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Latest News

This page highlights forthcoming activities or events indirectly related to the Jane Austen Society during the course of the year, together with information on any issues or events not included on other pages of the website.

The links below direct you either to relevant content elsewhere on the website, or to a separate page providing further information.

Lost Photographs Discovered

Lost photographs of Jane Austen's nieces and nephews have recently been discovered in an old Victorian photograph album, which reveals their lives and which could have come out of one of the author's own novels. A leading historian has said that the works of the writer foreshadowed the chequered love lives of her family members.

New Ambassador for Jane Austen's House Museum

David Baddiel, comedian, author, TV presenter, and champion of Jane Austen's literary excellence, is JAHM's Ambassador for 2019.

Free Online Course at Southampton University

Drs Gillian Dow and Kim Simpson are teaching a free, three-week course on Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity. Enrolment opens on January 14th. Further details from the above link.

Unveiling of Jane Austen Plaque in Southampton : Sunday 18 November

Towards the end of World War I, an impressive stone plaque dedicated to Jane Austen was erected in the old Central Library on the corner of Cumberland Place and London Road to mark the 100th anniversary of Jane's death. She had lived in Southampton between 1806 and 1809.

Unfortunately, the whole library and the plaque were destroyed by bombing in World War II.

To mark the 200th anniversary of her death in 2017, the City of Southampton Society approached the Nuffield Theatre Company to ascertain whether they would welcome a replacement plaque in their new theatre in the city centre. They did, but the construction schedule for the theatre was delayed and the opening night was in February this year, featuring 'The Shadow Factory', Southampton's Spitfire story.

The City of Southampton Society are delighted that the replacement pictorial plaque was unveiled at 3.00 pm on Sunday 18 November. The sculptor is Chris Cudlip, a local member of the Artists Union England. The plaque unveiling was performed by the Sarah Siddons Fan Club in the presence of the mayor and invited guests.

Godmersham Park Library Goes Digital

I am now alone in the Library, Mistress of all I survey', wrote Jane Austen to her sister on 24th September 1813. Over 200 years later, we too can immerse ourselves in the collection of books amassed by Edward Knight, catalogued from 1818 onwards.

The virtual library (see link below), created by Chawton House and The Burney Centre at McGill University in Montreal, under the direction of Professor Peter Sabor, allows visitors to view the texts arranged on the shelves as Jane Austen might have seen them, to access images and information about individual books and to find links to online editions.

In 2019, Peter Sabor will be speaking on 'Reading Austen at Godmersham Park' at the Society's Study Day at Senate House, London, on February 9th. Booking is now open.

Bank of England Archives

In the process of researching Jane Austen's tax affairs, Dr John Avery Jones CBE, a retired tax judge and member of the Society, located several items in the Bank of England Archives. The relevant ledgers and stock books (not available on line) are listed as:

AC27/5232 Stock Ledger: Navy 5% Annuities, A, 5 July 1807 - 5 July 1814
AC27/5288 Stock Ledger: Navy 5% Annuities, A, 5 July 1818 - 5 July 1822
AC28/19407 Stock Book Transfers: Navy 5% Annuities, 29 Jan 1813 - 25 Aug 1813
AC28/19672 Stock Book Transfers: Navy 5% Annuities, 9 May 1815 - 23 Jan 1816

Dr Avery Jones's article on Austen's income tax will appear in the Annual Report for 2018 (published 2019). Meanwhile, here is a link to his Conference Paper on tax and Austen's characters.

Courtesy Bank of England

Flying High with Jane Austen

A recent Society News Letter carried a review of Jane Austen Speaks Norwegian, an investigation into the challenges that writers from that country faced, and continue to face, when translating Austen's novels into a meaningful read (No 51, pp 13-14). Now Norway has honoured the author in a very different way. Many thanks to Steve Tilbury, who spotted an image of Jane Austen on the tail fin of a Norwegian Airlines Dreamliner and sent the photograph above with the following comment:

'This airline has a wide range of historical figures represented on its aircraft, but this is one of the few that has a British figure, so it is satisfying that Jane has been chosen to be one of this select group. I wonder what she would have made of this - beyond even her wonderful imagination I would think!'

Norwegian Airline's website has more information.

Sanditon Snippet

Andrew Davies, as we could have guessed, promises 'quite a bit of nude bathing'in his upcoming tv adaptation of Sanditon. Given that he threatened us with a naked Mr Darcy back in the 1990s, his present nudges and winks should perhaps be taken with a large pinch of seasalt. Filming is due to begin next spring with only one named actor to date, Charlotte Rampling, who will presumably play Lady Denham. Whether Davies will follow Marie Dobbs' well-known completion of the novel beyond Jane Austen's twelve chapters (for some reason many internet sites specify only eleven) or resolve the plot to his own satisfaction, skinny dipping apart, is not yet known. Equally mysterious is the chosen location for the struggling seaside resort. Watch this space...

Pride and Passion: Jane Austen Novels the Brazilian Way

Sex and violence make it into Jane Austen's plotlines as the novelist gets the Brazilian soap treatment. (Full details from the above link.)

Austenistan launched at the Dorchester

Inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan, Austenistan is a collection of seven short stories, edited by Laaleen Sukhera, founder of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan (JASP). Published by Bloomsbury India in December 2017, the book was launched in the UK on 4 November 2018 at The Dorchester Hotel, Mayfair, courtesy of Developments in Literacy UK (DIL).

The occasion, filmed by the BBC, featured an opening speech by the author Rebecca Smith, writer in residence at Jane Austen's House Museum 2009-2010; readings from the Austen-inspired short story collection by two of the contributors, Laaleen Sukhera and Nida Elley, and insightful commentary on Pakistani women's writing and contemporary society by Faiza Sultan Khan of Bloomsbury Publishing, and Melissa van der Klugt, who wrote 'Meet the Lizzie Bennets of Lahore' in November 2017 for The Times.

From left to right: Georgina Godwin of the British Arts Council, Rebecca Smith, Laaleen Sukhera, Nida Elley, Faiza Sultan Khan, and Melissa van der Klugt.