Author Archives: Collins Hemingway

Sailing the Seas on a Family Ship

Sailing the Seas on a Family Ship

Last month, we saw how Jane Austen’s family used connections to help promote the careers of her two sailor brothers, Frank and Charles. When we left them, the Napoleonic wars were ending, causing a glut of naval officers. The Austen brothers’ lack of connections—their few sponsors had fallen out of favor—stymied both brothers’ advancement. Both… more goodness …

Networking in the Age of Sail

Networking in the Age of Sail

Unlike Army officers, members of the Royal Navy could obtain commissions without purchasing them. This difference created opportunities for the penurious sons of gentlemen like Jane Austen’s father, the Rev. George Austen. Two of his younger sons, Frank and Charles, joined the Navy when they were barely into their teens. Getting ahead in the Navy… more goodness …

Presents for Jane, Meant for All of Us

Presents for Jane, Meant for All of Us

Beginning this blog on December 16, the 243rd anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth, and finishing it on December 25, the 2018th anniversary of the birth of that little child of Bethlehem, I find myself in a reflective, seasonable mood. There are many gifts in life, and in Austenia. I hope you enjoy your gifts as… more goodness …

Does Henry Tilney Speak of a Modern Riot?

Does Henry Tilney Speak of a Modern Riot?

Last month, this blog covered the confusing conversation between Catherine Morland and Eleanor Tilney in Northanger Abbey, when Catherine is talking about the horrors of a new Gothic novel but Eleanor thinks she’s describing rioters about to descend upon Bath. Henry Tilney sees what’s happening but eggs on the confusion. Finally, he tells Eleanor that… more goodness …

London Run Riot: The Overt Politics of Austen’s Gothic Romp

London Run Riot: The Overt Politics of Austen’s Gothic Romp

During Jane Austen’s life and beyond, England was beset with constant internal strife—labor protests, political riots, and military mutinies. These came as the result of falling wages–caused by increasing mill automation–high-priced food, and the harsh conditions and poor pay of military life. From the mid-1790s through the end of Austen’s life, a major insurrection would… more goodness …

Persuasion–and Anne Elliot!–Comes to Kansas City

Persuasion–and Anne Elliot!–Comes to Kansas City

The 2018 annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America in Kansas City focused on Persuasion, Jane Austen’s last and most poignant novel. The AGM featured numerous insights into both the book and issues related to it, including my own talk on the influence of Jane Austen’s naval brothers on the text.… more goodness …

Balancing Historical Figures and the Story

Balancing Historical Figures and the Story

Recent posts have been about the best way to use history in historical fiction. The goal is to use as much history as possible without burying the story in unnecessary details or derailing the story with unnecessary asides. You want to have history support your story. You don’t want the story to become just travelogue… more goodness …

Judy O’Grady and the Purchased Lady

Judy O’Grady and the Purchased Lady

While researching The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, my trilogy on the life of Jane Austen, I ran across a fascinating book called Judy O’Grady and the Colonel’s Lady: The Army Wife and Camp Follower Since 1660. The work is titled after a Kipling poem, in which he says the poor enlisted wife (“Judy”) and… more goodness …

Seeing Fanny Price Through Modern Eyes

Seeing Fanny Price Through Modern Eyes

Until this week, I had seen all of the major film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels—the theater releases, the BBC series, etc.—except one. I have now completed the sweep by finally watching Patricia Rozema’s 1999 version of Mansfield Park. I missed the movie when it came out. After reading a few reviews and coming across… more goodness …

Austen Sideroads Yield Interesting Journeys

Austen Sideroads Yield Interesting Journeys

Combing the internet for information on the life and times of Jane Austen sometimes leads to links in which the English author is mentioned in passing or as part of a broader story. More times than not, these side trips become worthwhile journeys of their own. Today we look at some of these online detours… more goodness …

Foreign Invasion of Bath? Quelle Horreur!

Foreign Invasion of Bath? Quelle Horreur!

The lovely city of Bath, England, might be the most regular character in Jane Austen’s novels. Much romantic intrigue occurs there in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. A clergyman finds a wife there in Emma. The bad boys in the other three novels head in that direction—one known to have seduced a young woman there and… more goodness …