The “Invisible Cast”

December 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , )

Being the anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth (16 Dec 1775) — as well, I must mention, of the marriage of Emma Smith and James Edward Austen (16 Dec 1828) — JASNA publishes Persuasions On-line. The first article which GRABBED my attention was Natalie Walshe’s “The Importance of Servants in Jane Austen’s Novels.”

all austen

The servants who come-go-serve the Smith & Gosling households are, as in Jane Austen’s novels, there. One must, however, tease them out! Sometimes they appear as a surname only. Or, when a first name, you wonder if when a first AND last name comes up IF the two are the same person — or different people. I’ve a few names posted online – but, gosh, there are TONS more. (I have been VERY remiss getting more names online.)

And how welcome an opportunity when someone points out a more subtle WHY behind the “half-smile” of such as Baddeley! (Mansfield Park) So many small points go over our heads (for, I don’t know about YOU, but I’ve never employed a servant…)

Consider Persuasions On-line as an early Christmas present: much to be enjoyed!

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Extras:

“A servant should neither blow his nose or spit in his master’s presence;
and, if possible, neither sneeze nor cough.”
— Dr. Trusler, Domestic Management (1819)

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Lovers’ Vows in performance (a review)

November 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm (books, entertainment, history, news) (, , , , , )

It is RARE that one hears about performances of the “play within the novel” — used by Jane Austen in Mansfield Park — of Mrs Inchbald’s Lovers’ Vows – and I’ve a treat for Two Teens Readers: a member of its recent audience who was enthusiastic about writing a short review!

Contact information for the performing group – Artifice – is included in the links. Now: On with the Show…

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Lovers’ Vows by Elizabeth Inchbald, 1798
Performed by Artifice at Groundlings Theatre, Portsea [Hampshire, England]
13 November 2014

This was a bustling, engaging production, the action spilling from stage to auditorium, and every door fair game for an exit or entrance.

Frederick, an impoverished junior officer, returns to his village after five years’ absence to obtain his birth certificate, without which he cannot obtain promotion. His mother, Agatha, who brought him up alone, tells him in great distress that he has no certificate because he is illegitimate. Her lover vowed to marry her, and at his request she promised not to name him as the father of their unborn child. He broke his vow to her, but she kept hers to him and was disowned by all who knew her. Frederick insists on knowing who his father is, and Agatha reveals that he is the present Baron Wildenhaim.

Frederick is bitter about Wildenhaim’s treatment of Agatha, who is now destitute through ill health, and by mischance the two men clash without knowing each other’s identity. Tragedy seems inevitable, but Frederick and Wildenhaim eventually avoid it by exercising forgiveness and good will, and they embrace as father and son.

There’s no escaping Jane Austen’s Northamptonshire Novel, which Artifice acknowledges through the hair and dress of Wildenhaim’s daughter, the only character who doesn’t wear uniform or occupational costume. But forget the Mansfield Park prism.

Lovers’ Vows is not a frothy romance. With a versifying butler to delay the plot and ratchet up the tension, Inchbald trumps Shakespeare’s tedious porter in Macbeth. And the denouement’s requirement that social distinctions give way to fairness was a dangerous proposition for 1798.

Artifice’s motto is ‘Classical plays in beautiful places’, and this production was perfect for Groundlings’ distinctive eighteenth-century venue – the Beneficial School, or the Old Benny as it is known locally. Where else would the barman come out from behind the bar to treat his patrons to a lively, pre-performance history of the theatre, ghosts and all? Artifice, come back soon.

Charlotte Frost
author, Sir William Knighton

Lovers' Vows [Artifice]

Amelia [Mairi-Clare Murphy] visiting Frederick in prison.

artifice

 

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Miss Meen hits “Jane Austen’s Regency World”

June 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm (books, chutes of the vyne, history, jane austen, research) (, , , , , , , , )

Just thrilled to bits to see the release of the July/August issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine: my article on Margaret Meen is included:

Jane Austen Regency World_8-14

Margaret Meen – believed by some to have been governess to the four Smith sisters of Erle Stoke Park – AKA, Lady Northampton, Mrs Chute, Mrs Smith and Miss Smith – was definitely a painter (on vellum and paper) of botanicals, and a teacher. Including, as the JARW line suggests: to the Royal family of Queen Charlotte and her girls. I truly hope that I’ve uncovered a bit of “life” for this somewhat undiscovered artist — and invite you to seek out a copy of the full-color publication that promises to deliver “EVERYTHING that is happening in the world of Jane Austen“, including this tidbit of Smith & Gosling history.

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Mansfield Park in Montreal

May 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm (entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , )

This coming October, the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of JASNA – the Jane Austen Society of North America – is hosted by Montreal, a not-far drive from my northern Vermont home. I’ve been taking a look at the schedule of break-out speakers.

Session F is going to be REALLY hard to decide one “just one” – for there are three speakers whose topics call to me. Sarah Bowen discusses CLERGYMEN’S WIVES, which of course encompasses my Emma – and her sisters Augusta, Fanny, and Maria!

But there’s also Jacqueline Reid-Walsh‘s topic of “girls’ domestic activities,” which includes a look at “modifying prints as artwork”. Those show up in the Smith & Gosling homes several times over.

Tess O’Toole and Jocelyn Harris offer two more talks in the same session. Oh, dear… I slightly (currently) give the nod to Harris, for she wonders if Fanny and Susan Price could possibly have been based in some way on Fanny and Susan Burney.

And Sarah Emsley‘s topic has really caught my attention: Lady Sherbrooke, wife of the Lt-Gov. of Nova Scotia has been caught reading MP in tandem with her sister in 1815! What nuggets of diary or letter entries might this talk hold???

LOTS to think about in the weeks before the AGM opens for registration.

The post-chaise to Montreal leaves in October

 

 

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Jane Austen on AbeBooks

April 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm (books, jane austen, jasna) (, , , )

The Persuasive Books of Jane Austen is the title of ABE’s little stroll through “All Books Austen”:

abe_jane austen

I include a screen shot of both Mansfield Park — which is this fall’s topic at the JASNA AGM, as well as Emma — since her covers are so photogenic here!

ABE’s list was included as part of their current newsletter, which features explorations of historical novels, graphic novels, even “books by Inklings“. They call it their BUCKET LIST FOR AVID READERS.

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Mansfield Park – Marspeachgirl reviews

September 26, 2013 at 7:39 am (books, entertainment, jane austen) (, , , , )

Having finished Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park this past weekend (VERY enjoyable!), I wanted to sample an adaptation or two – so of course went to YouTube. Found there the 1983 BBC series, which I’ve never seen (only watched episode 1, so far). Looking a bit more, Marspeachgirl’s video review turned up. Recommended, for offering perspective on the novel, and three DVD-available offerings.

mp-review

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Treatise on Carriages

September 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm (books, carriages & transport, jane austen, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Am currently enjoying a long-overdue re-read of Mansfield Park – am actually getting to know Fanny better than any prior reading. And I wanted to fit inside my head the difference between a barouche and chaise (chapter VIII). Chapman had luckily made mention in the appendix of “CARRIAGES AND TRAVEL” – and turning to that for a brief peek I just had to look up the text cited: William Felton’s A Treatise on Carriages. Chapman cited the 1801 edition; books.google has an edition from 1794. There are a few other “treatises” which look to be of interest as well. Happy perusing!

cabriolet

cabriolet

Read about the servants servicing these carriages and their horses:

Past posts on the subject of horses and carriages:

More on:

UK Carriage Museums:

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Clue to Kutzebue

January 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm (books, entertainment, europe, jane austen, research, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Thanks to the “power” of the internet, a question five years in the making, has been answered! Danke, Sabine!

A letter written in 1833 regarding a trip into Derbyshire by Mamma, her three unmarried daughters (Fanny, Eliza, Maria), and the Austens – not only Edward and Emma but also Edward’s sister Caroline Austen, has been used as a source in my Persuasions article “Derbyshires Corresponding: Elizabeth Bennet and the Austen Tour of 1833” (the 2008 print article also appears online).

In the midst of discussing the beauties of Derbyshire, the letter writer draws on a memory – but I was never sure quite what memory had been stirred…

The original transcription read:

– Ashbourne is quite small, & the town all very close together: Eliza made me look out of the bedroom window of our nice little Inn when it grew dark, she was so struck with its likeness to one’s idea of the street scene at Crackwinkel – do you remember when Sabina & [Thuars; Sh???ars] hide themselves behind the dark lamp post? there was just such a one in the little narrow street there, & even Spurling’s window. —We got up at 6 the next morning to make a little sketch…

I have searched for this; my guess at the time was ‘sounds like a book?‘ But what do you search for? Look up Crackwinkel and Google asks if you mean “crack winkel”… Not a help!

And Sabina’s company, the loss of that second name meant I had only SABINA to search for. Not a help either.

But the place name, ending in Winkel, pointed to something in German. I’m still not sure whether Maria has written the character’s name as Sabina (an anglicized version of the correct German spelling, Sabine) or that Spurling isn’t what she writes. The letter came to me as a xerox, AND it’s cross written!

I emailed my Sabine (whose delightful blog is Kleidung um 1800), a picture of the paragraph, but she had already cracked this old nut.

I’m going to include the photo, and if you would like to see if you can decipher this section of the letter, click on the photo to enlarge. The answer to the puzzle will be given after the “MORE” link in this post.

1833 letter-2

The lines begin 2nd line from the top. You will see …windows are beautiful — Ashbourne is quite small… Keep reading. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fanny Fitzwilliam Palmer Austen

January 8, 2013 at 7:28 am (books, diaries, history, jane austen, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As readers will know from my earlier discussion of Deborah Kaplan’s Jane Austen Among Women, the book gives a wealth of information about the female relatives and neighbors of the Austen family – for my purposes, Eliza Chute and her sister-in-law Mary Bramston; Eliza’s mother Sarah Smith; and Eliza’s bosom friend Eliza Gosling. But re-reading the book after MANY years, I am drawn even more into the Austen family — young Fanny Knight; her governesses Miss Chapman and Miss Sharp; and a brief mention of Uncle Charles’ Bermuda-born wife Fanny Palmer.

It sinks in today, seeing her listing at Stanford, that Fanny’s middle name was Fitzwilliam…. Indeed… (Le Faye, of course, does mention that fact).

I did a little looking around, for there is mention of letters at the Morgan Library — one place I would be able to visit if the Leon Levy Fellowship at CUNY came through! Here’s an image of Fanny Palmer Austen from the blog Mansfield Park: Thoughts on Jane Austen’s Novel:

fanny palmerMiss Sneyd’s wonderful post is entitled the Fanny Hall of Fame (do read all the parts; & intro, too); indeed, I could add a Fanny or two myself! Miss Sneyd handily includes Fanny Palmer’s link at the peerage dot com; here she is at Stanford. Ellen Moody touches on Fanny’s death (and “colonial” relations in general).

As to the Pierpont Morgan Library; it took a while, but there finally were Fanny Austen’s few letters. They exist at the Morgan thanks to a bequest by Gordon N. Ray — the same source as the Walter Scott novels illustrated by the Compton siblings! The letters date from the period 1810-1814.

Readers all joke, So Little Time, So Many Books – in research the same holds, but distance and money are factors harder to overcome than simple lack of time. Someday…

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Jane-A-Day: a Jane Austen five-year diary

November 4, 2012 at 10:55 am (books, diaries, jane austen) (, , , , , )

Some frivolous “fun” for a grey Sunday morning:

A few days ago I came across this “Jane-a-Day” five-year diary published by Potter Style. Emma or Mary would perhaps not mind the few lines given over to each day, space left for five of each date; but my diary entries ramble and bellow, moan and thrill — I do, however, LOVE the quick burst of Austen quotation that each day brings. I include a few found through Amazon’s “look inside” feature:

 

I might have to hunt this book up just to dip into these pearls of humor and wisdom…

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