, I shall not even attempt to tell Lies about it. – I shall rather try to make all the Money than all the Mystery I can of it. – People shall pay for their Knowledge if I can make them. – Henry heard P&P warmly praised in Scotland, by Lady Robt Kerr & another Lady; – and what does he do in the warmth of his Brotherly vanity & Love, but immediately tell them who wrote it! – A Thing once set going in that way – one knows how it spreads! – and he, dear Creature, has set it going so much more than once. I know if is all done from affection & partiality – but at the same time, let me here again express to you & Mary my sense of the superior kindness which you have shewn on the occasion, in doing what I wished. – I am trying to harden myself. – After all, what a trifle it is in all its Bearings, to the really important points of one’s existence even in this World!
[postscript] There is to be a 2d Edition of S&S. Egerton advises it.
[Note: the 2nd edition was published 29 October1813]
Ltr. 91. 11-12 Oct 1813, to Cassandra, from Godmerhsam Park
I dined upon Goose yesterday – which I hope will secure a good Sale of my 2d Edition.
[Note: Le Faye cites a poem from 1708: Old Michaelmas Day was October 11]
“That who eats Goose on Michael’s Day
Shan’t money lack, his Debts to pay.”
Ltr. 95. 3 Nov 1813, to Cassandra in London from Godmersham Park.
Your tidings of S&S give me pleasure. I have never seen it advertised. …
…I suppose in the meantime I shall owe dear Henry a great deal of Money for Printing, etc. – I hope Mrs. Fletcher will indulge herself with S&S.
[Note: Mrs. Fletcher was the wife of William Fletcher, of Trinity College Dublin – Austen notes that” Mrs. Fletcher, the wife of a Judge, an old Lady & very good & very clever, who is all curiosity to know about me…”. The 2nd edition of S&S, advertized on 29 October 1813, was published at the author’s expense, thus Henry likely paid for it]
Ltr. 96. 6-7 Nov 1813, to Cassandra in London, from Godmersham Park
Since I wrote last, my 2d Edit. has stared me in the face. – Mary tells me that Eliza [Mrs. Fowle] means to buy it. I wish she may. It can hardly depend upon any more Fyfield Estates [sale of Fowle property] – I cannot help hoping that many will feel themselves obliged to buy it. I shall not mind imagining it a disagreeable Duty to them, so as they do it. Mary heard before she left home, that it was very much admired at Cheltenham, & that it was given to Miss Hamilton [the writer Elizabeth Hamilton]. It is pleasant to have such a respectable Writer named. I cannot tire you I am sure on this subject, or I would apologise.
Ltr. 100 21 Mar 1814, to Francis Austen, from London
Perhaps before the end of April, Mansfield Park by the author of S&S – P&P may be in the world. Keep the name to yourself. I should not like to have it known beforehand. [i.e. about MP]
Ltr. 121. 17-18 Oct 1815, to Cassandra, from Hans Place in London
Mr. Murray’s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers £450 – but wants to have the Copyright of MP & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say. – He sends more praise however than I expected. It is an amusing Letter. You shall see it.
Ltr. 122(A)(D). 20-21 Oct 1815, draft of letter from Henry Austen to John Murray, in London
On the subject of the expence & profit of publishing, you must be better informed than I am; – but Documents in my possession appear to prove that the Sum offered by you for the Copyright of Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park & Emma, is not equal to the Money which my Sister has actually cleared by one very moderate Edition of Mansfield Park – (You Yourself expressed astonishment that so small an Edit. of such a work should have been sent into the World) & a still smaller one of Sense & Sensibility.- …
[Note: the 1st edition of S&S was 750 or 1000 copies; MP was probably 1,250, and Emma was 2,000 copies.]
Ltr. 154. 13 Mar 1817, to Caroline Austen, from Chawton
I have just recd nearly twenty pounds myself on the 2d Edit: of S&S* – which gives me this fine flow of Literary Ardour.
* Sense and Sensibility [footnoted by Austen in pencil]
Isn’t it such a delight to hear Austen’s very own words on her writing! Stay tuned for Part II on how it all came to be…
Illustration: John Murray II from Polylooks.com
Copyright@Deb Barnum, Jane Austen in Vermont, 2011.
Posted in Austen Literary History & Criticism, Books, Jane Austen, literature, Publishing History, tagged Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen, Jane Austen Letters, Literary History, Pride & Prejudice on June 23, 2010 | 6 Comments »
- Austenprose / November’s Autumn on publishing history of P&P
- Publishing history of Persuasion at JAIV
- Publishing history of Northanger Abbey at JAIV
- Brabourne edition of Jane Austen’s letters [at Pemberley.com]
- the “Letters” page at JAIV with additional links
[Posted by Deb]
The Times Online in this Then and Now article re-publishes the Times Literary Supplement review of November 10, 1932, E.M. Forster on Chapman’s edition of Austen’s letters. It is a fascinating read.
And on that note, I continue my Austen Letters journey, here with Letter No. 2:
- January 14-15, 1796 (Thursday, Friday)
- Jane Austen (Steventon) to Cassandra Austen [Kintbury, Newbury: Rev, Fowle's home]
- Present ownership and location unknown
Austen begins with a response to Cassandra’s last letter, and feeling disappointed that their plans to be reunited have gone awry; she then talks of the upcoming ball at Ashe and the friends she will see there: Edward Cooper, James, Buller, and of course Tom Lefroy. This passage and the later one penned the next day have long been the subject of a wide range of conjecture in articles, essays, biographies, and movies. Little did Jane suspect that these few lines would give rise to such a mass of words!…so I quote these directly:
…I look forward with great impatience to it [the ball at Ashe], as I rather expect to receive an offer from my friend in the course of the evening. I shall refuse him, however, unless he promises to give away his white Coat.
…Tell Mary that I make over Mr. Heartley & all his Estate to her for her sole use and Benefit in future, & not only him, but all my other Admirers into the bargain wherever she can find them, even the kiss which C. Powlett wanted to give me, as I mean to confine myself in future to Mr. Tom Lefroy, for whom I donot care sixpence….
Friday.- At length the Day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, & when you receive this it will be over – My tears flow as I write, at the melancholy idea.
So much speculation on all this, coupled with Austen’s later reference to Lefroy in her letters, as well as other family references…one is not sure how to interpret Austen’s feelings for Lefroy. The various biographers have their own opinions, from Park Honan, who says that Austen pursued Tom Lefroy and “fell deeply in love” and was “long obsessed with [him]” and equates Anne Elliot’s “we do not forget you” speech in Persuasion with Austen’s not forgetting Tom Lefroy all those years later; Honan has a very romantic interpretation that Jane was very forward and suffered much in his leaving. David Nokes in his Jane Austen: A Life [Farrar, 1997] emphasizes Austen’s love of flirtation and concludes that the attachment between Jane and Tom was very real. Claire Tomalin in Jane Austen: A life [Viking 1997] states that Austen’s first extant letter is the “only surviving letter in which Jane is clearly writing as the heroine of her own youthful story” and that by Letter 2 she already has her defences up [p.119]. Tomalin believes that Austen’s reference to Fielding’s Tom Jones [in Letter 1] is a very provocative remark…Austen is making clear that “she doesn’t mind talking about a novel that deals candidly and comically with sexual attraction and sexual behaviors and she is telling Cassandra that she and Lefroy have openly discussed this book [p. 117]. But she is gravely injured in his leaving, and henceforth “her writing becomes informed by this knowledge of sexual vulnerability, running like a dark undercurrent beneath the comedy” [p.122].
But the book and movie “Becoming Jane” has played upon the most romantic notions that stay with us in our hopes that Jane did have such a love and lost [see the references below that try hard to refute all this, especially by Joan Klingel Ray, who makes a strong case that Lefroy was already spoken for and realized he he was acting badly to Austen knowing she was "interested" in him...shades of Frank Churchill and Edward Ferrars?]. The Family Record makes it clear that as there was no further information as to what happened at the ball that last night, “it is unlikely he proposed or that Jane Austen thought that he would;” Tom was never asked there again as Madame Lefroy “did not like Tom because he had behaved badly to Jane”… but concludes that this was all a “temporary disappointment” as she shortly afterwords began her “bright and sparkling” story of “First Impressions” [later P&P]
Is Austen just evoking humor here to give Cassandra a laugh, offering up all her potential beaus to others, or does she really care something for Lefroy and really hurting at his going away? Does the “offer” she refer to mean a marriage proposal or an offer to dance [as Ray suggests in her article]? The fact that Cassandra did not destroy or edit these passages seems to indicate that they did not mean as much as “Becoming Jane” would like us to believe. It is so easy to let our imaginations fill in the gaps that the letters leave for us. So I put this out there for discussion… what do you think Austen means in these passages?? How much is she just playing and being facetious?
Though Austen speaks of Tom Lefroy in several places in this letter, there are other lines of interest: one oft-quoted passage is “I am very much flattered by your commendation of my last Letter, for I write only for Fame, and without any view to pecuniary Emolument.” Here is Austen at her very best! And there are the usual references to friends and family, those whose names will appear again and again : Eliza; Charles Fowle (“I hope he will be too hot for the rest of his life for it!” (regarding her stockings…); the Coopers, Anna; the Miss Biggs; Tom Fowle; the Rivers; and a comment to Cassandra that “I am very glad to find from Mary that Mr. & Mrs. Fowle are pleased with you…I hope you will continue to give satisfaction.”… and so on to Letter 3 for another day… with a huge jump from January 1796 to August 1796…
Further reading: (just a few of the many…)
- Auerbach, Emily. “Searching for Jane Austen: Restoring the ‘Fleas’ and ‘Bad Breath.’ ” Persuasions, No. 27 (2005), pp. 31-38.
- Bander, Elaine. “Jane Austen’s Letters: Facts and Fictions.” Persuasions, No. 27 (2005), pp. 119-129.
- Fergus, Jan. ” ‘The Whinnying of Harpies’? – Humor in Jane Austen’s Letters.” Persuasions, No. 27 (2005) pp.13-29.
- Wenner, Barbara. “Following the Trail of Jane Austen’s Letters.” Persuasions, No. 27 (2005), pp. 130-141.
- Ray, Joan Klingel. “The One-Sided Romance of Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy” Persuasions Online Vol. 28, No. 1, Winter 2007.
- Canal Academie: “The True Love Life of Jane Austen” discusses the movie “Becoming Jane.”
- Spence, John. Review of Jane Austen: A Family Record in JASNA News (Summer 2005), where Spence questions Le Faye’s interpretation of this letter about Tom Lefroy.
- Huff, Marsha. “Becoming Jane: Sorting Fact from Fiction,” at JASNA.org.
- Walker, Linda Robinson. “Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy: Stories” Persuasions Online, v.27, no 1 (Winter 2006)
- ” ‘I was too proud to make any inquiries’ ” Jane Austen’s Eleventh Letter” at the The Loiterer
- Nokes, David. Jane Austen: A Life. Farrar, Straus, 1997. See online, Chapter 5 “Proflilgate and Shocking.”
- Tomalin, Claire. Jane Austen: A life. Viking, 1997.
- Honan, Park. Jane Austen, her life. St. Martin’s Press, 1987.
- Austen-Leigh, William and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh. Jane Austen: a Family Record; revised and enlarged by Deirdre Le Faye. London, 1989. See also the 2nd edition published by Cambridge University Press, 2003, which includes additions and corrections and a changed format.
- The Becoming Jane Fansite, the go-to place for all things Jane & Tom.
- Fashion and Fun in 1796 (from the Regency Fashion Page), for thoughts on what was going on when Austen wrote this letter.
Writers necessarily edit as they write; to make paragraphs and resultant chapters coherent, some information has to be gone into in depth, while other information reluctantly or automatically must be jettisoned. Too much information, unskillfully crafted, will leave readers in the dust. A skillful author, however, molds the story with the facts at hand, picking and choosing what to include, and how to phrase or emphasize those inclusions. This is particularly true of biography.
Take, for instance, the prize-winning A MIDWIFE’S TALE, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. While confronted with an entire decades-long diary (spanning 1785-1812), Dr Ulrich carefully chose certain illustrative sections in which to pinpoint aspects of Martha Ballard’s life. Reader’s interested in the minutiae of that life, as described by its protagonist, must unearth a copy of the published diary or go to the copy online.
The minutiae of life is exactly what Deirdre Le Faye gives readers in her superb and invaluable A CHRONOLOGY OF JANE AUSTEN AND HER FAMILY. This is certainly not the type of book one takes to bed, but it is nevertheless an engrossing read. Within its pages are the lives of not only Jane Austen, but also her forebears, immediate family, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews – a three-hundred-year span from 1700 to 2000. This result of Le Faye’s digging through archives, private collections and published works provides Austen fans the bones with which to build biographies all our own. Through it, you can uncover the additions and deductions of Austen bank accounts; follow the rise and fall of Henry Austen’s partnership with Tilson; chart the Hampshire weather utilizing the notations in neighbor Eliza Chute’s diaries; and find the private thoughts of girls like Fanny Austen Knight.
Some random samples:
In 1796 [p. 187]
September 2, Friday
Rowling: HTA leaves to return to Great Yarmouth. He will write soon to Steventon.
Hampshire: A ball is held in the Steventon district, possibly today (or possibly it is the next assembly ball at Basingstoke, on 8 September, Thursday), at which CEA is present. Other dancers include a large party from the Terry family of Dummer, Mr John Lovett, Mr Tincton, Mr John Harwood, Mary Lloyd, Mary Harrison and James Austen.
[Letters 4, 5]
September 3, Saturday
Rowling: EAK, Elizabeth, JA and FWA, dine at Goodnestone and have an impromptu dance afterwards. Others present are Lady Bridges and her children Edward, Harriet, Louisa and George, as well as Fanny and Lewis Waltham, the Misses Anne and Mary Finch. The invalid Marianne Bridges does not appear. The Rowling four walk home afterwards.
In 1802 [p. 267]
January 18, Monday
Dummer: ‘Miss Terry, Anne & I rode & called at Worting, Manydown, Oakley Hall, & Deane.’
[Powlett journal 119A00/1]
January 21, Thursday
London: Army agents Cox & Greenwood debit Major Thomas Austen’s account: ‘Cash paid freight of a Hogshead of rum from Jamaica, £2.8s.11d.’
[Cox & Greenwood ledger, fo. 33]
January 24, Sunday
London: Army agents Cox & Greenwood credit Major Thomas Austen’s account: ‘By 31 days Pay to 24 January 1802, £21.16s.7d.’
[Cox & Greenwood ledger fos. 33, 212]
The Vyne: ‘Misling small rain most of the day. Church. Mr. Austin to dinner.’
[Chute pb 23M93/70/1/9]
In 1809 [p. 369]
Alton: MLA goes to stay with Mary Gibson in Rose Cottage for about a month, while Mary G is expecting her second child.
[CMCA Rems 19]
June 14, Wednesday
Canterbury: ‘Aunt Louisa came & dressed here & dined with [three words illegible] where we met G.M. Bridges, Uncle B. & Mr. Champneys. Papa & Aunt J. with G.M. [Austen] & Aunt C. from Godmersham dined with Mrs Knight & called here in the morning. Mr. & Mrs. E. Cage & Annetta called. Aunt Louisa slept here. Little George Moore not very well went to stay at Goodnestone Farm for change of air.’
June 15, Thursday
Canterbury: ‘Uncle & Aunt M. dined at Dr. Walsby’s & Aunt L. & I with Mrs. Knight where we met G.M. Bridges again & Aunt L. went back with her. Walked about the town in the morning. Fine & hottish.’
The abbreviations utilized (fully explained at the front of the book) are, most of them, the typical used for personages and already well known: CEA = Cassandra Elizabeth Austen [Jane's sister]; EAK = Edward Austen Knight [Jane's brother]; CMCA = Caroline Mary Craven Austen [Jane's niece, younger daughter of James]. Pb = pocket book. Entries are arranged with the geographic (town, estate, etc) in italics; and the source is clearly marked on the side margin [they appear below entries only in this review].
The sources for these listings are astounding: letters, diaries (pocket books), accounts books, taxation records, published memoirs and biographies, privately-held papers.
The one minus: while readers will be grateful for the extensive Personal Names index (which runs from pages 757-776, three columns per page), you do end up searching for references because, rather than indexed by page number, everyone is indexed by year. For instance:
Knatchbull, Joan: 1796
Knatchbull, Mary Dorothea, see Knight
Knatchbull, Wadham: 1813
Knatchbull, Wyndham: 1784, 1805, 1808, 1810-14 [page 768]
This obviously works best for people who occur multiple times within a given year; it does give a quick indication of which ‘periods someone appears in; and must have provided the publisher with a space-savings.
The structure of the book includes a substantial bibliography (712-724); thirty-two family trees (725-756); a frontispiece map and several illustrations. This is truly a publication of Le Faye’s DECADES of research into the Austen family; readers will feel as if they are sitting down with the scholar and picking her brain. In her preface, she says: ‘I hope that this uniquely detailed chronology will be of the greatest use to all future biographers, literary critics and historians, providing as it does accurate documented facts gathered from a wide variety of sources.’ We all owe her a debt of gratitude (to Cambridge University Press as well; although the steep $168 price tag does seem more geared towards library rather than individual purchase) for sharing the results of her researches with us all. It represents Le Faye’s gift to serious scholars, making this an Essential Austen volume.
* * *
ESSENTIAL AUSTEN is a series we will continue, which will introduce or earmark those books (and other items?) essential to an Austen collection.