Further Reading

  • Jane Austen’s Birthday, Season of Giving, and Chawton House Library

    We’re coming to the end of a year commemorating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, but I prefer to celebrate the great author’s birth. December 16, 2017, marks her 242nd birthday. This day of celebration falls in the middle of the Christmas season, a time of joy and giving. For this reason, I’d like to ...

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  • Book Launch of ‘Austen Marriage’; Plus Excerpt, Giveaway!

    Having written the last several times about Jane Austen’s relationships with men–and the confusion about which relationships were real and which ones lacked supporting evidence–I am announcing today the launch of the last volume in my trilogy based on her life, “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen.” True to what is (actually) known about her ...

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  • Last Volume of ‘Marriage’ Available for Pre-order

    My last several posts have provided background on what little is known about Jane Austen’s relationships with men. In short, several promising relationships ended prematurely and, according to tradition, she lived a quiet life as a spinster, composing or extensively revising her novels at the family cottage in the village of Chawton, Hampshire. But as I’ve ...

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  • Last Pieces Snap into Place in Austen Puzzle

    Stepping back 200 years, what we see in Jane Austen’s personal life are tantalizing hints of relationships but primarily obfuscation about any possible romances from 1802, when she was 26, until her retirement to Chawton Cottage with the other Austen women in 1809. As described in my last two blogs, Jane had one boyfriend, Tom Lefroy ...

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  • A Dance to Time: When Wellington Became a Janeite

    The “Long War,” as it was known in the day, raged between England and France during almost all of Jane Austen’s adulthood. Two of her brothers served in the Navy, and the others served in or supported the Militia. England’s problem from the start was that it had no effective way to take the war ...

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  • A Modest Proposal: Might the Spinster Have Married?

    As reported in last month’s blog about Jane Austen’s romantic attachments, biographers dutifully recount the story of Jane’s acceptance/rejection of a proposal by Harris Bigg-Wither, a young, brash man six years her junior, on Thursday-Friday, 2-3 December 1802. The story goes that Jane and Cassandra journeyed to Manydown, the Bigg-Wither estate, for several weeks of leisure ...

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  • Brotherly Love?

    In a recent blog, I wrote about the general but oft ignored belief that cousins should not marry. Cousin marriage was fashionable in Jane Austen’s time among the wealthy, but it also happened more than once in Jane’s immediate family. Her brother Henry (top, by headline) married their cousin Eliza, and the son of brother Frank married the ...

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  • Engaging Stories About Miss Austen and Her Beaus

    How many times was Jane Austen engaged—or married (!)? Thoughts about her short life—and her emotional life, whatever it may have been—bubble up in this year of 2017, the 200th anniversary of her death. Officially, Austen was engaged once, for less than a day, to a young, callow Harris Bigg-Wither, in 1802. Because the engagement is ...

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  • To Celebrate Austen’s Life, Chance to Win Collector’s Edition

    Jane Austen lovers the world over have spent the last week commemorating the loss of the author at the far too young age of 41. She died on July 18, 1817, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral on July 24. In recognition of her passing, we are inviting our fellow Austen fans to enter a contest ...

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  • Austen and the Cathedral: Was Interment a Signal Honor?

    This week marks the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, who died on July 18, 1817 of an unknown disease (Addison’s leads the speculation). Tributes have been flowing through any number of activities, readings, evensongs, and events, leading to July 24, the date of her funeral. In the UK, public ...

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  • Marrying a Cousin

    There’s a whole lot of marrying going on in Jane Austen’s novels. Among the major characters of her six major novels, at least nineteen couples tie the knot. One wedding was so singular that it could have been halted in certain quarters, then and now. The marriage in Mansfield Park between Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram, ...

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  • Miss Austen—No Politician, She

    In this, the 200th anniversary year of Jane Austen’s death, we learn that white supremacists are co-opting the English author in support of a racial dictatorship, shocked opponents are claiming that true readers are “rational, compassionate, liberal-minded people,” and conservatives are chiding Janeites for assuming that great literature can be written only by great liberals. All ...

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  • Rules of the Road for Regency Language

    Recently, some writers online were discussing language, particularly the use of language for an historical period such as the Regency age. I was traveling and unable to jump into the discussion, but the comments set me to reflect about my approach—which I had considered for quite a while as I began my historical fiction based ...

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  • Austen and MTM: Pleasantly Subversive

    When the news came recently that Mary Tyler Moore had died, I joined millions of others in feeling a deep sadness at the loss of an actress who had lit up television during a relatively bland era. Before she was done, Moore won seven Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards, received a Lifetime Achievement Award ...

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  • Impressions of Australia

    On the week-long visit to Australia to discuss the time and works of Jane Austen with fellow Janeites, the schedule set up so that I had a day on and a day off, giving me the opportunity to see a little of the country-continent. This was a welcome change from my only other visit, a ...

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  • Austen in Australia

    I spent the week in Australia, giving presentations on the history and work of Jane Austen. The lectures took me to Sydney, where I spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, and at a local library; and at the Austen societies in Newcastle and Brisbane. As in America as ...

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  • Do Austen’s Novels Reveal Her Views on Slavery?

    My last blog explored the effort in England to abolish the slave trade—the buying and selling of human flesh—which was accomplished in 1807—as well as the effort to eliminate slavery itself throughout all British possessions, which was not accomplished until 1840. Slave owners were helped through their “difficult” six-year period of adjustment, 1834-1840, with payments of ...

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  • Fight Against Slavery Carried on Beyond Austen’s Life

    Slavery was one of the most contentious issues of Jane Austen’s time. Some scholars claim that she ignored the issue or even accepted the legitimacy of the practice. Others claim that her novel Mansfield Park serves as an anti-slavery tract. For certain, Austen would have tackled the complex issue in a complex way. The fight to abolish ...

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  • What Did Jane Austen Look Like?

    Jane Austen watercolor

    What did Jane Austen look like? No one really knows. Which is to say: We know fairly precisely her size and shape, but only a little of what her face looks like. A forensic analysis done by clothing expert Hilary Davidson in 2015 details Austen’s figure. By analyzing an outer garment called a pelisse, known to have ...

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  • Strolling in the Pleasure Gardens of Jane Austen’s Bath

    Whereas the first day of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath was as dreary as anyone could wish to avoid—enlivened only by the gaily dressed ladies and gentlemen who braved the rain for the Promenade—the next day broke off as sunny and pleasant as anyone in England would wish to enjoy. The major activity for our group ...

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  • News Release

    The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Trilogy’s Volume II Now Available for Pre-order Official book launch at Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, in September PORTLAND, Oregon, August 30, 2016 – Volume II of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Trilogy, a new historical novel based on Austen’s life, is now available for pre-order on Amazon and ...

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  • Pre-order Volume II — Just $3.99

    I try to write interesting, thoughtful blogs on a semi-regular basis, so I hope readers will indulge the rare promotional notice. Especially when it involves eighteen months of hard work and relates directly to the existence of this website. Meaning, I’m very pleased to announce that Volume II in “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” ...

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  • Did Austen Speak Posh?

    Jane Austen's Hampshire accent

    In our last blog, we heard how Shakespeare’s English much more resembled the accents of the provinces than the “proper” English favored today by actors and newscasters, the latter being an accent called “Received Pronunciation” or “RP.” Jane Austen had knowledge of and appreciation for Shakespeare. There are parallels between her social comedies and his, Willoughby reads “Hamlet” ...

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  • ‘To Bay or Not to Bay’: Did Shakespeare Talk Country?

    Shakespeare's accent was much more like regional dialects than BBC English

    When I was in college, the drama department at the University of Arkansas wanted to do a bang-up job on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Over the summer, they sent the actor playing the lead role off to study proper enunciation. He returned with an impeccable rendition, but no one anticipated the disconnect for the audience caused by Hamlet ...

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  • Chawton House Library Conversations: June Podcast

    The Chawton House is very closely tied to Jane Austen’s history. In 1781, Thomas Knight II inherited the house. He and his wife Catherine had no children of their own, but through family connections with Jane Austen’s father, the Reverend George Austen, they eventually adopted Jane’s third brother, Edward, when he was 16 years old. ...

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  • Help us pick the cover for Volume II

    Volume II of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy will be launched in September at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England. In the new book you will learn more about Jane Austen during the “lost years” of her life—seven years of which historians have little to no information. The period love story combines the ...

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  • North America Winner of Sweepstakes Announced

    Please join me in congratulating Karen vanMeenen of Rochester, New York, the Grand Prize Winner from the US in The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Sweepstakes 2016. She has won a fantastic Grand Prize trip for two to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath, England, to attend the Jane Austen Festival in September ...

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  • UK Winner of Sweepstakes Announced for Bath Festival

    Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England

    Drum roll, please! It’s time to announce our Grand Prize Winner from Great Britain in “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” Sweepstakes 2016. Vicki Smith of Manea in Cambridgeshire, England, is our lucky Grand Prize Winner! She has won an exciting Grand Prize trip for two to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath, England, to ...

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  • Sweepstakes update, Austen movie fun

    All– Just a brief update to let you know that “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen” Sweepstakes 2016 has concluded, and we’ll be announcing our Grand Prize Winners soon. Watch for updates here. Also, Mary Jo Murphy in the New York Times ranked all the Austen movies done to date. More than sixty adaptations of Austen’s work, ...

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  • A Taxing Subject for Americans–and for Austen and her Peers

    Americans have never liked taxes and showed their displeasure in 1774

    April 15 being tax day in the U.S., I thought it appropriate to celebrate the many ways the tax man visited Jane Austen and her fellow citizens during Regency times. The tax philosophy of the day echoed the views of the famous tax philosopher, George Harrison of the “Beatles”: “If you get too cold I’ll tax ...

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  • Sexism in Film, Part II: What’s the Solution for Hollywood?

    Jane Austen watercolor

    Recently, I wrote about sexism in films today and the general lack of strong roles for women. The blog noted that Jane Austen has been the source for at least ninety TV or movie productions, nearly half of all female films in the last twenty years. Though the quiet perseverance of her characters has a universal ...

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  • JASNA Interviews Collins

    Collins Hemingway was recently interviewed by Christopher Duda, Treasurer of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), about The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen and what inspired him to write a novel about one of the world’s most beloved English writers. Listen to the full interview now!

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  • First Monthly Winner of 2016 Bath Sweepstakes

    Roman Baths

    We have our first winner of the monthly prize of our 2016 Bath Sweepstakes, which is a signed copy of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. This is the first of several smaller prizes before we select the grand prize winner, which will be a trip for two to Bath, England. Click on this link to ...

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  • Austen Sweepstakes Offers Grand Prize of Trips to Bath

    Trips to Bath, England, are the grand prizes of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Sweepstakes 2016, to coincide with the city’s annual Jane Austen Festival in September 2016. The sweepstakes, which honors Jane Austen, her work, and the many readers around the world who have made her a literary icon, comes in the midst of ...

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  • News Release

    Enter The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Sweepstakes 2016; Win One of Two Grand Prize Trips to Bath, England PORTLAND, Oregon, Jan. 4, 2016 – The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Sweepstakes 2016 was announced today by author Collins Hemingway in celebration of Jane Austen, the world-renowned English novelist, and his new historical novel based ...

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  • Reader Thoughts on ‘Marriage,’ Austen’s Journey of the Soul

    Fans of Jane Austen and general readers alike have commented favorably upon "The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen"

    ’Tis better to give than receive, but in this holiday season I would like to take a moment to thank readers for what I have received—their very generous thoughts and comments on my novel, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. What touched me most was the number of times “beautiful” and “delight/ful” came up: “A delightful book, ...

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  • East Oregonian

    November 14, 2015 What if Jane Austen had married?

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  • Reflections on JASNA AGM

    A record number of attendees dressed for the Regency era at JASNA's 2015 AGM.

    As one of 150-plus first-time attendees to the 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), I found the event to be as educational as I had hoped and more charming than I expected. Here are a few of my JASNA reflections. The AGM was hosted by the Louisville, KY, ...

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  • Clarkson, Anning, Austen Ring

    Jane Austen Fossil Ring, Mary Anning, and Kelly Clarkson

      Of Jane Austen’s known jewelry, her topaz cross came from her younger brother, Charles, who bought one each for his sisters with his first navy prize in 1801. Her turquoise bracelet probably came from another brother, Edward, as a memento relating to the death of his beloved wife Elizabeth in 1808.                                          (Photo by Michael Maggs, ...

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  • Strong Female Film Characters

    Jane Austen watercolor

    Strong female film characters: Will they ever consistently appear? Movies with strong female leads have proven exceedingly popular. Consider only the success and variety of The Hunger Games, Wild, Kill Bill, Gravity, and Frozen. Yet the entertainment industry has had to be dragged—if not kicking and screaming, at least whining—into making films about strong women. Women in the ...

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  • ‘Slow Love’ for Darcy

    Jane Austen, Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Liz Bennet, slow love, mate value

    John Tierney’s recent article on “mate value” confirms a long-held notion that people tend to marry others like themselves in terms of looks, wealth, and education. He holds out hope for mismatched couples, however, through a process called “slow love.” Studies show that the longer someone spends with a potential but mismatched mate, the higher they ...

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  • Why the Book

    women's struggles, Jane Austen, strong women, single mother, glass ceiling, women in workplace, Regency era

    Whenever we travel, and happen to have a female pilot, I joke to my wife about my horror that they’re letting a “girl” fly the airliner. Knowing that my own flight instructor was a woman, my wife usually responds with nothing worse than a sharp elbow to the ribs. (I fly little planes—they’d never let ...

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  • Tough World for Austen

    Jane Austen, Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder, Regency era, Napoleonic war, press gangs, Royal Navy, food shortages, industrial revolution, country village, two inches of ivory, Sanditon, tough world for Austen

    I knew I had my Jane Austen novel when I read a seemingly unrelated work: Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder. This history of scientific and industrial developments during the period spanning Austen’s life went far beyond “three or four families in a country village” to show a panorama of fervent intellectual activity across sprawling ...

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  • From High Tech to Jane Austen

    Duncan Eaves, Jane Austen, Emma, Regency era, Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Alexander Pope, natural daughter, Old Main

    Blame it on Dr. Eaves. He’s the answer to the question, why would a 21st Century man, who has spent most of his career in computers, business, and aviation, explore the “what ifs” in the life of a literary woman from two hundred years earlier? Dr. Duncan Eaves was my cherubic 18th Century literature instructor, who could ...

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