Prospect and Refuge in the Landscape of Jane Austen

Barbara Britton Wenner analyses Austen’s use of nature in her novels and Juvenilia. Nature and culture, female and male, and submissive and oppressive elements are juxtaposed in order to show how the heroines’ relation to nature enhances their experience and gradual self-recognition.

Thankfully the author doesn’t attempt to prove that Austen had one and only proper model either of nature, picturesque or estate, but rather moves above the usual discourse, demonstrating instead how freely and confidently Austen used the late 18th century concepts of landscape in order to show danger or refuge, and desirable or dreaded situations and characters. It’ll help you to better understand both the idea of picturesque and Austen’s novels.

The book is expensive, but likely available from your library. However, if you can afford it, it’s well worth having. Check it either at Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Highly recommended!

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Mary Wollstonecraft « Regency Writings Repository

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie

Mary Wollstonecraft, an eighteenth-century writer, philosopher, and feminist, hardly needs introductions. The Regency Writings Repository is now enriched of her political pamphlet A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) in which she argues against aristocracy and in favour of republicanism. She invokes an emerging middle-class ethos in opposition to the vice-ridden aristocratic code of manners.

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C. E. Brock in Olde Fashioned’s Rendition

There is something uniquely elegant about old illustrations. Charles Edmund Brock should be familiar to many an Austen lover. The editions of Austen’s six novels illustrated by him are now in the public domain, and that gives us new treats.

Olde Fashioned is a young, talented artist who breathed new life in his drawings, turning them into beautiful wallpapers and icons.

The famous letters of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wentworth were reproduced by her in the Jane Austen font and combined with relevant Brock’s illustrations, in order to create exquisite wallpapers to Janeites’ heart content.

Will You Do Me the Honour...

Will You Do Me the Honour...

He Placed It Before Anne...

He Placed It Before Anne...

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Hannah Cowley in Austen’s The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters is one of the frankest portrayals of “marriage as prostitution” (as Mary Wollstonecraft described marrying for material reasons) within all of Austen’s writings.

Miss Stanhope takes no pains to conceal her motives while negotiating her price:

“You must build me an elegant Greenhouse and stock it with plants. You must let me spend every Winter in Bath, every Spring in Town, Every Summer in taking some Tour, and every Autumn at a Watering Place, and if we are at home the rest of the year (Sophy and I laughed) You must do nothing but give Balls and Masquerades. You must build a room on purpose and a Theatre to act Plays in. The first Play we have shall be Which is the Man, and I will do Lady Bell Bloomer.”

Hannah Cowley

Which is the Man is a play by Hannah Cowley about a fascinating widow who cannot make up her mind among several admirers.

In 1787 Austen’s family considered performing it at Steventon. Although other plays ended up being performed then, Austen was well familiar with Cowley’s plays, and quoted lines from them in her letters.

You can read it in Austenette’s Repository. Follow the link Which is the Man

Written by SylwiaBookmark and Share

Easter in Pride and Prejudice

ppm498_emivAusten chose Easter for the most significant turn in Pride and Prejudice.

Darcy comes to Rosings around Palm Sunday (likely Monday, since Darcy, unlike Mr. Elliot, wouldn’t travel on Sunday), that commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.

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My Netvibes

There are quite many views of this blog now. For some time the number has oscillated between 300-500 views a week. It’s nice to see it grow, and it’s nice to see that there are at least 40 views daily, and sometimes even over 100. Nonetheless, it’s sad not to know who’s reading. The numbers always seem virtual when not linked to a nick or name.

I thought I can be guilty of the same. There are quite many blogs I follow regularly but don’t always comment on them. Or rather, I’m the kind of person who posts mostly to disagree about some tiny detail, while forgetting to compliment on the whole, or even worse – to post anything when I agree with the entire post.

Although I’m not sure I can change my nature, and as a Pole I’m in general not a very apprising person (famously, Poles speak only to complain), I thought I could redeem myself at least a bit by posting links to my Netvibes.

These are the blogs related to Jane Austen and to the Regency era I follow faithfully.

Thank you all for your great work! Your blogs never cease to entertain and provide food for thought.

Written by SylwiaBookmark and Share

Quote of Georgiana Darcy

I love the WordPress option that allows me to see what people who found my blog were looking for. What I read today made me smile. Someone searched for “quote of Georgiana Darcy”.

It happens that there’s none. Georgiana never utters a single word throughout the entire novel. Similarly to Anne de Bourgh.

Read more about the two girls: Anne de Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy.

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Elizabeth’s Love for Darcy: Holy Matrimony

unknown_germany_c1815_window_sm_gWhen talking of love it is important to define the word. Is it emotion, feeling, decision or all of the elements? According to some Christians i.e. Anglicans and Catholics four kinds of love must be present for the Holy Matrimony to be valid and complete. I’ll try to explain, on their example, Elizabeth’s growing love for Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

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Woman in Love

66_brock_pp_1_sm_gThere is a lot of confusion as to when and why Elizabeth Bennet fell in love. (See this post at Austenprose and subsequent comments for example, but it’s only one of many such opinions.) This post is to show that the reason of it does not come from any imperfection of Lizzy’s affection or Austen’s writing, but rather our modern notions that downplay the significance of love.

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Courtship According to Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson

In Rambler 97 Samuel Richardson argues in favour of the course of courtship of his own youth. It is interesting to see how much the mores had changed between his times and those of Austen.

Austen famously paraphrased his words in Northanger Abbey:

for if it be true, as a celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman’s love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her.

It is likewise significant to note that no positive hero of Austen’s ever seeks the lady’s family’s approval for courtship or asks for her hand before her own consent is given. Such a kind of behaviour is left to men like Mr. Collins or Henry Crawford.

You can read the Rambler 97 in The Repository.

Relevant posts at Austenette:

Rambler 97 by Samuel Richardson
Woman in Love

sm-plusWritten by Sylwia

How Much Mr. Bennet Hasn’t Saved

ppm409_emivMelissa Renee’s thoughtful series about Mr. Bennet and the Entailment touches upon an important issue of Mr. Bennet’s pushing his responsibility for his family onto the next generation, instead of actually taking the effort of securing the future of his wife and daughters.

Moreover, in her second post in the series she points out that if he saved only Ł100 a year, that is one twentieth of his yearly income, he’d arrive at extra  Ł2,300 for his daughters by the beginning of Pride and Prejudice.

That got me thinking, and actually it’d be even more. If he saved Ł100 a year but didn’t use the interest, after the first year it’d be just extra Ł4, but if he left it in the bank the interest would grow and bring additional percentage from interest.

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The Blue Coat

While it’s not news that blue coat was fashionable among young men of Austen’s era, not everyone might be aware that it was due to Goethe’s  influence.

In The Sorrows of Young Werther we read:

SEPTEMBER 6

It cost me much to part with the blue coat which I wore the first time I danced with Charlotte. But I could not possibly wear it any longer. But I have ordered a new one, precisely similar, even to the collar and sleeves, as well as a new waistcoat and pantaloons.

But it does not produce the same effect upon me. I know not how it is, but I hope in time I shall like it better.

Werther

Werther in his blue coat and yellow waistcoat.

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Defoe on The Education of Women

unknown_ladyreadinginaninteriour_smI uploaded Daniel Defoe’s short essay on The Education of Women. The more of his works I read the more I wonder whether Austen in particular was influenced by Defoe, or just everyone was, and so the ideas present in his writings were generally embraced by the time Austen was born.

In this Defoe argues in defence of female education, bringing arguments, including a great deal of reading, that make one think of Elizabeth Bennet.

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Regency Writings Repository

I created the Regency Writings Repository for original texts written during and before Austen’s times. It will be a sub-Austenette blog, since I consider the prose, poetry and non-fiction (philosophical essays, conduct books) of her era a key to understanding Austen.

I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful. I’m going to write commentaries as I add to the list.

sm-plusWritten by Sylwia

What Kind of Reader Are You?

I found this test over at Jane Austen Today, and here are my results (it doesn’t show well but the first three were very red):

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
Non-Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Incidentally I’m perfectly fine with other people’s grammatical mistakes since I’m not a native English speaker myself. 🙂

Of course everyone in the world of Jane Austen’s fans is going to have similar results.