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….
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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…
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Did Austen Speak Posh?

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

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…
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