Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why I Love Jane Austen

This lovely watercolor is reported to be a painting of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra. Jane was born Dec. 16th of 1775 and died on the 18th of July 1817, aged only 41. Born into a close family of lower-level landed gentry and never marrying, Jane had the leisure to develop as a writer. Having left home for their education while young, the two girls, Jane and Cassandra, returned in 1786, Jane remaining with their family thereafter until her death. Much of her education in dance, music and theater was to show up in her novels in time. Her enjoyment of life was reflected in the parody and comedy of her writings. Many of us love the story lines, often revolving around the need for a woman of the time to catch a moneyed man, but so much more has been taught to us through her books, and all the more so to readers now than in her time. The common things of life show up interestingly in a novel as compared to a history book. We see firsthand how a man was introduced to a woman, how those with money visited and helped the poor and how very strict the class divisions were. Snobbery of the upper classes was not only displayed, but in quite an entertaining manner and with the creation of unforgettable characters. With her fabulous stories now playing on screen, made over and over with everything Regency having been expertly researched, we see in vivid color what the era dress and decor was like. Gentlemanly manners appeal to many women of today, and we cannot get enough of the novels and movies. Having saturated myself with Knightley, Darcy and ulp, even Mr. Collins, I wanted the same, but new and more. Jane Austen's dying young and leaving many stories unwritten is what led me to become an "Authoress". My first novel, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire, is like what I suspect Jane might have written had she lived into the 1840s like her sister.

Regency Dress I
Regency Dress II Regency Dress III

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