What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Jane’s ‘Fake Weddings’
Jane never married, but that’s not to say that she didn’t think about it. When she was a young girl she had great fun filling in fictitious entries in the Steventon marriage register, which she had access to because her father, George Austen, was the rector of the parish.
The records which show Jane’s handwritten entries linking her to two separate husbands, will go on display in May as part of the Mysterious Miss Austen exhibition at Winchester’s Discovery Centre.
The little-known document includes a fictitious entry for the publication of banns between Henry Frederic Howard Fitzwilliam of London and Jane Austen of Steventon, while another entry details the marriage of Edmund Arthur William Mortimer of Liverpool and Jane Austen of Steventon.
A Remembrance Service for Jane
On July 22nd at 2pm, the Bath and Bristol group of the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom will be holding a
commemoration event to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death at St Swithin’s Church, Bath.
This is a special event with a short service in the church, followed by a dancing display and readings. It’s particularly appropriate to hold the service at St. Swithin’s, as this is the church where George Austen and Cassandra Leigh, Jane’s parents, were married in 1764, where the Austen family went to church while in Bath (the Abbey was considered to be too crowded), and where George Austen is buried.
Tickets cost £10 (including tea), and are available from Bath Box Office (01225 463362).
Continue reading Jane Austen news – Issue 62
Wentworth Makes His Bones: The Battle of St. Domingo: February 4, 1806 In Volume I, Chapter IV of Persuasion, Jane Austen mentions that Captain Wentworth had been “made commander in consequence of the action off St Domingo, and not immediately employed, had come into Somersetshire, in the summer of 1806,” (26) where he met and wooed the lovely young second daughter of Sir Walter Elliot. A tantalizing reference; the contemporary audience for whom Jane was writing would of course know all about that battle, but what about modern Janeites, reading the novel nearly two centuries later and wondering how this obscure action fits in between Trafalgar and Waterloo? Jane Austen’s legion of biographers have already recorded that her brother Francis Austen participated in the Battle of St. Domingo on 6 February 1806 as captain of HMS Canopus, an 80-gun ship of the line under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth. We have the Canopus’ log book entries, which describe the battle with military terseness; we also have Frank’s letter to his fiancée Mary Gibson, assuring her of his safety and giving a more descriptive account of the action. Austenian scholarship usually stops there, if it makes any mention at all of Frank’s participation in the battle; a frustrating exercise for the Janeite seeking information about the fictional Wentworth’s career. The Battle of St. Domingo is mentioned only in passing in naval histories, while the Battle of Trafalgar, which occurred only a few months before, has entire books written about (more…)