Author Archives: Eliza Shearer

Influential Widows and Matriarchs in Jane Austen

Influential Widows and Matriarchs in Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s novels are brimming with formidable and highly opinionated ladies. At a time when the female ideal was passive and even-tempered, she never shied away from creating characters that were quite the opposite. Today, we will look at some of the older women in her novels, how the author portrays them, and who amongst the… more goodness …

Dogs in Jane Austen’s Novels

Dogs in Jane Austen’s Novels

Although (just like servants) they are often little remarked upon, dogs are everywhere in Jane Austen’s novels. In the Regency, dogs were an essential feature of countryside living: we might as well imagine their incessant barking in the background when we read Austen’s stories, particularly during hunting season or when the men head outside. Most… more goodness …

The Mechanical Turk, or the Chess-Playing Machine that Beat Napoleon 

The Mechanical Turk, or the Chess-Playing Machine that Beat Napoleon 

It was the year 1809. The Napoleonic Wars were in full swing, but the French general had other interests besides fighting the British over Spain and Portugal.  Around the time Jane Austen and her mother and sister moved to Chawton and took possession of their new home, courtesy of Jane’s brother Edward, Napoleon arrived in… more goodness …

A Bad Fall, a Broken Limb and a Regency Surgeon: Professor Colles and Me

A Bad Fall, a Broken Limb and a Regency Surgeon: Professor Colles and Me

Two months ago I slipped over treacherous dark ice, fell and broke my left wrist. I had never broken a bone before, so it was quite a shock. I had a distal radius fracture, one of the most common wrist injuries, and it wasn’t a pretty sight! When I fell, my skin didn’t break, but… more goodness …

A Painting Inspired by a Jane Austen Novel?

A Painting Inspired by a Jane Austen Novel?

About year ago, on a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, I came across a delightful painting that immediately set my imagination flying.  The 1887 painting, titled Two Strings to Her Bow, shows a cheerful young woman walking with her arms around two supposed suitors, neither of whom seem too pleased… more goodness …

Charlotte of Wales, a Regency Princess – and Jane Austen Fan

Charlotte of Wales, a Regency Princess – and Jane Austen Fan

I am lucky enough to live a short drive from Holyrood Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The palace includes the Queen’s Gallery, which features an ever-changing array of exhibitions from the Royal Collection that never fail to inspire me (an exhibition of Maria Merian’s drawings inspired a key scenes… more goodness …

The Unfortunate Choices in the Jane Austen Ten Pound Note

The Unfortunate Choices in the Jane Austen Ten Pound Note

On 14 September 2017, a £10 banknote featuring Jane Austen entered circulation.  The launch coincided with the 200th anniversary of the death of the writer, who passed away prematurely on 18 July 1817. It’s a recognition conveyed to very few individuals (and a tiny number of women). All in all, an incredible honour. Janeites celebrated… more goodness …

Autumn in Jane Austen’s Novels

Autumn in Jane Austen’s Novels

The fresh autumn breeze is here, and with it, the beautiful russet colours of the season. Autumn always reminds me of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and poor Anne Elliot.  An Autumnal Novel Anne Elliot, at 27, is Austen’s oldest heroine. Not unlike Charlotte Lucas in Price and Prejudice, Anne is considered well past her best, practically a spinster.… more goodness …

Windows in Jane Austen

Windows in Jane Austen

We, Janeites, know that windows are a thing in Jane Austen’s novels. One of Mr Collins’ most memorable scenes in Pride and Prejudice takes place when he and his wife are on the way to visit the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh alongside their visitor, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. This is what happens as they approach Rosings:… more goodness …

Household Furniture and Interior Decoration in the Regency

Household Furniture and Interior Decoration in the Regency

Jane Austen is renowned for providing scant details on the physical aspect of her characters. She barely gives us a hint of what her protagonists look like, and spends very little time describing the clothes they wear. Equally, although she does give a fair account of the architecture of some of the stately homes in her… more goodness …

Jane Austen and the Tudors (plus one Stuart)

Jane Austen and the Tudors (plus one Stuart)

Aged 15 or 16, Jane Austen wrote a very amusing History of England in the style of a mock textbook. The short text, illustrated by Austen’s sister Cassandra, is most definitely worth a read. The title page (below) sets the tone: Austen describes herself as “a partial, prejudiced & ignorant historian” and promises that “there will be… more goodness …

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