Our latest book is now available in paperback in the United States and Canada. It is published there by Penguin, ISBN 978-0143125723, and the jacket design is much the same as that of the hardback, using the wonderful embroidery by Sarah Cline. This time, though, even the Penguin motif has been embroidered!
The hardback in the US was called simply Jane Austen’s England, but the paperback has the added subtitle ‘Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods’. The hardback can still be purchased (ISBN 978-0670785841), and it is also available in all e-book formats.
In the UK, the identical book is called Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England (ISBN 978-0349138602), and it recently received a generous review in Jane Austen’s Regency World (no. 70, July/August 2014). This is the official magazine of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and is distributed to subscribers worldwide. The review starts off: ‘A marvellously entertaining catalogue of early 19th-century English life, Roy and Lesley Adkins’s bestseller is now out in paperback – and deserves a place on any Austen aficionado’s bookshelf.’ The review ends: ‘It’s a rich brew – I challenge anyone to pick it up and not still be reading an hour later, delighted by such a vivid and entertaining portrait of an era.’ Do pass the word on to any Austen aficionados who you know!
It is tempting to imagine that Jane Austen may have made use of some of the tales that she heard Captain Benjamin Clement recounting at dinners and other social events at Chawton in Hampshire, making us grateful that he was rescued from drowning at the Battle of Trafalgar (see our blog post below on Mansfield Park 200 years). Many people in England were unable to swim, though it was becoming popular at seaside resorts, usually for health reasons.
Sea bathing using a bathing machine
Swimming was certainly not encouraged in the Royal Navy for fear of unhappy seamen swimming off to freedom. But the most famous scene in the 1995 BBC TV series of Pride and Prejudice is where Continue reading
Mansfield Park was published in May 1814. This was one of two naval novels that Jane Austen wrote – both Mansfield Park and Persuasion have significant naval themes and characters.
Title page of Mansfield Park
Her inspiration and knowledge came from two of her brothers, Frank and Charles, who were in the Royal Navy, and also from those officers who were her neighbours or within her social circle. One of those neighbours was Benjamin Clement.
THE CLEMENT MEMORIAL
The chancel of the church of St Nicholas in the village of Chawton in Hampshire has a stained glass window commemorating Benjamin Clement and his wife. The dedication within the glass at the bottom of the window reads: ‘In memory of Benjamin Clement, Captain RN. Born March 29th 1785. Died Nov. 5th 1835. Also of Ann Mary his wife. Born Septr. 22nd 1787. Died Aug. 30th 1858.’
The memorial window of Benjamin Clement
It is thought that this couple, along with Ann-Mary’s sister, Catherine-Ann Prowting, are referred to in perhaps the very last letter Continue reading
We are giving three illustrated talks in July. The first one is at the Ways With Words festival at Dartington in Devon. Our talk is “Why Jane Austen Loves a Sailor”, concentrating on the themes of Mansfield Park (which is 200 years old this year), in particular the Royal Navy. The talk is on Monday 7th July 2014 in the Barn, 10am, tickets £10. See www.wayswithwords.co.uk.
The next talk is on “Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England” at the Penzance Literary Festival on Thursday 17th July, at 2.30pm, in the gorgeous Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens, Penzance, TR18 4DA. This festival has really cheap tickets for its events, and our event there costs just £3, and £1 for concessions! Tickets can be booked here.
We are also giving our “Why Jane Austen Loves a Sailor” at the huge English Heritage “History Live!” festival, which takes place on the weekend of 19th and 20th July at Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire. Over 2,000 re-enactors and performers will bring the story of England to life, including battles, talks, live music, a historic market and a real-ale bar. Our talk is at 10.30am on Saturday 19th July.The talk will look at Mansfield Park, naval history and Jane Austen, and we hope you will find it fascinating, even if you hate Jane Austen! For further information, see here – the talks are always popular, so you need to pick up a free ticket at the BBC History Magazine tent once you arrive. The English Heritage Events Guide gives the prices of the entrance to the event, and these range from £13 for a day pass for an English Heritage adult member (£23 for non-members) to £53 for a family weekend pass (£100 for non-members).
The latest issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World (for July/August 2014) has just been published, and we are very pleased that the paperback of Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England has been very favourably reviewed (on page 60). The reviewer, Joceline Bury, describes our book as a “marvellously entertaining catalogue of early 19th-century English life” that “deserves a place on any Austen aficionado’s bookshelf”. Considering that there are hundreds of thousands of Austen devotees worldwide, we look forward to a surge in sales! We love the final sentence of the review – “I challenge anyone to pick it up and not still be reading an hour later, delighted by such a vivid and entertaining portrait of an era”.
For those of you in the US and Canada, our book is called Jane Austen’s England there.
Jane Austen’s Regency World is regarded as the leading Austen magazine. It has over sixty pages, beautifully illustrated in colour, and is published every two months. For details on how to subscribe, see www.janeaustenmagazine.co.uk – there are subscriptions for UK only and the rest of the world.