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Jane Austen – Reading at Home

Posted on: 18/07/2017 with tags: English History, 19th Century

Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home follows the author throughout her life’s households. Below is an extract from the book detailing the Austen family’s fondness for reading aloud in the Rectory.   Her brother Henry described Jane’s novels, with their many drafts, as ‘gradual performances’. And Pride and Prejudice was written for a more literal type of ‘performance’, too: as entertainment for the family circle. This novel – indeed, all Jane’s novels, with their extended and theatrical dialog…

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Going to the Ball with Jane Austen

Posted on: 18/07/2017 with tags: English History, 19th Century

Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home follows the author throughout her life’s households. Below is an extract from the book detailing the preparation entailed in attending a ball.   The excitement of the evening began with dressing, the moment when ‘the first Bliss of a Ball began’. As Jane would put it in The Watsons, female camaraderie was important for getting up one’s courage. This was the time when strange girls, thrown upon each other’s company by the vagaries of family friendship or sh…

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Hamilton: when historical truth is more interesting than musical fiction

Posted on: 11/10/2016 with tags: American Revolution, author blog, Elizabeth Cobbs, Hamilton, historical fiction, historical novel, American Revolution, Georgian

Elizabeth  Cobbs, author of The Hamilton Affair reveals that, whilst the hit musical Hamilton may tell a good tale, the marital histories of the real-life Schuyler sisters were even more intriguing. In the brilliant new musical Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler shocks viewers by admitting that her sexy brother-in-law’s fiery intellect—and tight military uniform—set her “e’vry part aflame.” But duty calls. When she and her sister Eliza meet the penniless West Indian upstart, Angelica shrewdly, if reluc…

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Ed O’Loughlin on why the historical novel has more fun

Posted on: 09/09/2016 with tags: 18th century, Arctic Canada, Canada, Ed O'Loughlin, historical fiction, Minds of Winter, Modern history, Polar Exploration

Historical novels are a cheap form of tourism: the past is another country, they do things more exotically there. We don’t really know what it felt like to live in Victorian London, any more than we understand the lives of the poor of Peru or Cambodia, but we can drop in for a while and be charmed by the quaintness, titillated by the strife and the poverty, then return to the dull here and now. Historical novels are an escapist resort for people who are dismayed by the dreariness of contemporary…

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