Author Archives: Eliza Shearer

Birth Order in Jane Austen’s Families

Birth Order in Jane Austen’s Families

Birth order has an impact on your personality and behaviour, according to many psychologists. Some of the stereotypes related to sibling birth order have primarily been confirmed by scientific studies, but at Jane Austen’s time, such observations would have remained anecdotal only. Whether you trust said studies or not, it is worth checking out what… more goodness …

Brides, Grooms and Weddings in Jane Austen’s Novels

Brides, Grooms and Weddings in Jane Austen’s Novels

The wedding season is well and truly upon us. I have three weddings this year, two of them in the next few weeks, which has got me thinking about how vow exchanging ceremonies feature in Jane Austen’s novels… The Tradition “It was a very proper wedding. The bride was elegantly dressed; the two bridesmaids were… more goodness …

The Financial Implications of Marriage During the Regency

The Financial Implications of Marriage During the Regency

Much has been said about the importance of finding a husband for Jane Austen’s female characters. During the Regency, marriage was more about personal finances than romantic love, and although Austen’s novels give the latter a starring role, the former is always in the background. A Choice for a Few For a minority of heroines,… more goodness …

On Handsome – and Not so Handsome – Leading Men in Jane Austen’s Novels

On Handsome – and Not so Handsome – Leading Men in Jane Austen’s Novels

I finally got around watching the 2008 Sense and Sensibility BBC adaptation. It is beautifully shot, with stunning locations, a historically accurate wardrobe and a very competent cast. I wasn’t too fond of the script or direction at times, but I liked the two central characters, Elinor and Marianne. I was particularly pleased to see… more goodness …

Christmas in Jane Austen’s Time

Christmas in Jane Austen’s Time

Christmas is very much upon us and with it a vast amount of different customs and traditions across households, counties and countries. However, what was Christmas like in the Regency, and how different was it from today’s festivities? Nancy Lawrence recently told us about Washington Irving and his experiences in 1815 England, but Jane Austen… more goodness …

Gretna Green: Secret Engagements, Elopements and the World’s Most Famous Anvil

Gretna Green: Secret Engagements, Elopements and the World’s Most Famous Anvil

After many years in my “to visit” list, I finally had the chance to make it to Gretna Green recently, as part of a family trip to England. The actual place we stayed at was Gretna, which is right alongside but couldn’t be more different. Whereas Gretna Green conjures images of forbidden romance, runaway brides… more goodness …

The Letters and Diaries of Henrietta Liston, a Regency Lady with an Extraordinary Life

The Letters and Diaries of Henrietta Liston, a Regency Lady with an Extraordinary Life

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom – Scottish Branch, featuring a fascinating talk by Dora Petherbridge, curator, at the National Library of Scotland. The subject of Ms Petherbridge’s lecture was Henrietta Liston, a keen diarist and letter writer, a contemporary of Jane… more goodness …

Sickness and Ill-health in Jane Austen’s Novels (Part II)

Last month we discussed how Jane Austen used ill-health as a plot device in Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Let’s look at how our favourite author uses sickness and concussions in pivotal moments in Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Persuasion. A violent cold in Pride and Prejudice Good old Mrs Bennet! Herself… more goodness …

Sickness and Ill-health in Jane Austen’s Novels (I)

Sickness and Ill-health in Jane Austen’s Novels (I)

Regency society was obsessed with infirmity. Letters from the period are peppered with references to health or the lack thereof, a worry shared by much of the population. In a world with no antibiotics and no real notion of sterilisation or basic hygiene, the most minor concussions, cuts and colds had the potential to take… more goodness …

Families Large and Small in Jane Austen’s Novels

Families Large and Small in Jane Austen’s Novels

In most of Jane Austen’s works, at one point or another, we are treated to family tableaux featuring children running about, teens minding their businesses and adults trying to hold a conversation amongst the chaos of it all. Take this scene in Persuasion, depicting the Christmas celebrations at Uppercross: “On one side was a table occupied… more goodness …