Foreign invasion of Bath? Quelle Horreur!

The lovely city of Bath, England, might be the most regular character in Jane Austen’s novels. Much romantic intrigue occurs there in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. A clergyman finds a wife there in Emma. The bad boys in the other three novels head in that direction—one known to have seduced…
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Retracing Themes in Austen’s Life and Works

My blogs over the last two years have covered a wide expanse of territory: Jane Austen’s fiction; her speech patterns; her looks; her romantic life, both real and possible; the close biological relationships of people involved in courtships; the effect of the war on her life and that of her…
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Jane Austen and the Casualties of War

Jane Austen had two brothers who served in the navy, Frank and Charles, and two who served in the militia, Edward and Henry. Father George Austen and brother James, as clergymen, were discouraged from bearing arms but recruited soldiers and militiamen from the local population. It was the women in…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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A Taxing Subject for Americans–and for Austen and her Peers

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…
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Reflections on JASNA 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…
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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…
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