Showing posts with label Jane Austen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane Austen. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Pride & Prejudice!

Did you know that Jane Austen's masterpiece, Pride & Prejudice was published two hundred years ago? That's right, it was published in January 1813. To celebrate, BBC has put together an amazing documentary that I found on Two Nerdy History Girls. The video depicts the pains they went to in order to recreate a Regency-style ball as Jane Austen herself would have experienced, and which is portrayed in her novel Pride & Prejudice. They hired the experts in Regency food, fashion, music and the dances Elizabeth and Darcy knew and lived to fill the the details Jane Austen would not have needed to include for her contemporary readers but which all Regency fans crave and adore.

Every Jane Austen fan should watch this fascinating BBC documentary recreation of a Regency ball on Two Nerdy History Girls.

What did you learn?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fashions in Era of Jane Austen


Jody Gayle is the editor/designer of Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen, and it is solely through her efforts that this wonderful resource is now available both electronically and as an oversized paperback with hundreds of color illustrations.

 

Cheryl Bolen: Thank you, Jody, for being our guest today, and thank you for introducing a whole new generation (and more) to Ackermann's Repository. First, will you tell us what Ackermann's Repository was?

 

The Ackermann’s Repository of the Arts was a monthly British periodical published from 1809-1829 by Rudolph Ackermann.  It was a highly popular nineteenth-century publication devoted to the study of the arts, literature, commerce, manufacturing, politics and fashion.  I believe a contemporary example could be a monthly version of the New York Times with somewhere between 60-80 pages.  However, the Repository of the Arts included a significant amount of information provided by the readers including personal letters, poems, opinion pieces and general articles. 

 

Each monthly issue contained several illustrations produced by artists using a technique called etching. Two of the illustrations were always hand-painted prints normally featuring the whole body of a woman dressed in the latest fashions.  Every fashion print included a detailed description of the type of clothing shown, its style, cut, trim, color, type of fabric and the accompanying accessories. 

 

 

Cheryl Bolen: In compiling your book, why did you make the decision to reproduce all the illustrations with the exact same language that was used in their original publication?

 

There were a couple reasons why it was important to include the language of the time to accompany the fashion plates.  When I began my research I found books with tons of beautiful fashion prints.  Then I began reading Ackermann’s Repository that included the descriptions and discovered a whole new dimension and depth to the illustrations.  It seemed sad that the words of the past were being forgotten and I felt there would be others who might like to read the descriptions.  Plus, I wanted to provide a convenient means for scholars and authors to access this information.  There are over 240 issues of Ackermann’s Repository and over 16,000 pages!  It can take months to research or find all the fashion prints.  

 

 

Cheryl Bolen: Can you describe for us the some of the steps you had to take in order to produce your incomparable work?

 

Just a few years ago I worked for a local newspaper company and they also published a bridal magazine so I had some idea of the process of printing and design.  I was able to publish my book due to the fantastic program through Amazon.  It allows authors to self-publish their own digital and paperback books but then every little detail and decision has to be made by the author without the assistance of a publishing house.

I began by contacting the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library for the permission to use their copies of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts.   Then I spent my time searching, scanning, and organizing the illustrations and then searching, typing and organizing all of the text.  Developing the organization system was crucial to keep the illustrations and the accompanying descriptions straight.  I had to be meticulous since one of my goals was to provide a resource to scholars and authors.  Everything had to be exactly right and accurate.   There wasn’t an easy way to accomplishing this task other than pure determination and hard work.  Then I had the whole book professionally proofread and compared to the original documents. 

 

The Kindle book was designed by me but I paid an experienced company to format the book but for future projects I can format the book myself.  A critical decision in designing the paperback book was choosing the size of the book.  This decision impacted everything from the fashion plate quality and detail, the book design, and ultimately the price of the book and shipping costs.  In the end I chose the largest book size available and the size is similar to a textbook. 

 

    

Cheryl Bolen: Just how many pages are in your book, and how many illustrations?

 

Well, since you asked I counted and there are 291 illustrations and 376 total pages.  When I first uploaded my book to Amazon it was too many pages and I had to redesign the book so some of the illustrations included the descriptions on the same page.  When you purchase the Kindle version there is a note to readers that due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download.  Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen are the fashion plates from 1809 to 1820.  My next project will contain the next nine years I was unable to include in the in the first book.  I am having a difficult time deciding on a title. 

Cheryl Bolen: Thank you, Jody, for visiting with us -- and for making this fabulous resource available to us.
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Mary Lydon Simonsen: Elizabeth Bennet--the Good, the Bad and the Other Woman

Linda Banche here. My guest today is Mary Lydon Simonsen and her latest Pride and Prejudice retelling, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Here she elaborates on why we love Elizabeth Bennet--she was wrong about Darcy, admitted her mistake and changed her mind. Mary also tackles the question of what could have happened if Darcy had already committed himself to another woman.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win the copy of A Wife for Mr. Darcy which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Mary will select the winner. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winner within a week of selection, I will award the book to an alternate. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winner Mary selected is cyn209! Congratulations, cyn209, and thanks to all for coming over.

Welcome, Mary. Happy to have you here.

Mary Lydon Simonsen:

Hi, Linda. Thank you for having me back at Historical Hussies, one of my favorite historical blogs. You have asked me to write about the good and the bad of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and the “other woman” in my novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy.

Like most of us who were born without the Mother Teresa gene, we have our good side and our bad side. Elizabeth Bennet was no different. When she first met Mr. Darcy, she was greatly insulted by his comments and his rude behavior at an assembly in Meryton. Because her pride had been wounded, she was determined not to hear any good of him. She did not ask herself why a man of the landed gentry, and someone with such high connections, would befriend Charles Bingley, a man whose family had made its fortune in trade. Nor did she take into consideration that poor Mr. Darcy had spent endless afternoons and evenings at Netherfield Park with Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst, two felines who always had their claws out. Even after she learned of his devotion to his sister or that he visited his autocratic aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and her sickly daughter, her opinion of the gentleman remained unchanged. Why? Because Darcy had wronged her. It wasn’t until Mr. Darcy revealed all in his letter following her rejection of his proposal at Hunsford Lodge that she took a step back and reviewed the whole of their acquaintance, and when she did, she didn’t like what she saw.

But that is the beauty of Elizabeth Bennet. Unlike Wickham or Mr. Collins or Lady Catherine, she is capable of correction. When presented with an opportunity to set things right, she does. By the time she meets Darcy at his estate in Derbyshire, her opinion of the man has undergone a sea change, and because of that, the ground is fertile for the seeds of romance.

Now, as to the other woman in A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Her name is Letitia Montford, and she is everything that an accomplished woman of the Regency Era should be. She draws, paints, does needlework, sings, plays on the piano-forte, and knows the modern languages. She is an excellent dancer and performs well in public. What’s not to like? At first that is Mr. Darcy’s conclusion as well, and since he is of an age when a man’s thoughts tend toward taking a wife for the purpose of producing an heir, he seeks her out at the different venues during the season. Because Mr. Darcy had paid sufficient attention to Miss Montford, rumors are circulating that the gentleman from Derbyshire has found a wife. But that was before he had set eyes on Elizabeth Bennet. So what is a man to do? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

What do you think about Lizzy Bennet? Did she make other mistakes? For example, why was she so willing to believe Mr. Wickham, someone she hardly knew, when he was telling lies about Mr. Darcy? I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading my post.

A WIFE FOR MR. DARCY BY MARY LYDON SIMONSEN
A gentleman should always render an apology...
When Mr. Darcy realizes he insulted Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, he feels duty bound to seek her out and apologize...

When he has insulted a lady...
But instead of meekly accepting his apology, Elizabeth stands up to him, and Mr. Darcy realizes with a shock that she is a very different type of lady than he is used to...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/ and http://www.austenauthors.com/, where she regularly contributes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ladies Regency Fashion--"Undress"

The Regency era brought dramatic changes in women's fashion. Those huge hoop skirts and pinched waistlines popular in the Elizabethan Era disappeared in favor of the Roman style gown with high waistlines and lighter fabrics.

Ladies of the Beau Monde changed her clothing at least three different times a day depending on the time of day and her activities. Because the aristocracy and upper crust were so steeped in tradition and manners, they had no trouble following the rules. However, I have no doubt that arrivistes and the rising middle class found this custom bewildering.

UNDRESS
The term Undress, or dishabille, was the more casual or simpler style of gown worn at home usually in the morning. These were loose, comfortable gowns made with warmer fabrics and had higher necklines than gowns worn later in the day. Ladies often wore a cap in the morning, too. Ladies wore Undress gowns all morning until noon, depending on scheduled outings or visitors. On a quiet day, a lady might wear Undress until four or five in the afternoon. Sometimes undress gowns were quite decorative. Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennet in the 1996 film version of Sense and Sensibility wore a morning gown in the film that closely resembled an 1815 Ackermann fashion plate. The actresses playing the Dashwood women often wore an apron or pinafore over their dresses when picking herbs or working in the kitchen. I don't know how accurate this is, or if they only did so because they were not overly wealthy and had to be very careful with their clothing.

Mornings were a time for solitude and tending to the house. For the lady of the house, her morning activities were fairly regimented. After rising, dressing, and eating breakfast, she consulted with her cook and housekeeper, and caught up on her correspondence.

Young ladies such as Jane Austen often practiced the pianoforte first thing in the morning. Ladies also read, sewed, wrote letters, made preserves, and oversaw the gardens.

When I'm staying home, I like pajama pants or stretch pants and a big soft T-shirt. (My favorite writing attire) Of course, if I were to tell my husband I planned to wear undress today, he'd imagine something entirely different ;-)

What do you like to wear when you're at home?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Guest Abigail Reynolds: Social Classes in Regency England

Linda Banche here. Today I welcome Abigail Reynolds, author of Mr. Darcy's Obsession, the latest of her Pride and Prejudice Variations. Today she discusses social classes, one of the major facts of life in Regency England.

Leave a comment for a chance to win one of the two copies of Mr. Darcy's Obsession which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Abigail will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of their selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

Abigail selected the winners Margay and Dee. Dee, please send me an email at linda@lindabanche.com to collect your prize. Margay, I've sent you an email. If I do not hear from you by October 12, I will award the books to alternates.

Welcome, Abigail!

There is a huge social gap between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice, which is why Darcy’s proposal to her is such a testament to the power of love. When I wrote Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, I wanted modern readers to feel the depth of Darcy’s love and devotion the way a Regency reader would have felt it in the original. I took the gap between Darcy and Elizabeth – practically insurmountable at the time - and made it even larger. In Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, Elizabeth’s father has died and the Bennets are displaced from Longbourn. They are taken in by family, but the accommodations are not what they were accustomed to. Elizabeth lives with the Gardiners as an unpaid governess for their children. Although the Gardiners treat her as part of the family, she feels unable to ask them for anything because they are already helping support the rest of her family. Her wardrobe becomes shabbier, and her time is not her own. She isn’t remotely suitable as a wife for Darcy.

But Elizabeth was always unsuitable for him in Pride & Prejudice, just like Cinderella was unsuitable for the Prince, but modern readers find it difficult to understand the nuances of the time. The simplest piece of it is money. To the gentry, keeping the estate intact was of primary importance. That’s why they didn’t divide up property between children, and why property was often entailed. It was part of the landowner’s duty to preserve the estate and to add to it if possible. Darcy’s estate is already facing a loss – 30,000 pounds for Georgiana’s dowry, to be precise – and he would be expected to bring home a bride whose dowry would at least compensate for that loss. He is failing in his family duty.

The social nuances are more complex. Despite their meeting at Netherfield, Darcy and Elizabeth would not ordinarily move in the same social circles, as the Bingley sisters make clear. As Darcy is presented as the future son-in-law of Lady Catherine; Elizabeth is a poor cousin of one of Lady Catherine’s dependents. Elizabeth would not be accepted among the ton, whose languid snobbery would be offended by her presumption. Darcy’s social status would fall if he married her. Worse yet, so would his sister’s. Georgiana’s marriage prospects would be significantly harmed by such a marriage.

Elizabeth also has low connections, including kin in trade. Being in trade was a mark of low upbringing, and children of tradesmen had a difficult time being accepted by the ton. This is why Darcy is seen as superior to Bingley, and why Bingley will never be seen as quite up to snuff in society. And Elizabeth, unlike Bingley, isn’t even stylish or well-to-do.

Those alone are enough to make it extraordinarily unlikely that a gentleman like Darcy would consider marrying so far below him, but that’s not enough for Jane Austen. She stacks the deck yet further by giving Elizabeth embarrassing relations and a disgraced sister. Darcy knows perfectly well that he will be the subject of mockery because of her family’s behavior, and he’s right. But his love for Elizabeth is more powerful than all those things. He is truly a man before his time.

MR. DARCY’S OBSESSION BY ABIGAIL REYNOLDS—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...
“[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel.” —Austenprose

“Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh…Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go.”—The Romance Studio

“The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated…spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!” —A Reader’s Respite

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth is called away before Darcy proposes for the first time and Darcy decides to find a more suitable wife. But when Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London after the death of her father, he can’t fight his desire to see and speak with her again…and again and again. But now that her circumstances have made her even more unsuitable, will Darcy be able to let go of all his long held pride to marry a woman who, though she is beneath his station, is the only woman capable of winning his heart?

About the Author
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit http://www.pemberleyvariations.com/ or http://www.austenauthors.com/.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guest C. Allyn Pierson: Regency Spies

Linda Banche here. Today I welcome C. Allyn Pierson, whose latest book is her Jane Austen historical romance, Mr. Darcy's Little Sister. As you can tell from the title, she continues Pride and Prejudice with Georgiana's story. But here she talks about Regency spies. Mr. Darcy and spies?

Leave a comment for a chance to win one of the two copies of Mr. Darcy's Little Sister which Sourcebooks has generously provided. C. Allyn will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of their selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

C. Allyn has selected the winners Tiffany Green and gigi. Congratulations! I've sent you both emails. If I do not hear from you by October 8, I will select alternates.

Welcome, C. Allyn!

In my latest release, Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, many of the characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice make appearances, including Col. Fitzwilliam and we learn more about what I thought he might be up to while in the military. I selected the Horse Guards as Col. Fitzwilliam’s regiment because I felt that the son of an Earl would be in one of the elite regiments, and the cavalry was the most glamorous branch of the service. In addition, the Horse Guards and the Life Guards were part of the Household Cavalry so they would be stationed in London and not sent off to the battlefields of Europe to fight Napoleon. I decided upon the Horse Guards because one of their primary functions at that time was to guard the safety of the royal family, so I could give Colonel Fitzwilliam access to the highest levels of the court.

In the Regency Era, England had not yet developed an organization dedicated to covert operations (sorry, no MI6 or James Bond!). Various ministers, such as the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, however, needed a source of information about the actions and plans of the enemies of the state. What these leaders did was develop their own system of contacts and informants, and these sources would then develop their own information systems. Because of the individual nature of these systems there was a great deal of duplication, and sometimes, holes in the system. The Horse Guards were not charged with carrying out covert actions, but I felt that their access to the most powerful men in England would make them an obvious choice when it came to sub rosa activities. I envision the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister getting to know Col. Fitzwilliam over the years and coming to realize that his easy-going appearance hid a trustworthy man who could keep his mouth shut and deal with problems diplomatically.

Eventually, the Horse Guards headquarters in Whitehall became the army headquarters and the term “Horse Guards” came to be used as the name of the building, like we use the term “Pentagon” for our military headquarters.

The English government first established the Secret Service Bureau in 1909 and it eventually changed name to the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Foreign intelligence became Military Intelligence, Section 6 (MI6) just before WWI. Until this time, all covert operations were strictly individual plans by powerful Ministers.

I hope you will pick up a copy of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister to see how the Horse Guards are represented! Thank you to all of the Historical Hussies for having me on the blog today!


MR. DARCY’S LITTLE SISTER BY C. ALLYN PIERSON—IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2010

Pride and Prejudice continues...

Georgiana Darcy grows up and goes in pursuit of happiness and true love, much to her big brother's consternation.

A whole new side of Mr. Darcy...

He's the best big brother, generous to a fault. Protective, never teases. But over his dead body is any rogue or fortune hunter going to get near his little sister! (Unfortunately, any gentleman who wants to court Georgiana is going to have the same problem...)

So how's a girl ever going to meet the gentleman of her dreams?

About the Author
C. Allyn Pierson is the nom-de-plume of a physician, who has combined her many years of interest in the works of Jane Austen and the history of Regency England into this sequel to Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her family and three dogs in Fort Dodge, Iowa. http://www.callynpierson.com/

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Kara Louise: Regency Ships


Linda Banche here. Today I welcome Kara Louise and her book, Darcy's Voyage, where Pride and Prejudice's Darcy and Elizabeth meet on a ship. In this post, Kara gives us a fascinating view of the ships of the Regency.

Leave a comment for a chance to win one of the two copies of Darcy's Voyage which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Kara will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of their selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winners Kara selected are: peggy and catslady. catslady, I know who you are *g*. peggy, please contact me at linda@lindabanche.com by September 21 or I will select an alternate.

Welcome, Kara!

Thanks for inviting me to join you today. I am sure most of your readers love all things having to do with history, and I am here to tell you some interesting facts about ships and sailing that I discovered while researching my novel, Darcy’s Voyage, which was just released by Sourcebooks.

I discovered a site that inspired my “idea” for the ship Pemberley’s Promise, which is the name of the ship in my story. It was the Jeanie Johnson, which carried about a thousand Irish to Canada during the famine in the 1840s. While this was later than Pride and Prejudice, it gave me pause to consider the type of ship Mr. Darcy would invest in and the kind of captain he would put in place.

The Jeanie Johnston had much more desirable conditions that most of the “coffin” ships that took people across the Atlantic. By the name of those other ships, death was very frequent, either through disease spreading throughout the passengers or being wrecked at sea. Unlike those ships, the Jeanie Johnston was “a well run and humanely operated ship which cared as best it could for the fleeing emigrants.”

Some of the things attributed to its not losing a single passenger on its many voyages was the humanitarian attitude of the ship’s master, Captain James Attridge. He had a genuine concern for the welfare of his passengers. The hatches were opened whenever possible, bedding was taken out and aired, the accommodations below deck were kept as clean as possible, and everyone was encouraged to take a walk on deck each day, unless the weather was too rough. Pemberley’s Promise is, as you might guess, owned by Mr. Darcy, and I think he and Captain Wendell would have striven for the same excellence in keeping the ship clean and humane treatment of passengers.

Another interesting fact I stumbled upon was finding out that two children would often be considered as one adult in their bedding arrangements. This provided the inspiration in Darcy’s Voyage where Elizabeth willingly gives up her bed. She has become acquainted with a lady who is with child who has two daughters sharing a bed, one of which is sick. When the mother gives up her own bed for the healthy daughter, Elizabeth will not allow this woman to sleep on the floor and gives up her bed to the mother.

I also became fascinated reading a diary of a married woman who had sailed in 1809 from England to Australia. While she had not been on a large ship carrying a lot of passengers, her diary was very interesting.

She had one entry in her diary that was humorous. A young man had fallen overboard and the sailors were in a bit of confusion over it. When the captain saw their confusion, he asked if someone had fallen overboard, to which they replied, “Sir, Nobody has fallen overboard.” It was fortunate this man was rescued, as the nickname he went by was Nobody. The captain at first did nothing, but fortunately realized the mistake, and a small boat was put out to retrieve him. I think the moral of that story is to be careful what nickname you go by, or at least make sure the person in charge knows what it is!

I was first inspired to write a story about Darcy and Elizabeth at sea after reading Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. This was Dana’s diary of a journey in the 1840s from Boston, down around the cape, to Southern California. I found his descriptions of the ship fascinating and his life on board ship, while definitely not romanticized, was certainly enough to get me thinking about putting Darcy and Elizabeth on a great ship.

While I may have merged a little fiction with historical fact in Darcy’s Voyage, I hope these little bits of information I learned were of interest to you. Thanks again for letting me share with you today.

I have included two of the websites I found that were of great help. The first is a description of the Jeanie Johnston and the second is a compilation of diaries written at sea from 1809 - 1822.

http://www.jeaniejohnston.net
http://www.library.mq.edu.au/all/journeys.menu.html

Thanks for letting me share with you today!

Kara Louise


DARCY’S VOYAGE BY KARA LOUISE – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2010
A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas

In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley’s Promise. She’s prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.

When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined. But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society’s rules that threaten their chance at happiness. When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ever since Kara Louise discovered and fell in love with the writings of Jane Austen she has spent her time answering the "what happened next" and the "what ifs" in Elizabeth's and Darcy's story. She has written 6 novels based on Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her husband in Wichita, Kansas. For more information, please visit her website, Jane Austen’s Land of Ahhhs, http://ahhhs.net/.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice


My love of the Regency period stems from reading Georgette Heyer's books when I was very young and then in my early teens reading all of Jane Austen's books. Writing in the Regency period means you can include everything from high society to the horrors of the Napoleonic Wars.
All my published books have been set in this time, the heroines are gentry the heroes sometimes aristocrats but all, apart from one, ex-soldiers. It was Bernard Cornwell's wonderful Sharpe books that inspired me to include military gentlemen in my tales. When the books were turned into television films and the gorgeous Sean Bean played Richard Sharpe I had a template for all my heroes.
However I've always wanted to know more about Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley and this year decided to write what I thought might have happened to them during the difficult year they were apart. The book, Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley, is now available on Lulu.com and will be on general release in a few weeks.
Flicking through my ancient copy of Pride and Prejudice I came across some fascinating information about the publication of this book. It was first offered to the publisher Cadell on November the first 1797, as "a manuscript novel comprising three volumes, about the length of Miss Burney's Evelina ... I shall be much obliged ... if you would inform me whether you choose to be concerned in it, what would be the expense of publishing it at the author's risk, what you will venture to advance for the property of it, if on perusal it is approved of.'
Cadell didn't take it and the book was shortened and revised and eventually went to Thomas Egerton of the Military Library in Whitehall for £110 ( it seems that Jane asked for £150). The first printing was around 1500 copies and sold at 18 shillings in boards and appeared in January 1813; it sold out. The second edition appeared in November. The third edition was published by John Murray in 1817. Jane Austen had to wait 16 years before her book was published - imagine if it hadn't been taken? A world without Darcy doesn't bear thinking about!!
On another loop we have been discussing how long it takes nowadays for a new writer to find a publisher. Some of us took only a year others 10 years, but as far as I recall none of the authors waited as long as Jane did to see their book in print.
Fenella Miller