In My Mailbox! ~ The Female Spectator Spring 2012

The Female Spectator, (Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 2012), the newsletter of the Chawton House Library, showed up last week in my mailbox – this 12 page newsletter always offers something new and exciting to be discovered and shared!: 

1. “Chawton Chronicles: A Letter from the CEO” – Stephen Lawrence talks about what has been accomplished at the Library since its inception in 2003, especially the academic initiatives and activities and the Visiting Fellowship Programme.  And he writes of the upcoming Spring Gala of the JASNA-Greater Chicago Region where Sandy Lerner, Elizabeth Garvie, Lindsay Ashford, and Stephen will all be in attendance for the “Chawton Comes to Chicago” event [which took place on May 5 – visit the website for a photo gallery of the event – accessible to members only I’m sorry to say!]

2. A lovely tribute to Vera Quin, author of In Paris with Jane Austen (2005) and Jane Austen in London (2008), by Gillian Dow – you can read my blog post on Ms. Quin here. 

3.  “Talking Portraits at CHL” – by Sarah Parry – about the project to bring to life with actors in full costume the various portraits housed in the Library: the portraits of Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Hartley, and Catherine (Kitty) Clive were the portraits chosen for this first effort. 

[Image of  Catherine “Kitty” Clive from CHL at the BBC Collection]

4. “Curious Consumption: Cookery Books at CHL” – by Lindsey Phillips. An essay on her research into the exchange of culinary information and recipes between Britain and the West Indies; included is a recipe for “pepper pot” from Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell’s American Domestic Cookery (ed. of 1823), which you can find here at Google Books. 

5. “The Day the Descendants Came to Tea: Revelations and Connections from a Chawton House Fellowship” – by Katharine Kittredge, on the author’s study of Melesina Trench (1768 – 1827), an Irish writer, poet and diarist, and Kittredge’s connection with her relatives after her research was published in Aphra Behn Online. [her article in ABO can be found here.]  And click here for Kittredge’s biography of Trench on the CHL website.

Melesina Trench – wikipedia

6.  “The Language of Women’s Fiction, 1750-1830” – a conference report by Christina Davidson – one hopes the papers discussed will be published at some point…?

7. “‘Not in All Things Perfect’: The North Welsh Gentry in Fiction and History” –  Mary Chadwick shares her research on a collection of English-language manuscript letters, poems, etc. written by members of a North Welsh gentry community and collected by one family, the Griffiths of Garn, and how this compares to the writing of the various novelists who set their tales in Wales (including Jane Austen in her Juvenilia!), in particular Elizabeth Hervey’s The History of Ned Evans (1796) [and recently re- published in the CHL / Pickering & Chatto series.


And reasons to be at the CHL, and a continuing source of depression for those of us who cannot! : 


June 7 [today!]: Dr Laura Engel on “Much Ado About Muffs: Actresses, Accessories, and Austen”

June 20. Professor Elizabeth Kowaleski Wallace on “‘Penance and Mortification for Ever’: Jane Austen and Catholicism.”

June 25. Evening Talk and Book Launch: Dr. Katie Halsey “‘A Pair of Fine Eyes’: Sight and Insight in Jane Austen’s Novels.”

When Mr. Darcy meditates on the pleasure bestowed by “a pair of fine eyes” in Pride and Prejudice, he does so because eyes are so very expressive. In this talk, Dr Katie Halsey explores the relationship between the physical eye and the eyes of the mind in Austen’s novels.

This talk is part of Alton’s Jane Austen Regency Week, and the launch of Katie Halsey’s new book: Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786 – 1945 [and soon to be added to my bedside table…]


“Jane Austen’s Bookshop: An Exhibition” 18 June – 6 July, 2012

This exhibition explores how readers and writers in Winchester shared printed material (books, playbills, engravings &c). Men and women, young and old, gentry and middle classes, rich and poor, Protestant and Catholic – all participated. The Austen family purchased literature from the bookshop of John Burdon (today still a bookshop), while scholars at Winchester College published their works in their own city. The newly founded hospital produced annual reports, and local newspapers such as the Hampshire Chronicle promoted all kinds of publications in advertisements and reviews.

Come to Chawton House Library to learn more about book production and circulation. Find out what kind of material was published in Hampshire in the eighteenth century, and just what the Austen family might have read.

You can receive The Female Spectator from CHL by becoming a member / friend – information is here: I heartily recommend it!

@2012 Jane Austen inVermont

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