Jane Austen on Henry V


When she was fifteen Jane Austen wrote a satirical history of England.  Here is her passage on Henry V and his son:

Henry the 5th 

This Prince after he succeeded to the throne grew quite reformed and amiable, forsaking all his dissipated Companions, & never thrashing Sir William again. During his reign, Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for. His Majesty then turned his thoughts to France, where he went & fought the famous Battle of Agincourt. He afterwards married the King’s daughter Catherine, a very agreeable Woman by Shakespear’s account. Inspite of all this however, he died, and was succeeded by his son Henry.

Henry the 6th

I cannot say much for this Monarch’s sense. Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him & the Duke of York who was of the right side; if you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my Spleen against, & shew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, & not to give information. This King married Margaret of Anjou, a Woman whose distresses & misfortunes were so great as almost to make me who hate her, pity her. It was in this reign that Joan of Arc lived & made such a row among the English. They should not have burnt her – but they did.  (more…)

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Jane Austen on Henry V  
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January 28, 1813: Pride and Prejudice Published

Two centuries today since the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  I confess that I have generally found Jane Austen to be a snore fest unless her text is enlivened, if that is the proper word when Zombies are involved, as in the above video.  Austen’s books began to be published in America in 1832, although they made little impact with the general public until the latter part of the Nineteenth Century when the novelist William Dean Howells wrote several essays celebrating Austen as an author.

One of her most biting critics was Mark Twain.  A sample of his Austen tirades:

Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book.

I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone. (more…)

Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (34)  
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Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Jane Austen’s novels were popular in nineteenth century America.  Imagine how much more popular they would have been if the truly exciting portions hadn’t been excised!

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters  
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Jane Austen’s Fight Club

English novels were all the rage in America during the time period covered by this blog.  I have always found them a bit dull myself.  However, based upon this video, I must have missed some interesting items when I couldn’t keep awake reading Sense and Sensiblity!

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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