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Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan, a review

Jane Austen Cover to Cover

Jane Austen Cover to Cover


I was recently asked to review Margaret C. Sullivan’s latest book, Jane Austen Cover to Cover, and I was only too happy to! I had heard about this upcoming book and I was very much looking forward to it and already had it on my wish list!

“In the short forty-two years of her life, Jane Austen wrote six novels that would endure long after her death in 1817. The texts are true classics, unchanged and yet still immensely popular some 200 years later, but the covers have changed with the times-from the elegant inscriptions of the famous Peacock cover, to pulpy sixties pop art, to graphic novels, Twilight-inspired copycat covers, and mystifyingly bad digital editions. With over 200 images of covers spanning as many years of Austen books, this fascinating, funny, and art-filled book is a must for Janeites, design geeks, and book lovers of every stripe.”

I always knew that there were lots of different covers and editions of Jane Austen’s novels – I own quite a few versions myself! – but I didn’t realise how many there really were!

This book was absolutely fascinating to look through and spot the ones I own, how many I don’t – and seeing how many editions I want to own! There is an unbelievable amount, many more than I ever imagined, some I recognised but others that were completely new to me! It really was amazing to see the wide range of publications and their interpretations of the books for the covers. There was everything ranging from beautifully simple to really quite funny and a little scary!
Continue reading Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan, a review

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How to Make a Georgian or Regency Fan

In an age when over crowded rooms were considered the measure of a successful party, fans were an indespensible accessory. Not only could one create a breeze where none was to be found, but by reason of several well known flutterings, one could, if wafted just so, communicate any number of delicate intelligences to a friend or lover, even from across a crowded room. The following instructions, from Dr. Tara Maginnis, of The Costumer’s Manifesto, offer an easy way to create a period looking fan to take to your next ball or assembly. Visit Tara’s site for many other suggestions and projects for completing your period ensemble.

Don’t have time to make a fan? You can purchase beautiful lace fans at our online giftshop. Click here. Continue reading How to Make a Georgian or Regency Fan

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Georgian Christmas Celebrations

“I wish you a cheerful and at times even a
Merry Christmas.”

Jane Austen

Christmas in England, in the centuries prior to the Georgian kings, had become a dismal affair. In 1644 the holiday was banned by Oliver Cromwell, who called it “an extraeme forgetfulnesse of Christ, by giving liberty to carnall and sensual delights.” Instead, he had Parliament declare it a workday and required all merchants to be open for business. Carols were forbidden; anyone caught cooking a goose or baking a Christmas cake or boiling a pudding was in danger of fine, confiscation or worse. With the return of Charles II, the holiday was reinstated- but in a subdued manner. As the years passed it people remembered the rituals of their ancesters and added new ones of their own. By the 1800’s, it was once again a highly celebrated and significant time, though it wouldn’t reach it’s zenith until the Victorian era, when scholars sought to bring back old traditions and import new customs.

The Georgian Christmas season stretched from December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) to January 6th (Twelfth Night, Epiphany). The holiday was spent by the gentry in their country houses and estates, as they did not return to London until February*. It was a time of high celebration with visiting, gift and charity giving, balls, parties, masquerades, play acting, games and lots of food. Since families and friends were already gathered together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings.

The Austens were no exception to this and we know that they participated in these celebrations with alacrity. A Christmas Eve letter to Cassandra mentions Jane’s enjoyment in a ball held that week and a list of her charitable giving. Many of Jane’s plays written for the family survive, and in 1787, they staged a full length production which included cousins and friends. Her niece, Fanny’s, letters are full of descriptions of every kind of amusement held during the season. Continue reading Georgian Christmas Celebrations

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Jane Austen On-line: Austen Resources On the Net

Lady Susan

There is nothing like curling up with a good book. Still, for convenience and research’s sake, e-texts, on-line libraries and searchable databases are a wonderful resource. Wondering just how many times the word ‘Pride’ is used in Pride and Prejudice? Looking for a particular phrase, but can only remember a few words of the original? Trying to find those last few pieces of Juvenilia or the canceled chapters of Persuasion? Searching for a sequel to your favorite Austen novel? Try some of the excellent sites listed below.

Lady Susan

While most people have easy access to Jane Austen’s six major novels, there are many other minor works that receive much less attention. These include incomplete manuscripts (Sanditon, The Watsons– both of which have been completed several times over by other authors, and the early ‘canceled’ final chapters of Persuasion.), Juvenilia (stories Jane Austen wrote while still a child, including Henry and Eliza, Lesley Castle, The History of England and Love and Friendship) and her prayers, poetry and light verse. Jane Austen was an accomplished writer with many more works to her credit than most people are aware of.

Bits of Ivory

By the same token, many fans have already read everything they can lay their hands on and are yearning for more. What then? The Republic of Pemberley, in addition to running their numerous message boards has created a forum for reviewing and listing printed sequels, prequels and other Austen related books as well as providing space for fans to post their own stories. On any given day you can log on to their ‘Bits of Ivory Board’ (named for Austen’s quote comparing her work to a small detailed painting on a ‘bit of ivory two inches high’) and find scores of different Austen continuations currently being written. Also included is an archive of previously written, complete stories arranged by novel association.


One last source of Jane Austen’s works are the various films and adaptations. While there are a myriad of sites available, both official and fan-based many of them have been collected into lists making searching easier. We host one such collection as well as a list of reviews and behind the scenes information on each film. Eras of Elegance also boasts one of the most complete and interesting collections of Austen movie facts, pictures and merchandise. It’s definitely worth a look! One last resort is the Internet Movie Database. It contains information, links, merchandise info and pictures from nearly every movie ever made!

Austen’s Six Novels On-line

Search the text of all six major novels and Lady Susan:

Jane Austen’s Juvenilia On-line:

The History of England:

The Canceled Chapters of Persuasion:

The Republic of Pemberley’s Sequels and Adaptations:

Our List of Links:

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What’s in a Janeite?

Rudyard Kipling

“Well, as pore Macklin said, it’s a very select Society, an’ you’ve got to be a Janeite in your ‘eart, or you won’t have any success.”

A few months back, I was involved in an online discussion that veered into the social mores of the early nineteenth century. I posted some information, citing Lord Nelson’s letters and other contemporary accounts, and mentioned that I was a Janeite to explain my interest in the period. A gentleman who answered my post scolded me for calling myself a Janeite. According to him, Janeites were only interested in such meaningless esoterica as tea parties and gowns and the middle names of characters; an obviously thoughtful, well-informed person such as myself should not lower herself to claim the title. Continue reading What’s in a Janeite?

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Fans: Essential Accessories

A finished coquette at a ball asked a gentleman near her while she adjusted her tucker, whether he could flirt a fan which she held in her hand. ‘No, Madame,’ answered he, proceeding to use it, ‘but I can fan a flirt.’
Port Folio, 1802

In the years before central air conditioning, a Ladies’ fan was an essential tool , not only for comfort but also for communication. Made of wood or ivory and embellished with anything from small mirrors and jewels to portraits and feathers, regency fans were certainly a versatile accessory. Plain or fancy, with paint or lace trim, in any size or shape, fans were certainly a necessary regency accessory. Continue reading Fans: Essential Accessories