Jane Austen’s Feelings in April — 34 Comments

  1. I must confess that I had not thought about April in Jane Austen’s novels. Thank you for this research as it has been very interesting.

  2. Thank you for this interesting post. I had not thought of April as a time of energetic activity, probably due to April usually being a bit on the snowy or rainy side here.
    Thanks again!

    • I’m only speculating, Laura – but it would seem likely that after the cold weather, ice and frost of winter (as seen in Emma), people probably were more willing to venture out on trips when the weather started growing milder, in April. Even if it wasn’t as sunny and warm as June yet, it was less cold. On the other hand, April could be rainy and muddy! Thanks for your thoughts…

  3. Thank you for the lovely April study. I can only imagine that after being cooped up all winter indoors that April & spring weather brings such activity. It is interesting to see how things don’t really change.

  4. I wonder how many of the letters that Cassandra destroyed were written in April? As for the ‘balsamic Northeast’, I think of vinegar…but it could very well be balmy as it is more what we use today!

  5. That was a lot of thoughtful research. I’ve never known that April could be so significant for Jane Austen. Thank you for sharing your research for us.

  6. April is my favorite month, and it’s also the month of my birthday! Thank you for the interesting article!

  7. Very stimulating – the point of view and method could yield accurate thought about Austen’s texts.

    Austen keeps so close to the calendar in her novels and keeps us aligned with time so carefully that yes one could delve what she presents in a given month, but then which months? does she have equivalent sets of observations about other months so that (say) if we googled and looked for comments on say November (I have an idea November is a month she comments upon — as autumnal, gloomy, melancholy, leafless or with dead leaves about). Here passages from Persuasion might mount up and Sense and Sensibility. Here is a perspective that could yield yet more about the tone and qualities of the different novels.

    Alas the ruthless destruction of Austen’s letters (so few survive and hardly any not to Cassandra) leaves us with perhaps unrepresentative fragments. That we can see that is interesting. People often say oh it doesn’t matter that so much was destroyed because what is left is representative. Well looking at the letters from the point of view of the months mentioned, it appears not so.

    The seasons was a popular topic in 18th century art: it rips us away from a God-shaped world into a secular natural environment and you bring home to us how we can fit Austen’s novels in with Thomson’s Seasons or Vivaldi.

    Her attitude towards April is not surprising but it is intense at moments. She really feels a lift of spirits for real (this is not cant or cliched language) and uses language sincerely. It is particularly richly felt on behalf of Fanny Price. Emma is a semi-spoilt woman. You’d think Elizabeth would rejoice in April but she is a more grave character than people realize (why I liked the film Death comes to Pemberley as Anna Maxwell Martin was led to catch that).

    • Hi Ellen, I knew you’d have some interesting thoughts on this subject! Good reminder of the 18th century theme of seasons and JA feeling the lift of spirits. Thanks for looking in.

  8. Fascinating! If April is one of the busiest of months and marks important beginnings and endings, what is Austen’s favourite month, or the one most often mentioned? Great topic!

  9. I am impressed by all the data you researched and shared. Thanks. I always had it in my mind that the visit to Rosings was at Easter time. But I don’t pay a lot of attention to remembering dates mentioned. I do not the weather and how it keeps Elizabeth from walking, etc. So to note all of this is interesting. Poignant to read of its significance to her own life.

    • You’re right, the visit to Rosings does take place at Easter. If P&P is set in 1811, Easter Sunday took place on April 14, so there you are! I was quite surprised to find April’s significance in Jane Austen’s own life – christening and will. Makes chills, doesn’t it?

  10. Wow! I had not realized how the month of April was so instrumental in Jane’s life as well as her works. Very interesting! As an April baby, I heartily concur that it is a beautiful month!

    • Oh, yes, Jennifer, flowers and budding trees are really springing to life in the midwest now, aren’t they! I’m in California, where there ARE seasons of a sort, hard to notice, but the purple jacaranda trees are just poised to burst into their gorgeous but messy bloom right now! Cheers!

  11. Very interesting piece, Diana, thank you. I’m currently reading a book containing a selection of Jane Austen’s surviving letters and fascinating reading it is, too.

    I wish the weather would become more typically April and spring-like here in Yorkshire. It looks great through a window but the wind is still soooo cold.

    • That’s the thing about Jane Austen’s letters, Anji…best perused a bit at a time, you notice more that way. I could use a bit of Yorkshire coolness, we’re having a spring heat wave in Los Angeles where I live. But I’m coming to England in May. My play about Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte is being put on as part of the Bronte Centennial conference at Chawton House Library, and I’m super excited! Wish I could get to Yorkshire this trip – I love it. I have visited Haworth in the past. Take care and thanks for commenting!

  12. Pingback: Le sensazioni di Jane Austen in aprile - Jane Austen Society of Italy (JASIT)

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