Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen’

Miniature portraits: Jane Austen’s sentimental favourites

I mentioned yesterday the remarkable exhibition Miniatures from the Time of Marie Antoinette at the Philip Mould Gallery. Certainly Marie Antoinette and her brother Emperor Joseph II are represented there, but the vast majority of the sitters in the collection are unknown ladies and gentlemen. Why? Because, unlike grand portraits meant to be displayed in the […]



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The King’s Speech: Jane Austen, Winston Churchill, the airbrush and the Vaseline

Warning: this is not a proper film review, just a few thoughts on Jane Austen and on the ethics of historical fiction. For one thing, I must say that found watching The King’s Speech wonderfully satisfying, as a sort of anti-Black Swan experience. A careful, unobstrusive direction, the compelling story of a man overcoming the […]



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Breaking news: Jane Austen was human!

It has made the rounds of the major media worlwide (see the BBC, for instance.) Even Le Monde mentions it, and yet Jane Austen is not a household name in France. In 21st century parlance, the story has become “viral.” So yes, Professor Kathryn Sutherland, of Oxford University, reveals that Jane revised her manuscripts, as […]



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Mark Twain at Versailles

I have mixed feelings towards Mark Twain. This is, after all, the man who dared write of Jane Austen, “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Shocking. Yes, I know, now some will tell us that he didn’t really […]



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Vintage coaches, silver fork novels and 18th century spectacles: the 2010 Jane Austen Society Annual General Meeting

“O that he had sprained his ancle in the first dance!” exclaims an exasperated Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Well, the intended recipient, Mr. Bingley, escaped that curse in Jane Austen’s novel. Instead it fell upon me, two centuries later. Not even at any dance, mind you, but stupidly, while getting up from a […]



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Pugs, Jane Austen, political conspiracy and mass murder

Fans of Jane Austen will remember Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park sitting on her sofa with her pug by her side. “The next time Pug has a litter you shall have a puppy,” she tells her niece Fanny. Lady Bertram can think of no higher mark of her regard. Indeed pugs were great favorites for […]



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Madame Vigée-Lebrun, Regency England and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Frequent visitors to Versailles and more have become familiar with Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, one of the most successful painters of her time and Marie-Antoinette’s favorite portraitist. Madame Lebrun left France as early as October 1789, after the royal family relocated, much against their wishes, to the Tuileries. She traveled extensively in search of new patrons, in […]



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Queen Victoria’s wedding, or why modern brides wear white

When Jane Austen’s parents were married in 1764, the bride, Cassandra Leigh, wore a red riding habit to the ceremony. Cassandra was not being eccentric or making a fashion statement. Such dress was perfectly appropriate for a young woman from a genteel but not particularly wealthy family marrying a country parson



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“A building she admired so much…” Jane Austen at Winchester Cathedral

In 1817 Cassandra Austen was writing of her departed sister Jane: “Her dear remains are to be deposited in the cathedral – it is a satisfaction to me to think they are to lie in a building she admired so much.” Yesterday I visited the Cathedral, Jane’s tomb and the exhibition dedicated to her. I […]



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The History of England, by Jane Austen, at the British Library

Like the rest of her Juvenilia, this short work sparkles with wit and unconventionality. You may now view the whole manuscript on the site of the British Library. All the more precious and interesting because of the illustrations by Jane’s elder sister Cassandra Elizabeth.