2017 – the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death – will see a *new* biography published by none other than Lucy Worsley.
We all know Worsley’s work from her many TV specials – “Tales from the Royal Wardrobe”, “Tales from the Royal Bedchamber”, “The First Georgians”, “A Very British Murder”, “Harlots, Housewives & Heroines”, etc. etc. I have certainly enjoyed her book The Courtiers: Splendour and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace, which brought some refreshing storytelling.
In its early stage provisionally entitled AT HOME WITH JANE AUSTEN (which already exists among the “Jane Austen” series of books by Kim Wilson), the biography tell Jane Austen’s “story through the rooms, spaces, possessions and places which mattered to her”. Says Worsley’s editor: “Lucy’s knowledge of the period makes her the perfect biographer and her wonderful writing style will truly bring Jane Austen and her world to life.”
Worsley used a Kensington Palace painting to open the oft-told history of the first Hanoverian King George. What will she use for Jane Austen? Will it look at Steventon, which is no longer existing, as well as Chawton and Bath? Chawton is a source for many items that belonged to Austen – for instance, her jewelry. Her writing slope is also on public display.
- Jane Austen’s Writing Habits
- The History of Jane Austen’s Writing Desk (PDF)
- Jane Austen @ The British Library
“… an everyday object that had been
important to her writing life.”
Paula Byrne’s book, The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, sought a similar approach away from the typical cradle-to-grave biography. It will be *fun* to see how Worsley works out the lack of any new discoveries. Will she recreate some of the homes, spaces, and places that Austen knew? Perhaps readers of If Walls Could Talk will have advance knowledge of the Worsley’s approach. Worsley has already been caught rubbing elbows with Regency dandies. And she’s even got a work of fiction, as well as her TV-tie-ins, on bookstore shelves. Lucy Worsley is one of four writers who back in April (2016) discussed Lizzy & Darcy and themselves.
The Hodder & Stoughton website gives the following information:
- title (revised from above): Jane Austen at Home
- projected pagination (nicely hefty): 352 pages
- release date (it’ll be here before we know it): 18 May 2017