Blog

What Janeites Talk About When They Talk About Jane Austen

Today I received an invitation to the first real-life event of the Scottish branch of the Jane Austen Society UK, and I cannot express how much I am looking forward to it. As excellent as the online events have been, being on Zoom prevents us from having those all-important chats.   The meeting got me thinking [...]

Austen in August is back!

I was delighted to hear that The Book Rat's epic Austen in August event is back on. This yearly gathering of Janeites from all corners of the Internet and beyond is a classic for the community of Jane Austen Fans. Last year's circumstances (namely the pandemic) meant that there was no 2020 edition, but fear [...]

Influential Widows and Matriarchs in Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s novels are brimming with formidable and highly opinionated ladies. At a time when the female ideal was passive and even-tempered, she never shied away from creating characters that were quite the opposite.  Today, we will look at some of the older women in her novels, how the author portrays them, and who amongst [...]

Dogs in Jane Austen’s Novels

Although (just like servants) they are often little remarked upon, dogs are everywhere in Jane Austen’s novels. In the Regency, dogs were an essential feature of countryside living: we might as well imagine their incessant barking in the background when we read Austen's stories, particularly during hunting season or when the men head outside. Most dogs [...]

The Mechanical Turk, or the Chess-Playing Machine that Beat Napoleon

It was the year 1809. The Napoleonic Wars were in full swing, but the French general had other interests besides fighting the British over Spain and Portugal.  Around the time Jane Austen and her mother and sister moved to Chawton and took possession of their new home, courtesy of Jane’s brother Edward, Napoleon arrived in [...]

Fathers and Daughters in Jane Austen’s Novels

“When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless, for, of course, they were to have a son. The son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for. Five daughters [...]

A Bad Fall, a Broken Limb and a Regency Surgeon: Professor Colles and Me

Two months ago I slipped over treacherous dark ice, fell and broke my left wrist. I had never broken a bone before, so it was quite a shock. I had a distal radius fracture, one of the most common wrist injuries, and it wasn’t a pretty sight! When I fell, my skin didn’t break, but [...]

House Moves in Jane Austen’s Novels

My two siblings have moved house in the last couple of months. In both cases, the change was for the better, but the upheaval of a house move is not always positive.  Jane Austen had to leave her home behind several times in her lifetime, in some cases very reluctantly. Perhaps that’s why changes of [...]

Charlotte of Wales, a Regency Princess – and Jane Austen Fan

I am lucky enough to live a short drive from Holyrood Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The palace includes the Queen’s Gallery, which features an ever-changing array of exhibitions from the Royal Collection that never fail to inspire me (an exhibition of Maria Merian’s drawings inspired a key scenes with Mr [...]

The Unfortunate Choices in the Jane Austen Ten Pound Note

On 14 September 2017, a £10 banknote featuring Jane Austen entered circulation.  The launch coincided with the 200th anniversary of the death of the writer, who passed away prematurely on 18 July 1817. It’s a recognition conveyed to very few individuals (and a tiny number of women). All in all, an incredible honour. Janeites celebrated the arrival of [...]