A very difficult quiz to put your knowledge of Jane Austen to the test.
We love Jane Austen’s Persuasion! Do you? Time to test your knowledge of, what is to many, her most romantic novel.
Sanditon is the last novel that Jane Austen ever worked on, though not one that she finished. Have you read it? Do you know it? Time to test your knowledge with our Sanditon special quiz!
Every year hundreds of thousands of fans come together to The Jane Austen Centre in Bath to celebrate the talent and artistry of Jane Austen, but for those who work at the Centre there can sometimes be occasion to stop and marvel at the incredible works of devotion created by our visitors. An exceptional instance of this came to us this summer in the story of Julie Mountford.
Julie’s husband Keith wrote to us in a heartwarming email this year to describe the predicament of his late wife’s own Austen-inspired ‘amateur’ masterpiece: a Georgian dolls house. As part of her passion and love of all things Georgian, Regency and Jane Austen, Julie crafted this 1.6m tall house over a period of five years. It contains eighteen rooms (five of which are large hallways typical of the Georgian era) and each room has been lovingly filled with tiny furniture of the same period. Keith described how ‘everyone who has ever seen the house has been gobsmacked by its beauty and by Julie’s attention to detail’ and we found ourselves similarly enchanted.
Sadly Julie passed away in March 2015 after having lived with cancer for five years. Keith described how Julie had been a mental health social worker by profession and was also an extremely talented and creative person, writing period novels in her spare time as well as sewing beautiful historical-attired cloth dolls as gifts; one of these has even found a home in our Exhibition at the Jane Austen Centre, a place that Julie loved and visited many times in her visits to Bath.
Keith generously offered for this magnificent work to be displayed at the Centre so that it might ‘inform, educate and entertain’ as is our mission statement and was also Julie’s passion. Recently, online pharmacies are becoming more and more popular due to the many advantages they have over purchasing a medication over-the-counter. Although there are many ways to buy erectionpills-uk.com/buy-viagra/ online, it makes it harder to find an honest and responsible seller. Unfortunately, we were unable to give a home to her beautiful Jane Austen Dolls house but we hope that in sharing this story we can echo Keith’s wish that it serves as an example of ‘what an ordinary person with a passion can design and create as part of their love of all things Austen’.
Please visit www.juliemountford.org to learn more about the Julie Montford Dawson Foundation.
MR BENNET IN BATH
Ladies and gentlemen, admirers of Jane and lovers of literature, I give you the true hero of Pride and Prejudice – and of possibly the entire Austen canon – Mr Bennet!
For who else can compare with the Sage Seer of Longbourn, that Witty King of Herts, that most rueful of husbands, fathers and philosophers?
No character from the pen of Miss Austen is a mere cypher or convenient foil. Even the haughty stuff shirts and dissembling charmers have beguiling depths. But for rueful complexities, admirable strengths and regretful weaknesses, Mr Bennet is surely as alone as he likes to be in his library.
I have long been his admirer, mostly for the delicious wit, but it wasn’t until I decided to star him in a short story that I fully appreciated as rounded a character as you will encounter in fiction, portrayed by Jane with an affection that triumphantly survives her beady acknowledgement of his failings.
When the great crisis of Lydia and Wickham erupts it is the Austen wizardry to make his feebleness not only a surprise, but also to make us feel sorry for him. And how much more predictable it would have been to transform him into the hero of the hour! Not for the first time you wonder how close the Reverend George Austen is to Mr Bennet. And how being a father of a certain type yourself fosters your affection.
Whatever, I decided that he could certainly do with a bit more fun, and that there was no finer place to give it to him than Bath, where he has arrived – reluctantly, obviously – for a stay with his wife and daughters.
But first there is my account of his first visit, as a young man, which had at least one highly significant consequence. Among the characters he encounters are Dr Johnson, James Boswell and that notorious Bath highwayman, Sixteen String Jack Rann.
From there we move to his present day, and an escape from the back window of the house – unsurprisingly in Gay Street – and back down to the famous Pelican inn, which stood where now the Hilton Hotel stands in all its not universally praised modernity.
Obviously I cannot give too much away, but he does have a narrow escape from a fate even worse than having to make small talk with Fitzwilliam Darcy, take tea a deux with Lady Catherine de Bourg, or witness Mr Collins meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I must also confess to another impudence: I have given Mr Bennet a first name! Gordon and Alan had their merits, but in the end I settled on Anthony, for the euphony.
So, apologies all round to all; but I also like to imagine the perceptible uplift of Mrs Bennet’s husband’s eyebrows at these liberties. And Miss Austen’s, together with, I hope, the trace of a smile.
Charles Nevin is an award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist.
*Get a signed copy of Charles Nevin’s book here.*
All across Bath, bonnets have been sewn, dresses ironed and buckles polished, as we’ve welcomed visitors new and old to this year’s Jane Austen Festival!
The yearly festival favourite, our costumed promenade, saw hundreds of visitors in their finest Regency outfits basking in the late autumn sunshine as they sauntered through the streets of Bath.
Starting in Sydney Gardens, the parade was led by His Majesty’s 33rd Regiment of Foot.
The Guildhall played host to the Festival Fayre, where visitors could find everything Regency, from bonnets to books.
Events have been taking place all week, including theatrical performances, book readings, events at the Regency Tea Rooms, crafting workshops, tours and much more.
Is we write there, there are still two full days of the festival to go, so it’s not too late to take part – head over to the Jane Austen Festival website for a full schedule of this weekend’s events!