The British novelist died at the age of 41 on July 18, 1817.  Celebrated for her sharp wit, descriptions of domestic life and subtle criticism of England’s economic and class structure, Austen’s works continue to be dissected and analyzed in classrooms and beyond.

Source: 70 facts you might not know about iconic British novelist Jane Austen | CBC Books

Here is your opportunity to cook Jane Austen style. Authors, it’s probably a wealth of information about household life and cooking for the era.

A kind-hearted spinster, passed over in her youth by a potential suitor, spends her life faithfully tending the hearth and home of her dear family and friends. She is content to toil as a housekeeper, unrecognized but for the praise of beloved companions. All the while, she keeps a detailed household book of handwritten recipes, from carraway cake to currant wine, that her family loves.

Source: Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook – Gastro Obscura

A bit spendy but available on Amazon in hardcover for $44.90.  Peek through the kitchen window to experience day-to-day life at Chawton Cottage, the home where Jane Austen wrote and published her famous novels.

Martha Lloyd first befriended a young Jane Austen in 1789 and later lived with Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mother at the cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane wrote and revised her novels. Eventually, Martha married Jane’s brother Francis Austen, making her an authority on day-to-day life in the Austen family.

Martha Lloyd’s Household Book is a remarkable artifact, a manuscript cookbook featuring recipes and remedies handwritten over thirty years. Austen fans will spot the many connections between Martha’s book and Jane Austen’s writing, including dishes such as white soup from Pride and Prejudice. Readers will also learn the author’s favorite foods, such as toasted cheese and mead. The family, culinary, and literary connections detailed in the introductory chapters of this work give a fascinating perspective on the time and manner in which both women lived.

Passed down through the Austen family, the Household Book offers unprecedented access into the family home. In this first facsimile publication, Martha’s notebook is reproduced in color, accompanied by a complete transcription and detailed annotations.

Lovers of ‘Pride and Prejudice’… rejoice! In this video, we step into the author’s world, taking a virtual trip to the Jane Austen House and Museum, located in Chawton, Hampshire. The cultural landmark offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the latter part of Austen’s life, which is when she called…

Source: A room-by-room tour of Jane Austen’s final home | Cyprus Mail

Fifty shades of chaste! Sorry, after chuckling, I had to share.

It’s a long way from the sex scenes that made her name in Fifty Shades Of Grey. Dakota Johnson has traded bondage gear for a period outfit in Bath for the new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Source: Fifty shades of chaste! Dakota Johnson films an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion | Daily Mail Online

I came to Jane Austen late. As a lifelong reader, I do not have a simple explanation for this omission, but when my family decided to read Pride and Prejudice as a family reading project soon after the pandemic forced us into isolation, I jumped at the chance to fill in the gap in my literacy.

Source: Why Did I Wait So Long to Read Jane Austen? ‹ Literary Hub

The story of how Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s disdain for the wealthy, prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned to love has never been out of print, and has sold more than 20 million copies since its first appearance more than 200 years ago. Austen’s family, however, probably didn’t see much of that success: She sold the novel’s copyright to her publisher for £110 (just over $10,000 in today’s dollars) and died just a few years later, in 1817. Though the novel was reviewed positively and was well-received by the upper classes at the time, it was no widespread sensation. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the book and its author were rediscovered and lifted to the rarefied place in the English literature pantheon they hold today.

Source: 7 people who hated Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” | Salon.com

For those who may have been left brokenhearted after the end of the continuation of Jane Austen’s story, Sanditon, as done by ITV/Masterpiece, after much hell raised by the Sanditon Sisterhood on how the series ended, BritBox/PBS is continuing the series with two more seasons. Eventually, it will be in book form like season one. Stay tuned for 2022’s continuation.

The acclaimed seaside drama based starring Rose Williams as Charlotte will officially return to MASTERPIECE on PBS for two new seasons! #SanditonPBS

Source: Sanditon Renewed for Seasons 2 and 3 | Masterpiece | Official Site | PBS

My goodness! One of my favorite Austen stories. Who is playing Captain Wentworth? I hope Netflix does the new adaptation justice. For me, I think it will be hard for me to look at Dakota in such a tame role after Fifty Shades.  I wonder what, “modern, witty approach to a beloved story means.” Thoughts? Comments?

It’s strange Netflix is doing the series when Searchlight is doing one as well with Sarah Snook in the role.

Dakota Johnson is set to star in Netflix’s retelling of Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion.”

Source: Dakota Johnson to Star in Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ Movie at Netflix – Variety

Sales of the Penguin edition of Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice shot up by 22 per cent last year, according to analysts Nielsen BookScan

Source: Jane Austen takes Pride of place for book sales in lockdown as sales of her famous novel soar  | Daily Mail Online

The Dashwood Sisters.  Could there be anything more entertaining than these two women?  They are as different as night and day and both on a pursuit for husbands. Elinor bears everything with quiet decorum and sense. Marianne is outspoken and seeks the thrills of romantic fellowship with no sense at all.

Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite Austen works. It was her first novel written in 1795 at the age of 19 and was accepted by a publisher and put into print in 1811 (at her own expense, I might add for all you indies out there).  Though I’m not an Austen expert by any means, I’m thankful for the many resources available online about her life and works from people who are.  I have had the good fortune of seeing part of her manuscript for Persuasion at the London Library penned in her own hand with the name of Captain Wentworth on the page.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this story. Perhaps it’s the yearning for love and silent pining inside the hearts of women that draws me so strongly to their characters.  As females, we probably all have a bit of Elinor and Marianne in each of us.

Elinor, who loves the steady, kindhearted, humble man in the form of Edward Ferrars, is the sensible sister of the two.  She bears her love and disappointment with quiet restraint while dealing with her sister’s outward and passionate emotions regarding Willoughby.

Though I’ve never had a sister, the fact that they are so different as night and day is entertaining to me.  Austen does a wonderful job with each of them telling the other about their own exasperation over the other’s personality. Hear how Marianne scolds her sister.

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him—that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”  Marianne here burst forth with indignation.  “Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

Then there is Marianne — brokenhearted Marianne whose life nearly ends because she cannot have the man she loves.  Marianne, of course, is undoubtedly the romantic at heart in this story compared to her sister Elinor who keeps everything hidden for the sake of propriety.  Marianne lost all good sense when it came to her infatuation with Willoughby.  Gregarious, passionate, and handsome Willoughby fits perfectly into her idealist qualifications of what a gentleman should be. “Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward’s virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm.”

Though Marianne is happy for her sister’s budding relationship with Edward, she clearly expresses her thoughts of the deficits of his personality in her eyes. “Oh! mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward’s manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!” 

For me, Marianne represents all of the girlish and hopeful feelings we possess at 16 years of age regarding love.  Our hearts are filled with romantic notions of being swept off our feet by the most amiable of men, who can recite to us poetry with heartfelt enunciation that brings tears to our eyes. They rescue us when in distress, are attentive, offer flowers, cut locks of our hair to keep with them, and promise to adore us for all eternity.

Elinor, on the other hand, is the more mature young woman who sees the wonder of what love can be but also recognizes the cruel hurt and devastation it can bring to a female’s heart.  She not only sees the terrible effects of a broken heart nearly bringing her dearest sister to death’s door, but she also bears the heartache of love lost to another.

As far as modern adaptations on screen, we have been blessed with two beautiful renditions of Sense and Sensibility in film and television.  The 1995 movie version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson is a wonderful condensed version. My favorite, however, probably because it is much longer is the 2008 BBC version starring Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield.  The choice of characters for Edward and Colonel Brandon excited me a bit more, as well as the cinematography.

Do you relate to Elinor or Marianne?  Are you the sensible sister or the whimsical sister?  In historical romance, I love to examine characters, and Jane Austen gives us wonderful ones to enjoy.

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Emma Thompson
Hattie Morahan
Kate Winslet
Charity Wakefield

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Hugh Grant
Dan Stevens
Greg Wise
Dominic Connor
Alan Rickman
David Morrissey