#12Booksof2022 - day 12
I almost forgot to post my favorite read from December. I loved reading Austen‘s letters, especially those to her sister Cassandra. This is a treat for every Austen fan.
I would also mention “Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron”, a graphic novel that surprised me in a positive way.
I knew from her published work that Austen was sarcastic, witty, talented, and smart, and reading her personal correspondence with friends and family did nothing to disabuse me of those notions. Making my way through a few letters each day was such a delight, even when things got sad. As much as I love her work (and that‘s a lot), I really do think all of us were robbed when she died so young.
Thanks to everyone who read along! ❤️
Absolutely loved reading these and now “need” pictured book 🤣♥️ The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen: Selected and Introduced by Penelope Hughes-Hallett https://a.co/d/7Oxv0Kx
#pemberlittens A HUGE thanks so much to @sprainedbrain !!! This was a lovely daily read!!!
Reading these letters with the #Pemberlittens the last two months has been a whirlwind. On the whole it reinforced how witty she was, and the impressions I had vaguely formed of Jane and her life from reading her writing and some snippets of biographical info. It also made me feel closer to her and will probably be a voice in my mind as I reread her novels going forward. And it got me back into letter writing myself.
Not gonna lie… the last few days‘ letters are making me sad. Jane is still witty and gossipy, but as the dates get close to the end of her life and she talks more and more about her own health, I‘m just 😔.
I do know this happened 200+ years ago and that I am ridiculous, but she feels like a friend. 🤷🏻♀️
This is a must read for every Austen fan. I loved this.
Austen writes about her everyday life; about going to balls, visits and dinners. After reading this I know where she got her inspiration from, and I wouldn‘t be surprised if characters in her novels are based on people in her social circle. After reading her letters, I wonder where she found the time to write her novels.
I‘m so thankful to her family that has kept the letters in full and
I occasionally see Austen‘s work labeled as romance… I wonder what Jane would think to hear that? 😂
From letter 146 to James Edward Austen:
“By the bye, my dear Edward, I am quite concerned for the loss your Mother mentions in her Letter; two Chapters & a half to be missing is monstrous! It is well that I have not been at Steventon lately, & therefore cannot be suspected of purloining them”
Miss Austen was talking about a fictional character, but still. 😂
From letter 123 to Caroline Austen:
“Now that you are become an Aunt, you are a person of some consequence & must excite great Interest whatever You do. I have always maintained the importance of Aunts as much as possible, & I am sure of your doing the same now.”
From letter 121 to Cassandra:
“Mr. Murray‘s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers 728- but wants to have the Copyright of MP. & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say. - He sends more praise however than I expected. It is an amusing Letter. You shall see it.”
(Picture of John Murray found online belonging to National Portrait Gallery in London)
Lots of letters to Anna Austen while Jane was reading/editing Anna‘s manuscript… Jane was definitely a tough critic with lots to say, but she loved it!
Letter 104 to Anna Austen:
“And we think you better not leave England. Let the Portmans go to Ireland, but as you know nothing of the Manners there, you had better not go with them. You will be in danger of giving false representations. Stick to Bath & the Foresters. There you will be quite at Home.”
Jane Austen giving writing advice to Anne Austen who is writing a novel.
Some of the perks of spinsterhood. 😅
Forgot to post this yesterday… Jane Austen talking about Elizabeth Bennet makes my heart happy. ❤️
Letter 71 also has this mention of Sense & Sensibility:
‘No indeed, I am never too busy to think of S&S. I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her sucking child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries.‘
From letter 74 to Cassandra:
“I will not say that your Mulberry trees are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive.”
Jane Austen really knows how to put. I also think this is one of the very few quotes from her letters I knew before I started reading them.
(Picture is found online from the Geranium Blog)
From letter 71 to Cassandra:
“No indeed, I am never too busy to think of S&S. I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her sucking child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries. I have had two sheets to correct, but the last only brings us to W.s first appearance.”
I think this is Jane‘s first mention of her books in a letter to her sister
A lot happening in yesterday‘s and today‘s letters… Jane‘s sister-in-law Elizabeth Knight died shortly after delivering her 11th child, Edward Bridges married Harriot Foote and Jane seems to have some thoughts on that, and the Austen women are gearing up to move to Chawton.
This mention of a ball made me a little sad but also made me smile. Jane is definitely a spinster by this point but still dancing and having a good time!
From letter 55 to Cassandra:
“I assure you I am as tired of writing long letters as you can be. What a pity that one should still be so fond of receiving them! - Fanny Austen‘s Match is quite news, & I am sorry she has behaved so I‘ll. There is some comfort to us in her misconduct, that we have not a congratulatory Letter to write.”
(Painting by Michelle Miller titled “Writing a Letter”)
That ⬆️ is why I‘ve always been a terrible penpal. 😂
Did Edward Bridges propose to Jane, as the notes in my book suggest, or what was this invitation of his she couldn‘t accept?
From letter 50 to Cassandra:
“We are reading Clarentine, & are surprised to find how foolish it is. I remember liking it much less on a 2nd reading than at the 1st & it does not bear a 3rd at all. It is full of unnatural conduct & forced difficulties, without striking merit of any kind.”
So not a recommendation there
Reading this has inspired me to rejoin #LitsyLove and send out my first piece of proper correspondence in 3 years! (I‘m afraid none of my recipients can expect anything this pretty, but I adore looking at vintage envelope art!)
I wondered why JA always used an ‘&‘ instead of spelling out the word AND. I just read an article that explained it. “Ampersand believe it or not was considered part of the English alphabet. It first appeared in an alphabet listing in 209, and faded out some time in the mid 19th Century. It was at the end of the alphabet, and when the alphabet was recited by children, it would end with x, y, z and per se ‘and‘ which got slurred into ‘ampersand‘.”
#Pemberlitten reading with snowfall and coffee. I am enjoying these letters very much and I do so wish we had them all! CAN YOU IMAGINE what they said?!?!?!?!?! Also her snark. Is LIFE. unless I am just reading it as snark. Either way, enjoyable.
Three letters to brother Frank today, all pertaining to the death of their father.
This makes me sad and also very anxious for Jane, her mother and sister… even though I know already how things were for them after he passed away. 🥺