December 16 is here and it is a very special day.... Can anyone guess? It is Miss Jane Austen's birthday! Her 237th, I believe. And, may I humbly add, my own. Today I shall be, as Jane Austen would say, six and ten. (Isn't it funny how they say five and twenty instead of 25?)
So I wish dear Miss Austen many happy returns of the day and without further ado, I am here to share some fun facts about the acclaimed authoress that even some of my fellow Janeites might not know... I hope they prove to be interesting!
- In 1894 George Saintsbury coined the term "Janeite" to describe Austen fans. The term didn't become widely popular though until 1924 when Rudyard Kipling used the word in one of his short stories.
- Under "Manners for Men" which hero do you think fit the bill? Mr Knightley! It says that "The perfect example of a gentleman in Austen's novels is Mr Knightley in Emma. Mr Knightley always acts correctly, as we see when he behaves with condescension towards the poor Mrs and Miss Bates, when he walks and dances so well at the Crown Inn ball and because he also acts as a standard of moral good for Emma."
- During WWI British soldiers suffering from shell shock were advised to read Austen's novels. The hope was that the comforting images of idyllic English society would help speed up their recovery.
- In many television adaptations of Persuasion we see Captain Wentworth, acting for Admiral Croft, asking Anne if she is engaged to Mr Elliot , and whether the Crofts should leave Kellynch. Many readers of Persuasion may assume this scene is inserted by the film company, but this scene was in fact Austen's original ending to the novel.
- The mother and daughter team of Mrs and Miss Bates is played by real life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson, the mother and sister of Emma Thompson.
I didn't know several of those little pocket facts and I found them of note. I got these facts from The Jane Austen Pocket Bible- everything you need to know about Jane and her novels by Holly Ivins.
I have had a very Austen birthday, receiving the beautiful Pride & Prejudice 2005 soundtrack and tickets to see Pride & Prejudice at a theater near me in March. I also received some yummy Downton Abbey tea and I LOVE it!
I also watched the newest installment of Emma Approved today on YouTube. At first I wasn't sure I'd like it, and it is nothing like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I like it now. And I love snarky Knightley. I just don't think you can go wrong with a Knightley, period.
What is your favorite Austen book (if you can choose)? Who would be your swoon worthy hero?
As Austen said to her sister Cassandra, "Adieu, sweet you"
P.S. I found a free font of Jane Austen's handwriting so I decided to write a little bit... Jane and I share a birthday, respectively, the sixteenth of December.
I believe we are what Anne would call “kindred spirits” and what Miss Cornelia would call “the race that knows Joseph.”