Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Deirdre Le Faye’

JARW69-cover
The May/June 2014 issue (No. 69) of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is published and is being mailed to subscribers this week.

In it you can read about:

•An exclusive interview with Deirdre Le Faye, doyenne of the Austen world, about her career as a Janeite and her new book

cover-lefaye

[Note: Le Faye’s new book, Jane Austen’s Country Life: Uncovering the Rural Backdrop to her Life, Her Letters and Her Novels, is due out June 1, 2014 from Frances Lincoln]

Belle, the new film about Lord Mansfield’s great-niece, is out soon

[Note: the film is released May 1, 2014; cover image is of Belle, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw; for more information and the trailer see http://www.foxsearchlight.com/Belle/ ]

•Could an eminent harpist have discovered Jane ‘s piano tuning key?

Godmersham 1779 - wikipedia

Godmersham 1779 – wikipedia

•Glorious Godmersham: a visit to the home of Edward Austen Knight

•Adlestrop, the village that influenced both Jane and a poet

•How Georgian England was fascinated by spiritualism and the supernatural

*Plus News, Letters, Book Reviews and information from Jane Austen Societies in the US, UK and Australia

*************

To subscribe [and you should!] click here – and make sure that you are among the first to read all the news from Jane Austen’s Regency World.

 c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

Read Full Post »

Gentle Readers: This year we have just entered upon will be a long and interesting 365 days of celebrating the 1813 publication of Pride and Prejudice ! There are festivals, conferences, blog postings, reading challenges, and already many newspaper and journal articles on this timeless work by Jane Austen.  I would like to start off my own celebration of this beloved classic with repeating a post I wrote two years ago, where I had pulled together all the references that Austen makes to this, her “own darling Child,” in her letters.  It makes fascinating reading to “hear” her…
pp-christies-12-7-12
The publishing history of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s most popular book, then and now, is an interesting study in the book trade of early 19th century England.  First completed in 1797 (and called First Impressions) and rejected by the publisher her father took the manuscript to, Austen reworked her draft over time and submitted it to Thomas Egerton, the publishing house of her Sense & Sensibility, in 1812 (it was published on January 28, 1813).   She sold the copyright outright for £110, and did not incur other expenses in its publication, as she did in the three other works published in her lifetime [see links below for more information.]  How we would love to know her thoughts on this road to publication! – how we would love to have her letters written while in the process of the writing to give us some idea of her imagination at work – where WAS the model for Pemberley?  was Mr. Darcy someone REAL?  was Elizabeth Bennet her alter ego? was MR COLLINS drawn from life? – or to have the letters to her brother Henry and his to Egerton – but alas! we have very little, just a few comments scattered among the surviving letters.

Read Full Post »

UPDATE!: you can follow the latest developments on this Austen Portrait at Paula Byrne’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/#!/austenportrait

***************************************

News Alert!

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 …

Further Reading:

Copyright @2011 Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont 

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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]

Henry Austen

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.

Elizabeth Hamilton - Wikipedia

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.

John Murray II

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.

Read Full Post »

Laurel Ann at her Austenprose blog is currently posting a month-long group read through Pride & Prejudice – do visit and join in the discussion! – she is as always an insightful reader and discussion leader, and what better way to spend the first month of summer musing on P&P and the finer points of Austen’s magic!
 
The publishing history of P&P, Austen’s most popular book, then and now, is an interesting study in the book trade of early 19th century England.  First completed in 1797 [and called First Impressions] and rejected by the publisher her father took the manuscript to, Austen reworked P&P and submitted it to Thomas Egerton, the publishing house of her Sense & Sensibility, in 1812 [published January 28, 1813].   She sold the copyright outright for £110, and did not incur other expenses in its publication, as in the three other works published in her lifetime [see links below for more information.]  How we would love to know her thoughts on this road to publication! – how we would love to have her letters written while in the process of the writing to give us some idea of her imagination at work [where WAS the model for Pemberley?  was Mr. Darcy someone REAL?  was Elizabeth Bennet her alter ego? was MR COLLINS drawn from life?], or to have the letters to her brother Henry and his to Egerton – but alas! we have nothing, just a few comments scattered among the surviving letters. 
 
Austen does not give us much in her letters as to her writing practices or narrative theory [and thus such a disappointment when they were first published, criticized for their “mundaneness,” their focus on domestic nothings and neighborhood gossip!] – but if you dig for diamonds you will find them, and these scattered mentions are certainly diamonds – it is the feeling of having her right over your shoulder when you read that she is “disgusted” with the way her mother is reading her book aloud, or that she REALLY likes this earning money for her labors, or being miffed [but also full of pride!] with Henry for telling her Secret to one and all – we see Jane Austen here in her own words – the funny, ironic, brilliant Jane Austen – never enough, but this is as good as it is going to get. 
 
So in this post I offer all the references she makes to Pride & Prejudice, her “own darling Child” – read them and enjoy!
[NOTE:  page references are to Deirdre Le Faye, ed., Jane Austen’s Letters, 3rd ed., Oxford, 1997;  all abbreviations and spelling errors are retained]
 
Letter 17. January 8-9, 1799 to Cassandra, from Steventon
 
I do wonder at your wanting to read first impressions again, so seldom as you have gone through it, & that so long ago. [page 35]
 
[Le Faye notes that this is the first surviving mention of Austen’s literary work, this prototype of P&P having been finished in August 1797; Note, p. 366]
 
Letter 21. June 11, 1799,  To Cassandra, from Bath
 
I would not let Martha read First Impressions again upon any account, & I am very glad that I did not leave it in your power. – She is very cunning, but I see through her design; – she means to publish it from Memory, & one more perusal must enable her to do it.  [p.44]
 
Letter 77.  November 29-30, 1812, to Martha Lloyd from Chawton
 
P.& P. is sold. – Egerton gives £110 for it. – I would rather have had £150, but we could not both be pleased, & I am not at all surprised that he should not chuse to hazard so much. – It’s being sold will I hope be a great saving of Trouble to Henry, & therefore must be welcome to me. – The Money is to be paid at the end of the twelvemonth. [p. 197]
 
 
Letter 79.  January 29, 1813, to Cassandra from Chawton    
 
I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London; – on Wednesday I received one Copy, sent down by Falknor, with three lines from Henry to say that he had given another to Charles & sent a 3d by the Coach to Godmersham; just the two Sets which I was least eager for the disposal of.  I wrote to him immediately to beg for my own two other Sets, unless he would take the trouble of forwarding them at once to Steventon & Portsmouth – not having any idea of his leaving Town before today; – by your account however he was gone before my Letter was written.  The only evil is the delay, nothing more can be done till his return.  Tell James & Mary so, with my Love. – For your sake I am as well pleased that it shd be so, as it might be unpleasant to you to be in the Neighborhood at the first burst of the business. – The Advertisement is in our paper to day [the Morning Chronicle of January 28, 1813]. – 18s – He shall ask £1-1- for my two next, & £1-8 – for my stupidest of all. I shall write to Frank, that he may not feel himself neglected.  Miss Benn dined with us on the very day of the Books coming, & in the eveng we set fairly at it & read half the 1st vol. to her – prefacing that having intelligence from Henry that such a work wd soon appear we had desired him to send it whenever it came out – & I beleive it passed with her unsuspected. – She was amused, poor soul! that she cd not help you know, with two such people to lead the way [JA and her mother]; but she really does seem to admire Elizabeth.  I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know. – There are a few Typical errors – & a “said he” or a “said she” would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear – but “I do not write for such dull Elves” “As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.”  [from Scott’s Marmion] – The 2d vol. is shorter than I cd wish – but the difference is not so much in reality as in look, there being a a larger proportion of Narrative in that part.  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; – it shall be a complete change of subject – Ordination. [p. 201-2]
 
 
 
Letter 80.  February 4, 1813, to Cassandra from Chawton
 
Your letter was truely welcome & I am much obliged to you all for your praise; it came at a right time, for I had had some fits of disgust. – our 2d evening’s reading to Miss Benn had not pleased me so well, but I beleive something must be attributed to my Mother’s too rapid way of getting on – & tho’ she perfectly understands the Characters herself, she cannot speak as they ought. – upon the whole however I am quite vain enough & well satisfied enough. – The work is rather too light & bright & sparkling; – it wants shade; – it wants to be stretched out here & there with a long Chapter – of sense if it could be had, if not of solemn specious nonsense – about something unconnected with the story; an Essay on Writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or a history of Buonaparte – or anything that would form a contrast & bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness & Epigrammatism of the general stile. –  I doubt your quite agreeing with me here – I know your starched Notions. – The caution observed at Steventon with regard to the possession of the book is an agreable surprise to me, & I heartily wish it may be the means of saving you from everything unpleasant; – but you must be prepared for the Neighbourhood being perhaps already informed of there being such a Work in the World, & in the Chawton World! Dummer will do that you know. – It was spoken of here one morng when Mrs. D. [Digweed] called with Miss Benn. – The greatest blunder in the Printing that I have met with is in Page 220 – Vol.3 where two speeches are made into one. – There might as well have been no suppers at Longbourn, but I suppose it was the remains of Mrs. Bennet’s old Meryton habits. [p. 203]

Mrs. George Austen

 
I had a letter from Henry yesterday, written on Sunday from Oxford; mine had been forwarded to him… he says that copies were sent to S. [Steventon] & P. [Portsmouth] at the same time as the others. [p. 204]
 
 
Letter 81.  February 9, 1813, to Cassandra from Chawton
 
I am exceedingly pleased that you say what you do, after having gone thro the whole work – & Fanny’s praise is very gratifying; – my hopes were tolerably strong for her, but nothing like a certainty.  Her liking Darcy & Elizabeth is enough.  She might hate all the others, if she would. I have her opinion under her own hand this morning, but your transcript of it which I read first, was not & is not the less acceptable. – To me, it is of course all praise – but the more exact truth which she sends you is good enough. [p. 205]
 
Yes, I beleive I shall tell Anna – & if you see her, & donot dislike the commission, you may tell her for me.  You know I meant to do it as handsomely as I could.  But she will probably not return in time [p. 205, referring to telling her niece Anna that she is the author of S&S and P&P, note p. 414]
 
…- there is still work for one evening more. [p. 206, to finish reading P&P aloud, note p. 414]
 
 
Letter 85.  May 24, 1813, to Cassandra from London
 
…Henry & I went to the Exhibition in Spring Gardens.  It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased – particularly [pray tell Fanny] with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her.  I was in hopes of seeing one of her Sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy; – perhaps however, I may find her in the Great Exhibition which we shall go to, if we have time; – I have no chance of her in the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Paintings which now is shewing in Pall Mall & which we are also to visit. – Mrs. Bingley is exactly herself, size, shaped face, features and sweetness; there never was a greater likeness.  She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I have always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her.  I dare say Mrs. D. will be in Yellow. [p. 212] 
 
 [Portrait of a Lady, by J.F.M. Huet-Villiers]
a.k.a. Mrs. Bingley
 
 
I am very much obliged to Fanny for her Letter; – it made me laugh heartily; but I cannot pretend to answer it.  Even had I more time, I should not feel at all sure of the sort of Letter that Miss D. would write… [p. 213, referring to a letter from Fanny written to and expecting a response from Georgiana Darcy – Note p. 417]
 
We have been to both the Exhibition & Sir J. Reynolds’, – and I am disappointed, for there was nothing like Mrs. D. at either. – I can only imagine that Mr. D. prizes any Picture of her too much to like it should be exposed to the public eye. – I can imagine he wd have that sort [of, omitted] feeling – that mixture of Love, Pride & Delicacy. [p. 213]
 
 Letter 86.  July 3-6, 1813, to Francis Austen from Chawton
 
You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S.&S. is sold & that it has brought me £140 – besides the Copyright, if that shd ever be of any value. – I have now therefore written myself into £250. – which only makes me long for more. – I have something on hand – which I hope on the credit of P. & P. will sell well, tho’ not half so entertaining… [referring to Mansfield Park] [p. 217]
 
 Letter 87.  September 15-16, 1813, to Cassandra from London
 
Lady Robert [Kerr, nee Mary Gilbert] delighted with P. & P – and really was so I understand before she knew who wrote it – for, of course, she knows now. – He [Henry] told her with as much satisfaction as if it were my wish.  He did not tell me this, but he told Fanny.  And Mr. Hastings – I am quite delighted with what such a Man writes about it. – Henry sent him the Books after his return from Daylesford – but you will hear the Letter too.  // Let me be rational & return to my two full stops. [p. 218]
 
I long to have you hear Mr. H’s [Warren Hastings] opinion of P&P.  His admiring of Elizabeth so much is particularly welcome to me. [p. 221]
 
 
Letter 89.  September 23-24, 1813, to Cassandra from Godmersham Park
 
Poor Dr. Isham is obliged to admire P.&P. – & to send me word that he is sure he shall not like Mde. Darblay’s new Novel half so well. - Mrs. C. [Cooke] invented it all of course. [referring to Frances Burney’s The Wanderer, published in 1814] [p. 227]
 
 
Letter 90.  September 25, 1813, to Francis Austen from Godmerhsam Park  
 
I thank you very warmly for your kind consent to my application & the kind hint that followed it. [asking Frank if she can use the names of his old ships in her her current work, MP] - but the truth is that the Secret has spread so far as to be scarcely the Shadow of a secret now – & that I beleive whenever the 3d 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 is going so much more than once.  I know it is 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 the World!  [p. 231]

Henry Austen

 
There is to be a 2d Edition of S.&S. Egerton advises it. [p. 232, referring to her publisher]
 
 
Letter 104.  August 10-18, 1814, to Anna Austen from Chawton
 
Now we have finished the 2d book – or rather the 5th – I do think you had better omit Lady Helena’s postscript; to those who are acquainted with P.&P it will seem an Imitation. [p. 268, referring to Anna’s manuscript sent to JA for advice]
 
  
Letter 128.  November 26, 1815, to Cassandra from London
 
Mr. H is reading Mansfield Park for the first time & prefers it to P&P. [p. 301, referring to Mr. Haden, London surgeon, who brought good Manners & clever conversation]
 
  
Letter 132(Draft).  December 11, 1815, to James Stanier Clarke from London
 
My greatest anxiety at present is that this 4th work [Emma] shd not disgrace what was good in the others.  But on this point I will do myself the justice to declare that whatever may be my wishes for its’ success, I am very strongly haunted by the idea that to those readers who have preferred P&P. it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who preferred MP. very inferior in good sense… [p. 306]
 
 
Letter 134(A).  December 27, 1815, from the Countess of Morley to JA at Chawton
 
I am most anxiously waiting for an introduction to Emma…. I am already become quite intimate in the Woodhouse family, & feel that they will not amuse & interest me less than the Bennetts [sic], Bertrams, Norriss & all their admirable predecessors – I can give them no higher praise- [p. 308]
 
************************************
 [a letter-writing Fanny Austen-Knight by Cassandra]
Ah! indeed! – no higher praise…
 
 
Further reading:

[Posted by Deb]

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite recipes for the holidays is a trifle, that mix of biscuits, cream, and fruit, that makes as much a table decoration as a delicious dessert.  Here is the recipe from The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye [British Museum Press, 1995]  The first part of the recipe in italics is the text from either the manuscript of Martha Lloyd’s Recipe Book or Martha Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery (1806);  followed by the modern interpretation by Black and Le Faye.

A Trifle:  From Martha Lloyd’s Recipe Book, p. 35:

Take three Naple Biscuits cut them in Slices dip them in sack lay them in the bottom of your dish, then make a custard of a pint of cream & five Eggs & put over them then make a whipt Syllabub as light as possible to cover the whole the higher it is piled the handsomer it looks.

********************************

  • 1 quantity Solid Custard [see below]
  • plain Madeira cake, cut in 1-inch slice to line the bottom and 1/3 of the sides of a 2 1/2 pint [6 1/4-cup] glass bowl
  • medium dry sherry to moisten
  • 1 quantity Solid Syllabub [see below]
  • chopped, candied or crystallized fruits to decorate [optional]

The original Naples biscuits were twice-baked, hard sponge cakes stored for use when needed for eating with or in 18th-century sweet “creams”; I have used instead plain Madeira cake.  The sack (sherry) was intended to soften the biscuits, so go easy when adding it to the softer modern cake.

Make the Solid Custard first so that it is cooled (but not yet set) when you are ready to add it to the sponge cake and before you want to add the syllabub.  The dessert will then have interesting, contrasting layers.  Follow the original recipe above for adding the syllabub.  Use chopped, candied or crystallized fruits, if you wish, for a period-style decoration on top of the trifle.  [Serves 6]  [page 121]

Solid Custard: [Martha Lloyd’s Recipe Book,  p. 90]

In a quart of Milk boil and oz. of Isinglass until the latter nis dissolved, then strain it through a Sive, let it stand a short time, add the Yolks of five Eggs well beaten, mix them with the Milk & set it on the fire until it is as thick as a rich boiled Custard, sweeten & put it into a Mould to prepare it for the Table – A few Bitter Almonds or a Bay leaf will improve the flavour very much. 

**************************************

  • 2 pints [5 cups]
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • 4 egg-yokes, beaten
  • 1-2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
  • fresh bay leaves to decorate (optional)

Bring the milk with the bay leaves or leaf almost to scalding point in a saucepan, scatter on the gelatine and stir until it dissolves.  Leave to stand for a few minutes, then take out the bay and whisk in the egg yolks  and sugar.  Heat the mixture very slowly, stirring occasionally, so that it thickens before reaching the boil.  Transfer it to a decorative mould or dish and leave it to get thoroughly cold before serving.  This may take several hours.  Decorate with 1 or 2 fresh bay leaves if you like.  For a pouring custard, reduce or omit the gelatine.  [p. 61]

Solid Syllabubs: [Martha Rundell.  A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1806 ed., p. 204]

Mix a quart of thick raw cream, one pound of refined sugar, a pint and a half of fine raisin wine in a deep pan, put to it the grated peel and the juice of three lemons.  Beat, or whisk it one way half an hour,  then put it in a sieve with a bit of thin mustard laid smooth in the shallow end till next day.  Put in glasses.  It will keep good, in a cool place, ten days.

**********************************************

  • juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lump sugar, coarsely crushed
  • 14 fl oz [1 3/4 cups] double (heavy) cream
  • 7oz (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 8fl oz (1 cup) medium-dry white wine
  • light sprinkling of dry English mustard powder

Beat the mixture in the bowl with an electric beater or rotary whisk until it is thick and stands in peaks.  Turn it into sparklingly clean dessert glasses and chill overnight.  As an attractive decoration, mix the reserved grated rind and crushed sugar and sprinkle this on the syllabubs just before serving. [p. 85]

Put aside half the grated lemon rind and all the lump sugar.  Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a deep bowl.  Use enough caster sugar to sweeten well but without being sickly; the exact quantity will depend on the sweetness of the wine.  Use only a thin sprinkling of mustard; it should just give “body” to the lemon and wine, not be noticable.

***************************************************

 Phew! that all seems exhausting, doesn’t it?  So for a simpler version [i.e the way I make it], you can use lady fingers or sponge cake, either make a soft custard or use vanilla pudding, alternate layers of the lady fingers, fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, bananas, or what you will), rum to soak the cakes at each layer, top with whipped cream and strawberries to decorate… it is lovely, just watch the rum- it sinks to the bottom so the last helpings can cause inebriation! – my Fannie Farmer cookbook calls this “Tipsy Pudding” for a reason!

[Trifle image from trendir.com]

[Posted by Deb]

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,580 other followers

%d bloggers like this: