About: Kelly McDonald

My ties to Jane Austen began about the time I "discovered" England, British movies & TV (thanks, PBS, CBC!), and cups of tea with a nice Marks & Spencer digestive on the side. A solo trip to London in 1980 segued into a weekend in Cornwall (home of Daphne du Maurier and Winston Graham's Poldarks) -- and that led to a missed flight home.... (long story!) Those three weeks abroad undoubtedly brought into my life women like Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter, Somerville and Ross, the Brontës, Mrs Trollope, Jane Welsh Carlyle, Dorothy Wordsworth, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler (collectively, The Ladies of Llangollen), and -- of course, Jane Austen. I joined JASNA in the fall of 2006 when my research meandered down an Austen-path; and spent two months during the summer of 2007 in Winchester, transcribing diaries & letters relating to Emma Smith (aka: Mrs James-Edward Austen-Leigh, 1801-1876) and her friend, neighbour, "sister of the heart" and eventual sister-in-law, Mary Gosling (aka: Lady Smith, 1800-1842). I'm proud to say the first of several articles written since this trip appear in JASNA's journal, PERSUASIONS (vol. 29), and LOCAL PAST, the Newsletter of the Alcester and District Historical Society (Warwickshire, England); both came out in June 2008. JASNA's article concentrates on Emma Austen; LOCAL PAST's on her sister, Fanny Seymour. Two follow-up articles have also been published: the last installment on Fanny Seymour appeared in LOCAL PAST's December 2008 issue; and PERSUASIONS has an Emma-related article about the county of Derbyshire -- this discusses Elizabeth Bennet's journey to and through that county and the very similar one taken in 1833 by Edward Austen, his wife Emma, and her Smith relatives. PERSUASIONS (vol. 30) has recently hit JASNA members' mailboxes (May 2009); a PDF of the article is now also available on JASNA's website. See www.jasna.org/info/maps.html and their "Where's Where in Jane Austen's Novels". Under the "further reading" section for Pride & Prejudice, look for DERBYSHIRES CORRESPONDING: ELIZABETH BENNET AND THE AUSTEN TOUR OF 1833.

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