Category Archives: Jane Austen

‘I Must Keep My Own Style and Go My Own Way’: The Tedettes Jane Austen Bookclub

The Tedettes are thrilled to find a letter written by their heroine in 1815. The letter is addressed to the personal librarian of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Fancy having a personal librarian!

The prince was the Regent. That means he was being the king even though he wasn’t. This can be baffling to a bear. You see, it’s all because the King himself, George III, was not allowed to do any actual king-ing. The Government (yes, there was one, even though they had a king – It gets more baffling than ever) did not think George was quite up to the job of king-ing properly. So they made the Prince do the king-ing instead. But he was not allowed to call himself ‘King’. It was all a bit of a muddle.

BearsreadBooksAusten4 small 2084

The Prince who was not Really The King was known as the ‘Prince of Pleasure’. He was terrible at the king-ing job, as it turned out. So the Government ignored him as much as possible and got on with the actual king-ing themselves, while the Prince devoted himself to Pleasure.

But we don’t need to know this. The only really important thing about this Prince that he liked Jane Austen’s books. As a mark of his regard he invited her to inspect his London residence, Carlton House. The Prince happening to be devoting himself to pleasure somewhere else that day, so, Miss Austen was shown about by Mr Clarke, the personal librarian. Mr Clarke conveyed to Miss Austen the Royal Desire that she dedicate her next novel, which was going to be Emma, to his Princely Regent-ness.  

Miss Austen did not want to do it. But, mindful of the proprieties, she did so.

Some time later the Regent, through Mr Clark, also suggested she write “an historical romance, illustrative of the august house of Coburg” to come out in time for the marriage of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coberg to the Prince’s daughter, Charlotte.

Many writers of the day would be delighted at this Royal Invitation and have slogged away at writing a novel ‘Illustrative of the august house etc’. But not Miss Austen. She sent this devastatingly polite reply.

To the highest man in the Kingdom, she says, “No”.

“No, I must keep to my own style and go my own way”.

This text shown above is from a book called Great Letters of History.  And you can learn a lot about the Regent from The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency, by JB Priestly.

A word of caution bears. Its baffling but if you search on the Inter-Webs for the words ‘Prince of Pleasure’ you will find lots of books covers where the gentlemen seem to have …umm .. mislaid their shirts. And sometimes the gentlemen are entangled in ladies who have also mislaid bonnets and things. Just so you know

AbeBooks. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

You are in the web den of Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things (between naps) and Writer-Bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In .

“Just pure magic.  A bear’s love is never far away and can be shared and passed on through generations.” Susan Hampson, of Books From Dawn To Dusk.

The Tedette’s Jane Austen Book Club gets their paws on Jane’s History of England

The Tedettes are fascinated by Jane Austen’s History of England, written when she was 16 years old.

Cassandra Austen illustrated the pages. People entertained themselves this way, bears, back in the Olden Days. They wrote their own light entertainment and draw and painted and read books aloud and (amazing) they talked to each otherThere were no Bright-Box-Things to stare at!  So Jane and Cassandra had a little fun writing their own version of the Kings and Queens of England.

Bearsreadbooksausten 4 small

Jane and Cassandra had strong favourites among the kings and queens. They were very stern about those they disliked. If Cassandra didn’t like a monarch she drew them looking very cross.

Bearsreadbooksausten 5 small

The Tedettes’ own copy here is a facsimile version brought out by Folio Books. You can see young Miss Austen’s own handwriting!  (A book perhaps more easy for you to find, if you want to see it yourself, contains this History and other writings of the young Jane Austen, and is called “Sanditon, Lady Susan, & The History of England : The Juvenilia and Shorter Works of Jane Austen“.

AbeBooks. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

You are in the web den of Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things (between naps) and Writer-Bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In .

“Just pure magic.  A bear’s love is never far away and can be shared and passed on through generations.” Susan Hampson, of Books From Dawn To Dusk.