Category Archives: Jane Austen

Jane Austen was a Ricardian

Last week I blogged about the amazing find that Jane Austen based Pride and Prejudice on the daughter of William Marshall, the greatest knight. https://doublehistory.com/2015/01/25/jane-austen-william-marshall-and-pride-and-prejudice/

Imagine my surprise when I found the following blog post from whatsitallaboutahakespeare *(for link, see below)

British-Got-Talent-2014-Judge
Amanda Holden, not Jefferty, doing the big mouth thingy.

My mouth did the ‘jaw drop surprise’ thingy that judges on ‘Britain’s got Talent But it is Not on This Show’ and ‘American Idle Idol’ feign when they hear something that is not abysmal!

I quote from the blog:

”There have been several supporters of Richard III throughout history; men and women who know the last Plantagenet king was ‘done wrong’ by his Tudor successors. One of these people was Jane Austen, who, at the age of just sixteen, wrote The History of England From the Reign of Henry IV to The Death of Charles I – nobody likes a show-off, Jane! In the book she has this to say about Richard, “The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man… “Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a Villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.”

My initial thought was that another of the Jeffs was winding me up, but I checked. It is for real!

Jane Austen was a Bride!

Suurces:

This blog is served with gravy, not sauce. You may choose as an accompaniment fresh green salad or seasonal vegetables.

The History of England is an early work of Jane Austen’s, completed in 1791 when she was just 15 years old: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/austen/accessible/introduction.html

http://whatsitallaboutshakespeare.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-richard.html

© Jeff Jefferty Jeff 1st February 2015

 

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Jane Austen, William Marshall and Pride and Prejudice

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged…..’

Almost everyone the world over who has ever done English literature will recognise this line as the opening line of chapter one of book one of Jane Austen’s ‘’Pride and Prejudice’’.

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth had four sisters and no brothers and although their parents were alive, their future was bleak as the estate was entailed.Jane Austen

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was a prolific writer and was encouraged in this by her family.   Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce” (Fergus, “Biography”, Jane Austen in Context.) Only some personal and family letters remain, by one estimate only 160 out of Austen’s 3,000 letters are extant (Le Faye, “Letters”, Jane Austen in Context).

Archivist Jean Hansons, however, has recently discovered what she believes to be a new document revealing that Jane thought up the idea for the story after reading about the life of William Marshall of ‘The Greatest Knight’ fame, who at the time of his death in 1219 left four sons and five daughters and when the sons all died early, left the girls initially in an equally precarious position.

The document, written in her small right-sloping neat hand, is not addressed but appears to be pages three and four of a letter, written on both sides of paper in a cramped style, even adding tiny notes up the left margin of the last page. Experts and hand writing analysts are examining the document to determine its authenticity but an initial evaluation by experts has tentatively suggested that it is genuine. Another possibility is that it could be an excellent simulation by a group of people known collectively as the Jeffs, although experts have said that not even they could be this good.Jane Austen WritingAn example of Jane Austen’s writing

Jane did not share her family’s love of history and one of her most memorable quotes is “I read it [history] a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention” so it comes as a surprise that Jane would base what is probably her most famous work on actual historical personages.

The letter discusses the similarity between Marshall’s daughter Isabel (1200-1240) and Elizabeth Bennet. Like Elizabeth, Isabel did marry, espousing Gilbert de Clare, 5th Earl of Hertford and the pair went on to have six children. In the document the possibility of a sequel to Pride and Prejudice is posited, exploring the lives of the six children that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy would go on and have.

The letter further discusses the character in the book Lady Catherine De Bourgh and states that she is based on Catherine the wife of William de Burgh (circa 1160 -1205/1206). If this does prove to be the case it may show that Jane had access to a document that is unavailable to us now, as William de Burgh’s wife has hitherto been known only as the daughter of Domnall Mór Ua Briain, King of Thomond. It is an interesting speculation that William may have engendered the Fitzwilliam maiden name of Lady de Bourgh, who in her turn engendered the famous song ‘Lady in Red.’

The examination of the document is due to be completed in February 2015 and until then Jane Austen fans and William Marshall fans can only hold their breath and wait.

©Jeff Jefferty Jeff January 25th 2015

Sources:

Alison Weir

David Niven: The Moon’s A Balloon

Our Mortgage Explained (a picture book for preschool children)

Our Mortgage Explained (Horror genre book): Building Society handguide

Wikipedia

Jeff Jefferty Jeff is currently working on his Opus Dei, a magnificent swash buckling epic based on the life and times of himself since his dear wife Mrs JJ flounced off to her mothers leaving him to master the art of opening tins without a manual.