Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The History of England by Jane Austen

The History of England by Jane Austen

Jane Austen wrote her History of England in 1791 at the age of 15. Comprising of just 34 pages accompanied by 13 watercolor miniatures of English monarchs that were painted by her sister, Cassandra, History of England is a fascinating piece of early literature. Being a piece of juvenilia it was wrote mainly as entertainment for her family circle when they gathered in the parlor of her father’s rectory.

A work of witty satire, this History offers more parody than actual history and draws attention to the way a girl of her age would have felt about their education. Filled with mocking satire, devoid of actual dates and vital information, Miss Austen’s portrayal of the monarchs was more for sheer amusement rather than educational purposes.

The History of England showcases Miss Austen’s wildly vivid imagination, as well as her ability to produce social comedies.

A few years after writing The History of England, Jane Austen compiled this composition as well as 28 other pieces of her juvenilia into three notebooks, which she entitled “Volume the First”, “Volume the Second”, and “Volume the Third”. It is in “Volume the Second” that The History of England is contained, and upon Miss Austen’s death, this volume passed to Cassandra. Upon Cassandra’s death in 1845 “Volume the Second” passed to Francis Austen, and remained in her family until 1977 when it was sold to the British Library.

In 1922, the granddaughter of Francis Austen and owner of “Volume the Second” allowed Chatto and Windus to publish the entire notebook under the name Love and Friendship. Since its first publication in 1922, The History of England continues to be published.

In addition, the British Library has recently uploaded the original “The History of England” on-line for readers to enjoy. If you would like to view the original, you can do so here.


The History England opens with the following:

The History of England
from the reign of
Henry the 4th
to the death of
Charles the 1st.

By a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian.

To Miss Austen eldest daughter of the Revd George
Austen, this book is inscribed with all due respect by
The Author

N.B. There will be very few Dates in this History.

The copy that I possess is a newer edition published in 2006 by Icon Books Ltd… It contains a forward by David Starkey as well as an excerpt of Charles Dickens’ A Child’s History of England. I do like this version, although I wished that it would have contained the miniatures that Cassandra painted. Other than that, this version remains true to the original manuscript. It offers a witty account of the monarchs through the eyes of a 15 year old. I liked the little quips and conclusions that Miss Austen makes throughout the book. She deems that Richard III was a respectable man because he was a York. Henry VIII’s only merit was that he was not quite so bad as his daughter Elizabeth. Also, that it was her (Jane’s) Duty to declare that this amiable woman, Anna Bullen (Anne Boleyn), was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs…

This is a book that all Janites should take a look at. I found it highly amusing I hope you do as well.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Robert Burns once wrote, "The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men gang aft aglee", or as we would say it “The best laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry.” I have to say that statement seems to be holding true when it came it getting this site up and running.

A few of the technical problems are still playing up, such as some of the pages are refusing to display what is on them, although I have decided to go ahead and start the blog up! Fingers crossed the whole site will be up and running within the next few days!

Ok first things first, we have winners for our first contest!

The first prize winner of The Addicted to Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice Survival kit is TRACEY RHOADES.

The second place winner who will be receiving a copy of The Trouble With Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan is SUSIEBOOKWORM.

I will be emailing you both shortly.

I would like to thank everyone who entered. If you did not win please try again next time. Also I would like to thank everyone for the lovely comments about the blog!

All winners are chosen at random by Random Number Generator.

Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite Jane Austen novel.

Tomorrow we will be taking a look at Jane Austen’s The History of England!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Unfortunately, there have been a few technical problems with getting this site up and running so please bear with me as I work out the glitches. Rather than starting on the 1st as I had planned Addicted to Jane Austen will go live on the 9th of May. I apologize for the delay although I want to ensure that this site is operating at its best for the reader. In the mean time please take this extra week to tell your friends about the site and please enjoy this giveaway!

As a thank you for bearing with me, I am posting a giveaway for an Addicted to Jane Austen Survival kit as. I will also be holding a 2nd prize winner who will receive The Trouble With Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan.

The Addicted to Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice Survival kit includes:

1 Copy of Pride & Prejudice
1 Copy of Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell
1 Copy of Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
1 Copy of Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange
1 Copy of The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

Also included in this survival pack is a selection of Twining’s Tea

1 box of Lady Grey
1 box of Earl Grey
1 box of English Afternoon


To enter please leave your name and a valid email address. Contest is international! And ends May 9th. I will contact the winners on the 10th.