Tag Archives: Austen

What about religion?

English: "Protested that he never read no...

English: “Protested that he never read novels” – Mr. Collins claims that he never reads novels. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen, 1894, page 87. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The seams of Nasty-Aunt Norris and Optimistic-Jane Bennet

English: Henry Austen (1771-1850), brother of ...

English: Henry Austen (1771-1850), brother of Jane Austen ? However, see David Cecil : A Portrait of Jane Austen, where it shows as James, not Henry Austen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What  is remarkable about the Austen family is that they could maintain such good relationships throughout their life despite the disparity in income and lifestyle, achievements and abilities. The naval officers, Charles and Frank were often away for years at a time. Keeping in touch must have been a priority. There is also Henry’s bankruptcy which must have caused friction as various brothers lost money. And if this wasn’t enough, James and Henry were rivals for their cousin, the sophisticated Eliza! It might just be that Jane Austen changed the genders with her love trysts in Mansfield Park and Persuasion. She must have seen first hand the emotionally charged atmosphere Continue reading

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An aunt is a ‘person of consequence’

CassandraAusten-FannyKnight

CassandraAusten-FannyKnight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane was close to her siblings and her siblings’ children. Her first nieces, Fanny and Anna, held a special place. Fanny was “almost another sister”.

Jane Austen took being an aunt seriously. When writing to a younger niece Caroline, in her later life she says, Continue reading

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What about Cassandra’s first and only love?

English: Silhouette of Cassandra Austen (1773-...

English: Silhouette of Cassandra Austen (1773-1845), sister of Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More successful  than Jane’s first love but with a tragic outcome was Jane’s sister Cassandra‘s  love affair with Tom Fowle. Tom was a friend of the family having spent time as a pupil in Mr George Austen’s school. In some ways these young adults grew up together. The school was part of the house and George Austen’s pupils  joined the Austen family, both the brothers and the sisters in family life.

Cassandra became engaged to Tom in 1792, but there was no money and so rather than a marriage, Continue reading

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Beware the seemingly perfect person

English: Persuasion, ch 21: Anne Elliot read a...

English: Persuasion, ch 21: Anne Elliot read a letter from Mr Elliot.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Austen warns us to suspect the perfect person. Mr Elliot,  from Persuasion, the heir to Kellynch estate is such a perfect person. He says and does all that is expected of him. He doesn’t let himself behave like an embarrassing git. In society, he conducts himself in an exemplary manner, tuned in to all the wishes of all around him and he plays court to those he wishes to infiltrate very successfully. Continue reading

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Did Austen espouse feminist values?

Now that Now that Jane Austen has her place on the British bank note we can ask: did she espouse feminist values? Previously I had assumed not. Yet,  it is an interesting universal truth if you like,  once you start looking for something you do invariably find it. Such was the case when reading and re reading the Austen Six. Many examples were found. One example of Austen’s remarkably modern critique of the power structures of the world in which the Austen Six is set is in Persuasion. Continue reading

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Is sitting at our desks good for us?

English: Persuasion (last Jane Austen Novel) c...

English: Persuasion (last Jane Austen Novel) ch 23 : Captain Wentworth is showing his letter to Anne, “with eyes eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her” Français : Persuasion (Jane Austen) ch 23. Frederick Wentworth montre à Anne une lettre sur le secrétaire, en la regardant avec insistance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being outside, walking or strolling and being in the elements lifts our spirits. I remember a book once that started out with the premise that GOD actually was an acronym and stood for the Great Out Doors! It made sense; the great outdoors – sunshine, wind, the sky – can bring about a significant increase in wellbeing. Could it just be possible that the reason some of us struggle to find happiness in the modern age is because many of us work at desks?  In our world we have so many other things available to make us feel good when we are down but perhaps the simplest and the easiest is Continue reading

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