Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.
(Please note that these are mini-biographies of Regency Era personalities. Jane will have been much better researched and presented elsewhere.)
December 16 1775 to July 18 1817
Now of course, Jane is considered a literary doyen. She was born as part of the Ton, though certainly not the first set. Her father was an Anglican rector, and was removed from the very movers and shakers who had London homes and great country estates. But Jane and her family certainly could hold their own with those of breeding who had such. Two of her brothers went on to become Admirals, and two became rectors like their father. One brother was adopted by wealthy cousins, the Knights, and inherited that estate.
Austen, did not live at the rectory in her infancy. After a few months, the baby Jane was placed with Elizabeth Littlewood who nursed the young child. In 1783, a family tradition, had Jane and her sister Cassandra sent to Oxford for their education. The girls caught typhus and Jane nearly died. They were sent home and educated until sent to a boarding school in 1785. George though did not have enough income and money to pay for the girls education and they returned home again in 1786. George allowed the girls to use his library and one thinks that Jane’s father might have been quite close to the portrayal of Mr. Bennet by Donald Sutherland in recent years.
As early as 1787 Jane was writing poetry, stories and plays. Her literary attempts from these early years comprise the Juvenilia which also include in the early period her parody History of England proving that just because Jane said it, it might not always be true (sometimes there is a tongue firmly in one’s cheek. Yet WWJD is still quite the commentary on how to lead one’s life.)
As Jane grew into adulthood, she became that member of the household who helped. She did not run her own house, but helped her mother, helped her family members as Anne Elliot does in the novel Persuasion.
When 20, Jane met Tom Lefroy. They surely were romantically inclined to each other but practicality and their elders kept them apart.
Jane drafter Elinor and Marianne before 1796, the family had it read to them. But it did not see publication until 1811 as Sense and Sensibility. The initial draft of First Impressions came by 1797, and this would become Pride and Prejudice.
Getting Jane published seemed to be a slow process. And during that time the family moved about. At the end of 1800 father George decided to retire to Bath. In 1802 Jane received an offer of marriage which she accepted and then broke the next day. Jane continued to work on books in Bath. Her father died in 1805 and the family was in a bad financial position. Jane, Cassandra and their mother then spent the next several years drifting about visiting various family members as they had no secure finances to make a permanent home. Jane still had not seen her works published.
In 1809 Edward, their brother who had been adopted by the Knights, offered them the cottage in Chawton. Here Jane wrote almost daily. Jane’s brother Henry got Thomas Egerton to publish Sense and Sensibility, finally. From October 1811 to selling out in mid 1813, Jane had finally been published.
Then in January 1813, Pride and Prejudice debuted. That became an immediate success. Mansfield Park was next and this sold out quickly as well. George, the Prince Regent was an admirer and many have heard the story of his he wished to have her next book, in this case Emma, dedicated to him. (DWW-Was that something like being placed on Oprah’s Book List?)
In 1816 she began to feel unwell. She may have succumbed to Addison’s Disease. Or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and possibly bovine tuberculosis. Jane continued to write though mid March of 1817. Jane was in Winchester for treatment when she died. She is buried in the Nave of Winchester Cathedral.
Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
Lady Hester Stanhope
Percy Bysshe Shelley
There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:
Lady Caroline Lamb
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Charles James Fox
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
John Phillip Kemble
John Burgoyne Harriet Mellon
Wellington (the Military man)
General Banastre Tarleton
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Sir Walter Scott
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Patronesses of Almacks
Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
Mrs. Drummond Burrell
Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador