Since meeting online 8 years ago and starting this blog we have learnt a lot, we have certainly made many new friends and we have uncovered some fascinating things about Jane and Tom. One of our greatest achievements was putting together a timeline which gave us a foundation for reading, discovering and writing other things about Jane that are now close to our heart.
Monday, 27 April 2015
Sunday, 5 April 2015
|Cinderella (Lily James) and Prince Kit (Richard Madden) dancing in the 2015 Cinderella|
''My idea of good company ... is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.''To which Mr Elliot replied that she was mistaken, for “that is not good company; that is the best.”
|Ella meets Kit for the first time|
It’s better to be alone, than be surrounded by poor company.
She had few friends, but the ones she had, “she treated with an open heart and an open hand.”
Well, I hope you’ve been having good company during this Easter, the ones who love you just as you are and treat you with open heart and open hand... And if you have not found your best company, I hope you will be soon, just like the new Cinderella meets her Prince on an equal ground.
Monday, 23 March 2015
|St. Patrick at the St. Benin Church, Kilbennan, Ireland|
Saturday, 14 March 2015
An interesting email came to me last week from Ed Lefroy, a descendant from Thomas Lefroy (see here for our Oct 2007 post). When going through some of the books from Carrigglas Manor (built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy) he found one called Personal Aspects of Jane Austen by Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh (1838-1922, great niece of Jane Austen) which has a frontispiece of a painting by Zoffany entitled Jane Austen.
The book was published in 1920 and interestingly the painting claiming to be of Jane Austen is the same painting known as the Rice Portrait (see our 2012 post). The Rice Portrait was originally attributed to Johann Zoffany as inscribed in this book but now is believed to have been made by Ozias Humphry (a renowned English painter) around 1788 when Jane Austen was 13 years old. Some still suggest that the painting dates to the early 19th century and thus cannot be of Austen, an interesting mystery.
Do you believe the painting is of Jane? We welcome your comments.
Pic 1 and 2: Sent from Ed Lefroy, taken from Personal Aspects of Jane Austen (1920)
Pic 3: Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh
Sunday, 8 March 2015
|That would be what Chief Justice would say. 'Never give up!'|
So, tomorrow is Monday, and - like many of us - I have several things to resume working at the office. One of them is a paper co-authored with several colleagues to be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal. We're not yet happy with the manuscript, there's something wanting... the core concept is not strong yet. So, I'm a bit disheartened at the moment at the prospect of sitting down in front of my laptop and rework on the manuscript, yet again...
But then I looked around for a Tom Lefroy quote for this (passing) weekend, and I re-read the letter Tom Lefroy wrote to his daughter Jane. The extended version of the letter can be found here, taken from the Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy (p. 31-32). His advice that resonates with me is this:
Believe me, my darling girl, there is no progress to be made in anything without steady and continued application, which, besides the advantages it brings in the way of improvement, makes labour pleasant from habit instead of being irksome, as it always is to the idle and irresolute.
Thanks, Chief. I hope I can make a breakthrough tomorrow with the paper, instead of falling to the "idle and irresolute" trap of social media...
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Last night I was fortunate enough to go to see James McAvoy (yes our Becoming Jane Tom Lefroy) in a production on stage of The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes. He was absolutely phenomenal as the paranoid schizophrenic born into a wealthy, aristocratic British family. This play, focussed on social classes has stayed in my mind and today it made me wonder about Jane Austen and how the classes interacted in her time.
Jane Austen wrote often about her world and this included her social class, the gentry. The manners and customs of the gentry are always present in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. I have chosen a quote from chapter 19 of Sense and Sensibility where Edward Ferrars is speaking:
"We never could agree in our choice of profession. I always preferred the church, as I still do. But that was not smart enough for my family. They recommended the army. That was a great deal too smart for me. The law was allowed to be genteel enough; many young men, who had chambers in the Temple, made a very good appearance in the first circles, and drove about town in very knowing gigs. But I had no inclination for the law, even in this less abstruse study of it, which my family approved. As for the navy, it had fashion on its side, but I was too old when the subject was first started to enter it- (…) I was therefore entered at Oxford and have been properly idle ever since"
This fascinates me as in some ways our perceptions, customs and social interactions have changed so much from these times until today but in other ways we are still facing the same issues. For example young people today, in the culture I have familiarity with, typically have autonomy and freedom of choice in terms of their career paths (I do appreciate that this does not apply to all cultures), this suggests that traditions and connections with older times are fading. However at a time where our government in the UK are discussing university tuition fees and affordable housing for average paid workers, it is apparent that the questions and deliberations of class divide that also existed in Jane Austen's time are still very real and at the forefront of many peoples lives.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
Monday, 16 February 2015
Last Saturday was Valentine's Day, so it's apt that I post something about love, which is Jane Austen's most popular topic. However, I'd like to post something about self-love and self-appreciation this time, because without a good relationship with ourselves, any relationships with others are bound to fail.
|Lizzy Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) mimicking Darcy's insult to Jane Bennet|
From Pride and Prejudice Chapter III Vol I; Darcy was about to deliver his famous insult on Lizzy's character.
"...turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, ``She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.''
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous."
Let's forget for a moment that Lizzy and Darcy would later find deep connexion between them etc. etc. At this moment, Lizzy did not let Darcy's comments define her. She knew her self worth, and she appreciates herself for who she is. I think had she not maintained her composure and fought Darcy back, the latter would not find himself helplessly attracted to her.
I do think, though, romance is important. But prior to that, we need to love ourselves first and nurture a loving relationship with ourselves. That, I'd say, includes accepting our worst sides/characters and grow from it.
Belated Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends! May Love be with us always.
Sunday, 8 February 2015
|Our lovely Jane (Anne Hathaway) and Tom (James McAvoy) in BJ 2007|
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
|The aftermath of a massive storm in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 2005 (the Guardian.com)|
I have two weather-related quotes for last weekend, which I should have posted earlier had I not forgotten that it had been my turn instead, and thus I was busy having other fun (head down in shame...).
First, about snow storm. Massachusetts is having a snow blizzard at the moment, such that Governor Charlie Baker imposed on state-wide travel ban. Not sure if Mississippi is hit as well, but dear Linda, I hope you are safe and sound!
The related quote would be from Emma, Chapter 15:
Mr. John Knightley now came into the room from examining the weather, and opened on them all with the information of the ground being covered with snow, and of its still snowing fast, with a strong drifting wind; concluding with these words to Mr. Woodhouse:
"This will prove a spirited beginning of your winter engagements, sir. Something new for your coachman and horses to be making their way through a storm of snow."Poor Mr. Woodhouse was silent from consternation; but every body else had something to say; every body was either surprized or not surprized, and had some question to ask, or some comfort to offer. Mrs. Weston and Emma tried earnestly to cheer him and turn his attention from his son-in-law, who was pursuing his triumph rather unfeelingly."I admired your resolution very much, sir," said he, "in venturing out in such weather, for of course you saw there would be snow very soon. Every body must have seen the snow coming on. I admired your spirit; and I dare say we shall get home very well. Another hour or two's snow can hardly make the road impassable; and we are two carriages; if one is blown over in the bleak part of the common field there will be the other at hand. I dare say we shall be all safe at Hartfield before midnight."
Emphasizes of my own.
But of course the Knightleys and the Dashwoods still ventured out back to Hartfield, and it was good that they made it. Don't try to do that tonight in Boston tho, not advisable!
This stormy snowy condition, my dear friend, is of such contrast with where I live now in North Queensland Australia. We won't get snow, but we are hoping so much for the rain. Alas, we have been trapped in a hot weather pocket for a week now without some respite (okay, a huge rain on last Thursday, but that was it). What I'd give for a downpour rain now...
The related quote would be from Jane Austen's letter dated 18 September 1796:
“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”
Indeed. My poor hair...
We have air-conditioner (or heater for Massachussetts until they have power outage), which Jane Austen would have loved to have. On that note, I shall return to my quarter for some cool air-con...
Sunday, 18 January 2015
Over the past two weeks I have been fortunate enough to be asked twice to be a bridesmaid at two dear friends weddings over the next year. I thought that it was therefore appropriate to consider wedding quotes this week. There are a number I love from Pride and Prejudice but I do not believe we have not chosen this one yet to post on the blog, it is perhaps a little cynical but brilliant.
In a conversation between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas in Chapter 6 of Pride and Prejudice:
Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
I have pondered over the last statement, I have tendency to want to plan and overthink everything but often that is only to my detriment, perhaps this overthinking is a waste of energy and time, perhaps happiness is indeed entirely a matter of chance.
I hope you are all having a super weekend.