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Showing posts from June, 2008

A Redcoat Dressed as a Young Lady-Whatever Next?!!!

One of the aspects of writing a Pride and Prejudice sequel that I enjoyed immensely was taking a small incident and making it my own in Lydia Bennet's Story. Jane Austen mentions the following event in a few sentences, almost as an aside. I thought it would be fun to imagine just what happened when Lydia dressed up one of the officers to pass him off as a lady. Here Jane Austen has Lydia telling her sisters about it in Pride and Prejudice.

"Dear me! we had such a good piece of fun the other day at Colonel Forster’s. Kitty and me were to spend the day there, and Mrs. Forster promised to have a little dance in the evening (by the bye, Mrs. Forster and me are such friends!); and so she asked the two Harringtons to come, but Harriet was ill, and so Pen was forced to come by herself; and then, what do you think we did? We dressed up Chamberlayne in woman’s clothes on purpose to pass for a lady — only think what fun! Not a soul knew of it, but Colonel and Mrs. Forster, and Kitty and…

A Calendar for Pride and Prejudice

It is thought that Jane Austen first started writing a version of Pride and Prejudice as early as 1796. After her father's unsuccessful attempt to have it published the following year she put it aside, revising it later and eventually having the joy of seeing it published in 1813. Many people have tried to work out a calendar for the book. The only initial clue to the years in which Jane set her novel comes from a letter from Mr Gardiner:

"Gracechurch Street, Monday,
August 2.

"MY DEAR BROTHER, - At last I am able to send you some tidings of my niece, and such as, upon the whole, I hope will give you satisfaction. Soon after you left me on Saturday, I was fortunate enough to find out in what part of London they were. The particulars I reserve till we meet: it is enough to know they are discovered. I have seen them both - ".......

If Jane Austen had a calendar in mind then there are several possibilities but my own research, along with other factors, led me to dec…

Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

In Lydia's imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention to tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw all the glories of the camp - its tents stretched forth in beauteous uniformity of lines, crowded with the young and the gay, and dazzling with scarlet; and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once. From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
The reality of life for the officers was most certainly quite different to that of Lydia's imagination. Like Wickham, many of the officers lived well beyond their means and were in debt. The entertainments were very tempting, including gentleman's clubs where fortunes could be lost at the gambling tables. Ragget's was typical of this type of establishment and in Lydia B…

Happy Father's Day and a review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Jane Austen in Vermont

Happy Father's Day! It's a beautiful day here in the UK for Father's Day and I hope all fathers everywhere have a lovely day. Jane Austen's father always encouraged her writing, buying her a writing desk and a special notebook in which to write early compositions. He inscribed one of them with the following words - "Effusions of Fancy by a very Young Lady Consisting of Tales in a Style entirely new". Mr Austen admired Pride and Prejudice when Jane first wrote the novel, offering it to Mr Cadell, a publisher, in November 1797, describing the book as a "manuscript novel comprising three volumes, about the length of Miss Burney's 'Evelina'" and asked if Mr Cadell would like to see the work with a view to arranging its publication, "either at the author's risk or otherwise." The novel was declined by return of post and it was another fifteen years before Jane revised the novel and saw its eventual publication. Can you imagine, …

My Writing Life

I'm very excited at the moment because my second novel, another Jane Austen sequel is almost finished. I think I've got about another week's work to do on it and it will be completed. I normally work quite slowly, spending a lot of time thinking as much as writing, but when I get to this stage I am like a person possessed. I don't want to leave my computer and I can't type quickly enough to get everything down. I also don't blog as much, you might have noticed. All the threads of the plot are coming together, all problems are starting to be resolved, with the exception of one or two plot twists. I'm sure every writer must feel like this - I can't wait to get to the end but at the same time I do not want to leave the characters I have come to love behind!
I shall put it away when it is finished for a week or two before editing it and worrying over it. Will anyone enjoy reading my book?Will people think I have been faithful to the characters - the agony go…

Jane Austen at the seaside

Summer is almost upon us though perhaps you wouldn't know it by the rainy weather at present! Regency seaside resorts became very popular in the late 1700's/ early 1800's. Jane Austen loved Lyme Regis and even used the town in her book Persuasion. Here are a couple of extracts from a letter she sent to her sister Cassandra on Friday, September 14th 1804. ...I continue quite well; in proof of which I have bathed again this morning. It was absolutely necessary that I should have the little fever and indisposition which I had: it has been all the fashion this week in Lyme...The ball last night was pleasant, but not full for Thursday. My father staid contentedly till half-past nine (we went a little after eight), and then walked home with James and a lanthorn, though I believe the lanthorn was not lit, as the moon was up, but sometimes this lanthorn may be a great convenience to him. My mother and I staid about an hour later. Nobody asked me the two first dances; the next two …