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Jane Austen News – Issue 120

Jane Austen News

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Austen In “Writing The West” Course

Jane Austen wasn’t the only writer to be inspired by and live in the South West. Other famous poets and novelists of the 18th and 19th century who are associated with the West of England include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, Mary Shelley and Thomas Hardy, and it is these authors, in addition to Jane Austen, who are the subject of a new, free online course.

Writing the West: Literature & Place explores how these writers found inspiration in the West Country, and how they contribute to the culture and economy of the region today. Those taking part in the course will explore their lives, gain insight into their writing, and see the places that influenced them.

The course will start on the 18th of June and will release new content each week, comprising between 3-4 hours study each week which will include articles, videos and interaction with the teaching team through questions and online discussion. The course materials will remain available after the end of the course so that learners can take the course at their own pace.

To find out more and enroll you can visit the course site at: www.udemy.com/writing-the-west

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Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Founder of Singapore, Father of the London Zoo

London Zoo founder

thomasSir Thomas Stamford Raffles, FRS (6 July 1781 – 5 July 1826) was a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore (now the city-state of the Republic of Singapore) and the London Zoo.

Raffles is often described as the “Father of Singapore” and the “Father of the London Zoo“. He was also heavily involved in the conquest of the Indonesian island of Java from Dutch and French military forces during the Napoleonic Wars and contributed to the expansion of the British Empire. He was also an amateur writer and wrote a book titled History of Java (1817).

Raffles was born on the ship Ann off the coast of Port Morant, Jamaica, to Captain Benjamin Raffles (d. June 1797) and Anne Raffles (née Lyde). His father was a Yorkshireman who had a burgeoning family and little luck in the West Indies trade during the American Revolution, sending the family into debt. The little money the family had went into schooling Raffles. He attended a boarding school. In 1795, at the age of 14, Raffles started working as a clerk in London for the British East India Company, the trading company that shaped many of Britain’s overseas conquests. In 1805 he was sent to what is now Penang in the country of Malaysia, then called the Prince of Wales Island, starting his long association with Southeast Asia. He started with a post under the Honourable Philip Dundas, the Governor of Penang. He was appointed assistant secretary to the new Governor of Penang in 1805 and married Olivia Mariamne Fancourt, a widow who was formerly married to Jacob Cassivelaun Fancourt, an assistant surgeon in Madras who had died in 1800. At this time he also made the acquaintance of Thomas Otho Travers, who would accompany him for the next twenty years.

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