What's the Jane Austen News this week?Austen's Letter Makes A Fortune! We mentioned in last week's Jane Austen News that a letter written by Jane to her niece Anna Lefroy in 1812 was going to auction for the first time. In the letter Jane writes disparagingly of Rachel Hunter’s gothic novel Lady Maclairn, the Victim of Villainy, calling it “most tiresome and prosy” (although both Jane and Anna took great pleasure in reading the melodramatic, sensationalist, clichéd text; it seemed to be a case of the novel being so bad that it was good). Well the sale took place on July the 11th, and despite the estimation being between £80,000 and £100,000, the price which the letter eventually fetched was £162,000! Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in books and manuscripts, had a theory about why the letter did so well. “The vast majority of her surviving letters talk about her day-to-day life, so to have a letter like we do here, that talks specifically about writing and shows her engaging with the popular literature of the day, is hugely significant."
Celebrating July the 18th in Style!
- Two of the Centre guides, Alice and James, donned their best Regency costumes and headed out with photographer Owen Benson to take some shots around some of Bath's most iconic backdrops which Jane would have enjoyed (pictures soon!).
- Martin, one of our experienced costumed guides, conducted free walking tours through the Georgian streets of Bath. These took in the places where Jane walked, shopped and visited, and the places made famous in her novels. The walk also passed the exciting new Jane Austen Floral Display in Bath's Parade Gardens.
- At 11a.m. BST we held a minute's silence to officially mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death and to reflect on Jane’s life and works.
- Just after our minute's silence, micro-artist Graham Short presented us with a fifth Jane Austen £5 note, which he had engraved especially for the Centre. Graham caused a media storm last year, when he put into circulation four £5 notes which he had engraved with miniature portraits of Jane Austen, each valued at £50,000. His special fifth £5 note is now on display in the Centre.
- After the presentation, Graham Short and some of the Jane Austen Centre guides popped upstairs to the Regency Tearooms for media interviews. (We'll share some of our best bits with you in next week's Jane Austen News).
Eau de Pemberley
It couldn’t have been close family she feared would discover her. Many knew she wrote fiction; some helped her try to sell it. They produced their own literary work, too. It’s implausible that she set out to hide her writing from servants, who would have had greater access to her habits, conversations and possessions than some visiting family members. Yes, it’s true that Austen published her fiction without putting her name to it. But that was a common practice in her day, for men and women. New data suggests that 60 percent of novels published in this period didn’t carry the name of the author.So what do you think? Shy and retiring? Or a nephew with an unreliable memory? Or something else entirely?
They don’t make them like that any more. Just look at all those semicolons! What it must be to be able to arrange our unwieldy English language into such order and balance. It’s as if she’s trained an elephant to dance over a tightrope, then made it tell a joke as it pirouettes off the end. Better still, there are hundreds of pages of this stuff. We’re in the presence of a master – it’s going to be an excellent month.
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[…] The parade began from the front of the Royal Crescent at 11am, and wound its way through the historic streets of Bath, finishing up at the beautiful Parade Gardens where a floral tribute to Jane Austen in this, her bicentenary year, has been on display throughout summer (you can read more about it in previous editions of the Jane Austen News here and here). […]
[…] Jane Austen News – Issue 76 – Jane Austen Centre […]