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Women’s Lives in Georgian England

The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England Written by Amanda Vickery What was the life of an eighteenth-century British genteel woman like? This lively book, based on letters, diaries, and account books of over one hundred middle class women, transforms our understanding of the position of women in Georgian England. These women were not confined in their homes but enjoyed expanding horizons and an array of emerging public arenas, the author shows. Amanda Vickery’s The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England (winner of the Longman History Today Prize in 1998) is an outstanding study of a crucial period in modern women’s history. Roy Porter described this book as “the most important thing in English feminist history in the last ten years.” While the writing style at times reminds one of a doctoral dissertation, the book does fill a niche often left underresearched. As one reader noted, “I appreciated this book because it broke me of my misconceptions about any kind of “romantic” life of the women of this “almost leisure” class, as another reviewer called it. They were at the mercy of their husbands, their social situation and fate. Very thought provoking for a Jane Austen fan like myself.” What would the lives of these women- women like Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, and even Austen, herself, to a lesser extent, have been like? Readers familiar with the feminist analysis of women’s lives in the late 18th to mid-19th century will find some of the commonplaces of that viewpoint (more…)
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Art Imitating Life

  Written By Arti of Ripple Effects Does art imitate life or does life imitate art or…neither? After reading Claire Tomalin and Carol Shields on the life of Jane Austen, I am inclined to draw that conclusion. The often sanguine outlook of Austen’s works is deceptive. The seemingly jovial ending may lead some to assume they are reading the simplistic stories of a woman wrapped in romantic bliss all her life. Reality is, that Austen could persevere, write and be published was already an incredible achievement considering the confining social environment she was in. Instead of embracing the normative female role in comfort, she chose to tread the road less traveled to become a writer despite the gloomy prospect of poor spinsterhood, enduring rejection even from her own mother. She wrote in secret and struggled in isolation. For a long period she battled depression. Upon her death, her beloved sister Cassandra could not attend her funeral because the presence of females at such events were not sanctioned, apparently for fear of any outbursts of emotion. It is Austen’s imagination that empowers her to break free of her reality and to rise above her constraints. She has created her art from the palette of imagination, as Tomalin has lucidly observed: “Hampshire is missing from the novels, and none of the Austens’ neighbours, exotic, wicked or merely amusing, makes recognizable appearance. The world of her imagination was separate and distinct from the world she inhabited.” Austen’s contemporary, the renowned Gothic writer Ann (more…)
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The Faces of Jane

Jane Austen’s World By Maggie Lane Maggie Lane has done a wonderful job in this Austen collection. It is well set out, beautifully illustrated and a perfect introduction to Austen- especially for fans who have discovered her through the recent popularity of her books turned film and television series. It is a hardcover coffee table sized book- not something you take to bed with you- quite slim but packed full of good material. The book is divided into five chapters which cover everything from Jane Austen the person, to daily life in Regency England and the film adaptations. Each chapter is subdivided into smaller sections which are really just double page spreads on a particular subject. Don’t expect an in depth analysis of any particular subject but do expect a very competent summary. Lane includes a chronology of Austen’s life which is useful and easy to read. The only real objection I have is that many of the pictures used in here are not titled and it is difficult to find out where they are from- the illustrations index in the back is quite small and cluttered. For those of you who are thinking of buying this book second hand, watch out that you don’t confuse this book with Lane’s earlier work on Austen’s life. That is a smaller book and is more of a biography tracing her life and travels. In short- a really enjoyable book. Hardcover – 144 pages (August 1997) List Price: $20.00 Adams Media Corporation; ISBN: (more…)
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Women’s Lives in Georgian England

The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England Written by Amanda Vickery What was the life of an eighteenth-century British genteel woman like? This lively book, based on letters, diaries, and account books of over one hundred middle class women, transforms our understanding of the position of women in Georgian England. These women were not confined in their homes but enjoyed expanding horizons and an array of emerging public arenas, the author shows. Amanda Vickery’s The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England (winner of the Longman History Today Prize in 1998) is an outstanding study of a crucial period in modern women’s history. Roy Porter described this book as “the most important thing in English feminist history in the last ten years.” While the writing style at times reminds one of a doctoral dissertation, the book does fill a niche often left underresearched. As one reader noted, “I appreciated this book because it broke me of my misconceptions about any kind of “romantic” life of the women of this “almost leisure” class, as another reviewer called it. They were at the mercy of their husbands, their social situation and fate. Very thought provoking for a Jane Austen fan like myself.” What would the lives of these women- women like Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, and even Austen, herself, to a lesser extent, have been like? Readers familiar with the feminist analysis of women’s lives in the late 18th to mid-19th century will find some of the commonplaces of that viewpoint (more…)
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A Time for War

Wellington: A personal HistoryWellington: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert Wellington is not an easy man to pin down in a biography, and quite a few people have tried to do so in the past. Hibbert makes a p good stab at this very difficult subject and the worst that could be said about his book is that it is the most recent of the Wellington biographies. Why is Wellington such a difficult subject? Mostly because he had a long and very active career which spanned a broad range of activities. From a rather dreamy and unfocused youth, to an extremely focussed, and successful war hero, then finally as politician. Underlying this was a man of great contradiction. He had an innate sense of nobility and duty which led him to marry a woman he had not seen for nearly eleven years – yet he treated her appallingly during their marriage. His contradictory nature is also very evident in his career – he hated the very activity in which he made his name, war. I think Hibbert makes a reasonable attempt at coming to grips with Wellington’s nature and its contradictions – but I often think the personal side of Wellington – most especially his treatment of his wife and family, are often left unsatisfactorily explained. I see three reasons for that in Hibbert’s case. First, there is not enough room in 400 pages to fit in everything with sufficient explanation. Secondly, there are easier, more public and interesting things to dwell on, (more…)
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The Janeites

Janeites

Janeites
This more than just a book on Jane Austen, this is a book on Jane Austen Fans. They are called ‘Janeite’s’ after Rudyard Kipling’s famous short story “The Janeites” about a group of soldiers recovering from injuries in the First World War – and the secret, almost Mason-like, society that has been formed in the world by her fans. If only this were true!

Deidre Lynch has collected together nine essays on Austen. The collection deals with the rise and fall of Jane’s popularity as an author with the public and with literary critics through the ages and in different countries. Some of these authors are at the foremost of Austen research. William Galperin, Chapter 4, is one of the names I recognise best from my past reading. His essay on Austen’s earliest readers is a fascinating historical perspective that blends in well with Claudia Johnson’s essay (chapter one in this book). Continue reading The Janeites

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The Mirror of Graces

“It is vain to expend large sums of money and large portions of time in the acquirement of accomplishments, unless some attention be also paid to the attainment of a certain grace in their exercise, which, though of a circumstance distinct from themselves, is the secret of their charms and pleasure-exciting quality.”
A Lady of Distinction
The Mirror of Graces, 1811

The Mirror of Graces
RL Shep, the publisher who had the foresight to reprint this wonderful book first published in 1811 deserves all the compliments in this world (and the next) for recognsing this book as a classic. It is at once hilarious to our modern eyes, and a startling insight into life of the well bred miss in Regency Times. Continue reading The Mirror of Graces

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The Prices of Officer’s Commissions

Officer's Commissions were costlyPrices of Officer’s Commissions The following is a table of the prices paid by Officers of the Army for their respective Ranks. The amounts clearly reflect the relative status held by the various branches of the service. There were several different officer’s commissions. Ensign is the lowest rank held in the Infantry, while Coronets served in the Cavalry. In some Regiments, such as the Fusiliers, the lowest rank was a “Second Lieutenant,” with a purchase price of £450. RANK Horse Guards Dragoons Foot Guards Infantry Lieut.-Colonel £4950 4982/10/- £6700 £3500 Major £4050 £3882/10/- £6300 £2600 Captain £2950 £2782/10/- £3500 £1500 Lieutenant £1350 £ 997/10/- £1500 £ 550 Ensign/Coronet £1050 £ 735 £ 600 £ 400 NB: When an Officer wished to purchase a promotion to the next level of Rank, he would pay the difference. For example, an Ensign of the Regular Infantry, having already paid £400, would only pay an additional £150 to purchase a Lieutenancy worth £550 The illustration above shows an Officer of the 14th Light Dragoons and displays the ‘new’ uniform of 1812. *** Jason Everett has been a re-enactor since 1982 with a group representing a red-coated Canadian regiment of the War of 1812. For the past five years he has been its Commanding Officer. Other interests include Modern Ballroom, and Regency Country Dancing. Military Re-enactment Society of Canada / Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada Enjoyed this article about officer’s commissions? Visit our giftshop and escape into the world of Jane Austen. (more…)