It’s a Long LONG way to publication

June 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm (books, jane austen, jasna, news) (, , , , , , , , , )

Three days ago I received notice that an edited, multi-author-submissions volume entitled


Elegance, Propriety, Harmony:

Jane Austen and the Arts


was given the green light by Lehigh University Press.

My own humble submission appears as chapter six, in the section “Artistic Elegance: Portraiture, Music, and Dance“. The focus of my chapter is outlined in its title:

A ‘Reputation for Accomplishment’:

Marianne Dashwood and Emma Woodhouse

as Artistic Performers

Ah, but the road has been long, and still there is only a glimmer of end in sight…

The chapter first saw light of day under a different title – and was submitted at the end of summer 2010 — two years ago. A year or more later, the middle was removed whereby the guts of my original idea was weakened. A new approach was required. That major rewrite brought about the current title, and only came about after much reading, researching, rethinking and (of course) re-rewriting. The editors have edited, the reviewers have read, and now the press exclaims We’ll publish. Comments were made about a gathering at the Pride and Prejudice– centered AGM in 2013.

  • three days ago: news
  • two years ago: first draft submitted
  • one year to go: book launch!


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Plot Thickens: Clarissa Trant

June 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm (books, diaries, history, jane austen, people) (, , , , , , , , )

I love the Clarissa Trant book because she treats the same period — she was born in November 1800 — as Mary and Emma lived through. Yet she lived a life far different from the average English girl.

So, flipping through I thought it wonderful to read about what made a young man “shine” in her eyes (see previous post on Charles Boyle). Then, reading the introduction over again afterwards, the realization comes that if John Bramston had proposed to Charlotte Smith, Clarissa Trant, too, had an earlier proposal:

“Clarissa was often wooed but hard to win.” C.G. Luard, the editor, continues, “I have counted twelve suitors and there are indications of more. She had a strong sense of the fitness of things, and we find her haughtily refusing a rich widower, on the one hand, and her friend Charles Boyle — whom she greatly liked and admired — as too exalted for her, on the other hand.”

Clarissa DID head towards the altar, however, with a Colonel Cameron. As with some of the Seymour siblings who married into the Smith family, there was family contention over money. According to Luard, once the settlement negotiations broke down, the “young man seems to have made no sort of fight for Clarissa”. Like many an Austen heroine, Clarissa Trant’s father — a career military man in the age of the Napoleonic Wars, had no fortune.

I was lucky enough to quickly peek at Clarissa Trant’s early diaries: they are microfilmed as part of the same series “Women’s Language and Experience“, part 5, Essex, as Mary Gosling/Lady Smith’s diaries!

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Brothers & Sisters: Clarissa Trant speaks

June 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm (books, diaries, people) (, , , , , )

So many books; so little time! (Working for a living is a curse…)

While flipping through the delightful Journal of Clarissa Trant, 1800-1832, I came across this most telling description of what made for an attractive man in the eyes of a young lady of taste, distinction, and wide travelling-experience.

“What a desert Brighton, gay and brilliant as it is, would have been to me but for them {the Boyles}. Was introduced to their handsome brother Charles, who is just arrived from the Continent. Caddy{Caroline Boyle} may well be proud of her Brother — he is so kind to his sisters and so very prepossessing both in appearance and manner.” [4 Jan 1829]

and then: “To my great annoyance Mr. Charles Boyle called three times whilst I was out.” [7 Jan]

He returns the following day: “At four o’clock Mr. C. Boyle… paid me a visit… He is indeed singularly handsome, but his great merit in my eyes is his devoted affection to his sister.”

Although I have yet to find much interaction between Clarissa and the Smiths of Suttons, the Smiths certainly knew of her — for she married John Bramston of Skreens. Some tense feelings prevailed: John had proposed to Emma’s younger sister Charlotte and not been accepted. Had Charlotte expected John to propose a second time? Or had she already had her eye on Arthur Currie? The family was, I can say, perturbed that John Bramston would involve himself with Miss Trant a while later… Such convoluted little mysteries keep me digging!

Mamma could write Emma the following year: “I have some news to announce… It destroyed the romance of real life, & proves the inconstancy of man. John Bramston has forgot his first love; and taken a second; he writes to Spencer a very chearful & lover like letter… — not a word of his Sister Elizabeth, he is too full of his own happiness. But he desires it may be a secret at present within our own Family, including you & Edward, … so pray be discreet; you may tell Augusta, & do write me all your comments.” Oh! for that letter of Emma’s

As always, a plea: if you have ANY correspondence (diaries count too!) relating to these people, do drop me a line!

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Great Books Post

June 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm (books) (, , , , )

Geek Goddess has posted for Book Lovers Everywhere – the cartoon: a fabulous find! the quote: Patricia A. McKillip (The Bell at Sealy Head); and the books hovering above the door: brilliant solution once you’ve run out of shelf space.

Check it out:


* * * 


And check out my “titles” posting at Regency Reads – gotta be something there to make you want to go shopping…

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One Man Band: Life of an Independent Scholar

June 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm (a day in the life, books, history, introduction, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Curious about what a project like this Smith & Gosling research entails?

Although I worked (as staff) in academia for nineteen years, being an “independent scholar” (ie, without academic affiliation) means you don’t have the “interaction” of colleagues. That I really miss — and that’s why I’m so grateful for the readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen! If I can’t bend your ears, you at least allow me to bend your eyes. And it’s a two-way street – I value your comments and “likes” and dialogue.

So here’s my summary of Life as an Independent Scholar:

  • the location of diaries, letters, sketch books, portraits and miniatures, ephemera
  • a transcription of handwritten items
  • identification of people, places, and also the political, social, economic history of the era (approximately 1760-1845)
  • “getting the word out” through blog spots, journal, magazine and local history articles
  • finding obscure sources, including private collectors, for single items that once belonged to the Smiths, Goslings and friends/family
  • tracking down book citations
  • tracking down oblique references to family members in printed or manuscript sources
  • obtaining copies (xerox, digital photographs, microfilm) of relevant source material (thereby owing great debts to many blog readers)
  • corresponding with lots of libraries, record offices, and other depositories
  • TONS of internet searching
  • accepting the help of anyone who offers (see “obtaining copies”)
  • asking for help, when the distance is too great to make a personal visit (ditto)
  • spending precious hours/days/weeks at wonderful libraries and archives
  • typing-transcribing-writing-rewriting-proofing-searching-questioning-rewriting-proofing

No research assistants – No typists – No funding = A One-Man Band!

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Postal – it’s history

June 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm (diaries, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Been there – done that – got the T-shirt.

This one, of course, says it all, as far as I’m concerned!

During the last few evenings, I’ve been re-reading, correcting transcriptions, and trying to figure out what I have — and what I still need to see — for Smith & Gosling letters.

Not counting what I’ve not yet pursued (ie, family archives at a couple large estates), I’ve amassed more than 300 letters — and I’m still counting, for I know more is out there.

Just in the last month, three letters surfaced and a very kind gentleman let me see their contents! One was a bit out of the ordinary: signed Norman, I believe this woman (rather than dear Miss Meen, the painter of flowers, who gave lessons to the Smiths — and Queen Charlotte and her princesses) – Mrs Norman – a good contender for the post of governess to the daughters of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park. She is certainly around the family, and very “familiar”, although I still can’t quite track her down. They’re either “too young or too old”.

My latest “craze” has been for letters written by young Augusta Smith (later: Mrs Henry Wilder of Purley and Sulham). Ah! she is just a delight. A quick wit, with a ready turn of phrase.  Here, in the 1830s, Augusta is on the Isle of Wight, for the health of her toddling son. Doesn’t this just transport you back in time, at the hand of a fashionable wit?

“– A lovely cottage close by has just been taken by Mrs. Mason a daughter of L:d Hoods with a host of progeny of all ages – her husband is commanding a ship in the Medit:n & she is going to beguile his absence tomorrow by a “dejeuner dinant” & dansant” w:h I suppose will bring hither a whole squadron of galleys & barges full of blue jackets, white trowsers & gold epaulettes from Portsmouth

Don’t you just want to read more?

I’m always thrilled to hear from readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen, who have some pieces of my particular puzzle — letters, diaries, sketches even. Let me hear from you!

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More Jane Austen Portrait News

June 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm (jane austen, jasna, news, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , )

Kate in Norfolk sent the following link, about the Rice Portrait:

TheDaily Mail’s story undoubtedly gives the family some encouragement about authenticity. Although, it also sheds light on the possible artist!

Read the article, then visit the “Rice Portrait” website. For more on Paula Byrne’s “Austin” portrait, see her website.

Art History News discusses “written” IDs on works, which rather echoes my own thoughts – especially after the Byrne portrait’s incongruous handwriting (see earlier posts on that portrait for a picture of the inscription Miss Jane Austin).

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British Art Research web

June 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm (fashion, history, research) (, , , , )

Have only recently visited this EXCEPTIONALLY useful website, but what a plethora of information. How I envy anyone in this field for having this resource!

See, for instance this upcoming conference on The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress, 1750-1850. Or Fashioning the Early Modern – at the V&A.

If anyone is interested in “pooling talents” and doing something similar for Regency England History Research, do let me know.

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Queen Victoria tweets!

June 5, 2012 at 11:49 am (british royalty, diaries, europe, history, news, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Charlotte Frost, a great friend to Two Teens in the Time of Austen ever since the publication of her excellent biography Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician, has alerted readers to the most wonderful news any “subject” could hear about in a Jubilee year: The Royal Archives have digitalized Queen Victoria’s journals!

**Access the journals via their homepage: Queen Victoria’s Journals**

What do you get when you visit? “In total 141 volumes of her journal survive, numbering 43,765 pages. They have never before been published in their entirety and have hitherto only been accessible to scholars by appointment…”


Here is Victoria’s sketch of the singer Mademoiselle Grisi, 1834.

Sketches have their own search & see page – and just looking at all of this young girl’s work, over the years, gives a genuine thrill for those of us studying “naive” art in the 19th century. Her children’s portraits are sheer delight.

Marina Warner has written about Queen Victoria Sketching, and included comments about early lessons with Richard Westall, RA.

I LOVE that you even have choices to see Victoria’s “originals”, or later transcriptions and typescripts.

So why have I headed this blog post “Queen Victoria tweets“? In a statement, the Palace announced not only this digitization project, but also two other “projects”:

  • Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook
  • “Over the Diamond Jubilee period, the Twitter account @QueenVictoriaRI will tweet selected excerpts from Queen Victoria’s Journals, illustrated by links to photographs, paintings and original documents. This account will run from 24th May until 7th June”

 * * *

NOTE OF LIMITED-TIME OFFER: except in the UK, access to Queen Victoria’s journals have an expiry date! Visit before July 1st… Those that giveth, also taketh away.

UPDATED: hurrah – but hurry: access has been extended to 31 July 2012 due to “the very positive response”.

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Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

June 2, 2012 at 6:49 am (british royalty, history) (, , , )

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