Author Archives: Collins Hemingway

A Modest Proposal: Might the Spinster Have Married?

A Modest Proposal: Might the Spinster Have Married?

As reported in last month’s blog about Jane Austen’s romantic attachments, biographers dutifully recount the story of Jane’s acceptance/rejection of a proposal by Harris Bigg-Wither, a young, brash man six years her junior, on Thursday-Friday, 2-3 December 1802. The story goes that Jane and Cassandra journeyed to Manydown, the Bigg-Wither estate, for several weeks of… more goodness …

Engaging Stories About Miss Austen and Her Beaus

Engaging Stories About Miss Austen and Her Beaus

How many times was Jane Austen engaged—or married (!)? Thoughts about her short life—and her emotional life, whatever it may have been—bubble up in this year of 2017, the 200th anniversary of her death. Officially, Austen was engaged once, for less than a day, to a young, callow Harris Bigg-Wither, in 1802. Because the engagement… more goodness …

Austen and the Cathedral: Was Interment a Signal Honor?

Austen and the Cathedral: Was Interment a Signal Honor?

July 18, 2017, marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. At that date, the official commemoration begins. Tributes will flow through any number of activities, readings, evensongs, and events, leading to July 24, the date of her funeral. In the UK, public benches are being dedicated to Austen, and the “Rain Jane”… more goodness …

Brotherly Love?

Brotherly Love?

In my last blog, I wrote about the general but oft ignored belief that cousins should not marry. Cousin marriage was fashionable in Jane Austen’s time among the wealthy, but it happened more than once in Jane’s immediate family. Her brother Henry (above, by headline) married their cousin Eliza, and the son of brother Frank married the daughter… more goodness …

Marrying a Cousin

Marrying a Cousin

There’s a whole lot of marrying going on in Jane Austen’s novels. Among the major characters of her six major novels, at least nineteen couples tie the knot. One wedding was so singular that it could have been halted in certain quarters, then and now. The marriage in Mansfield Park between Fanny Price and Edmund… more goodness …

Miss Austen–No Politician, She

Miss Austen–No Politician, She

In this, the 200th anniversary year of Jane Austen’s death, we learn that white supremacists are co-opting the English author in support of a racial dictatorship, shocked opponents are claiming that true readers are “rational, compassionate, liberal-minded people,” and conservatives are chiding Janeites for assuming that great literature can be written only by great liberals.… more goodness …

Rules of the Road for the Regency Language

Rules of the Road for the Regency Language

Summer Hanford recently blogged on Austen Authors about language, particularly for writers working in the Regency period. I was traveling and unable to jump into the discussion, but her comments set me to reflect about my approach—which I had considered for quite a while as I began my historical fiction based on Jane Austen’s life.… more goodness …

Do Austen’s Novels Reveal Her Views on Slavery?

Do Austen’s Novels Reveal Her Views on Slavery?

My last blog explored the effort in England to abolish the slave trade—the buying and selling of human flesh—which was accomplished in 1807—as well as the effort to eliminate slavery itself throughout all British possessions, which was not accomplished until 1840. Slave owners were helped through their “difficult” six-year period of adjustment, 1834-1840, with payments… more goodness …

Fight Against Slavery Carried On Beyond Austen’s Life

Fight Against Slavery Carried On Beyond Austen’s Life

Slavery was one of the most contentious issues of Jane Austen’s time. Some scholars claim that she ignored the issue or even accepted the legitimacy of the practice. Others claim that Mansfield Park serves as an anti-slavery tract. For certain, Austen would have tackled the complex issue in a complex way. The fight to abolish… more goodness …