Sue Wilkes – A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England – Guest Post and Giveaway. — 75 Comments

  1. Thank you for this informative post, Sue! I found the information about the expected readership of the different magazines/journals very useful, though I would have thought Mme de Stael quite controversial.
    Somehow I wouldn’t have imagined Fanny Price reading Quarterly Reviews, especially now that you describe it. Do you think Jane Austen used it deliberately to show that Fanny’s sympathies were Tory?

    • Dear Monica, I think you are very probably right – Jane Austen was trying to show that Fanny Price’s instincts are very firmly Tory/Conservative. Throughout Mansfield Park, Fanny’s thoughts, morals and values reflect everything that Mansfield Park stands for – while Julia and Maria’ lose their way.
      The Quarterly Review printed very lengthy book reviews (with copious quotes), so that may well be why it was of interest to Jane (and Fanny). Madame de Stael ( was quite a controversial writer, and JA is said to have turned down an opportunity to meet her.

  2. This sounds like an interesting read, full,of all those fascinating facts from the era that are never mentioned in Jane Austen’s books.
    My favourite quote is from my favourite JA novel and whenever I hear it I immediately can picture Elizabeth Bennett and her family. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

  3. This was really fascinating, Sue. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that EMMA had been reviewed in the Gentleman’s Magazine! Thanks for sharing this segment from your book and congrats on the release 🙂 .

    • Thank you, Marilyn! Austen’s work was also reviewed by magazines called the British Critic and the Critical Review – and Sir Walter Scott reviewed Emma in the Quarter Review in 1816.

  4. Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are my two favorite books be Jane Austen.

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged , that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” love this quote from Pride and Prejudice. It can still be used today.

    In Persuasion, the passage when Captain Harville and Anne Elliot are arguing over which sex loves the best. Anne says,” We certainly do not forget you, so soon as you forget us.” Captain Harville answers her, “. . . I will not allow it to be more man’s nature than women’s nature to be inconstant and to forget those they do love, or have loved. . . . Our bodies are strongest, so are our feelings; . . .”

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this exciting new book, and giveaway makes it even more tantalizing!
    How can we have just ONE favourite quote?
    My favourite romantic line is from Emma:’ He stopped … to look the question, and the expression of his eyes overpowered her.” I love that whole passage of Knighltey’s proposal, but that line always stood out for me..
    However I also love Mary Musgrove’s claim in Persuasion about her sore throats: “I am sorry to say that I am very far from well; and Jemima has just told me that the butcher says there is a bad sore throat very much about. I dare say I shall catch it; and my sore throats, you know, are always worse than anybody’s.”
    The line I quote most is from P&P:” For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”

  6. I’m really into reading about the life people lived in Jane Austen’s time (currently reading one biography with another waiting), especially the health and medicine of the time. This particularly intrigues me as I’m a pharmacist by profession. So, how would they have treated toothache? Did they have clove oil? Possibly an extract of willow bark (aspirin related) or would they have resorted to what seems to have been the panacea of the times, laudanum? I shudder when I think of healthcare in those days!

    Now, as to a favourite quote. How can I limit myself to one? There’s so many quotable lines in Austen’s works, so here’s a few of mine.

    Mansfield Park is probably my least favourite but I do like this one from Fanny: “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

    So many from P&P but I really relate to this one from Elizabeth: “You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” Although I don’t forget the tough times in the past, and there’s been some REALLY tough times in our family history, I try not to dwell on them too much and instead think of the people involved together with the good times we all had.

    Like many folk, Persuasion comes a very close second to P&P for me, and Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne tugs at my heartstrings every time I read it, especially “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.”

    I could go on for hours!

  7. Hi Anji,
    I’ve included some remedies for toothache in my Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England – and yes, they would certainly have used laudanum to ease the pain. I have seen clove oil mentioned in a pharmocopeia of the late 1820s (there are some on Google Books).
    I love your Captain Wentworth quote! It is going to be very difficult to pick a winner!

  8. My favorite quote (appart from those already told above) is from Sense and Sensibility : “It is not what we say or feel that makes us what we are, it is what we do. Or fail to do.”
    I also like this one from a letter to Fanny Knight : “Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection”. Does it not summarise Jane’s whole life?
    I could also read this one time and again : “You pierce my soul, I am half agony, half hope”.
    For the fun, this quote from the Bride and Brejudice movie is brilliant : “Marry first, love grows!” – Mrs Bennet.

    • Hi Rosa, I always think that there is a secret story behind the ‘marrying without affection’ letter to Fanny Knight – but we will never know, unless an unknown stash of Jane Austen’s letters is found someday.
      I loved the ‘Bollywood’ version of Pride & Prejudice – I thought it was actually far truer to the original spirit of the book than some other adaptations for the big screen.

  9. This looks like a great read! I, too, enjoy reading about what it was really like during that time period.

    Here are a few of my favorite quotes..

    From P & P, after Lizzy had read Darcy’s letter, “Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself.”

    And then the quote to Wickham, “In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was.”

    Finally, I can’t exclude this quote from Emma at the ball after Mr. Knightley had rescued Harriet from Elton’s snobbery. “Whom are you going to dance with?” asked Mr. Knightley. “With you if you will ask me.” “Will you?”, said he, offering his hand. Indeed I will. You have shown that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.” “Brother and sister! no indeed!” (I must admit I have watched and rewatched that portion from the Romola / Jonny adaptation many times. It just makes me smile.)

  10. This book sounds intriguing. I love history as well as historical fiction and thoroughly enjoy history that revolves around fictional writings. I find it wonderful that Sir Walter Scott reviewed Jane’s book Emma. I enjoyed his book Ivanhoe.

    I have a number of favorite quotes, some of which are already quoted, so…..from Persuasion Anne says, “All the priveledge I can claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.”. And Wentworth’s entire letter of course, but will quote, “Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his live has an earlier death. I have loved none but you….For you alone I think and plan.”

    My 2 favorite P&P quotes are, “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ; and, “A man who had felt less, might.” (have said more).

    Thank you for a look inside your book and your generous givecaway.

  11. There are so many that it is hard to say which would be my favorite! However, when Mr. Knightly says “that was badly done Emma, badly done” I feel it cut right through her and see her realization that she is not without faults. Your book sounds delightful and I look forward to it!

  12. “My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” From Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

  13. Congratulations on the newest release of your book, Sue. Thanks for giving us a tidbit of what the book is about and offering a giveaway. One of my favourite quote is by Elizabeth Bennet where she says ‘Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.’

  14. My favorite quote of Miss Austen is from P&P. I try to remember it whenever I get faced with difficult situation.

    “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do”. Thanks for reminding us of all the great quotes hidden in Jane’s books!

  15. Oh, my, your book sounds like a delightful read! Every Regency young lady must read in order to capture a husband. I am sure that Mrs. Bennett will take delight in your advice; however, Elizabeth will have to read it to her! Thank you for the giveaway.

    Truly, my favorite quote is from P&P. Although Darcy is explaining to Elizabeth when his love for her began, I often find myself immersed in something before I realize that I am.

    “I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 60)

  16. This quote has been mentioned a few times already, but it is my favorite as well: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

  17. This book sounds amazing! So many favorite quotes to choose from but I will narrow it down to two. First my favorite (admittedly due to JLM’s delivery of the line) ” If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” (Emma) And how I am feeling today..” What are men to rocks and mountains?” (Lizzy in P&P)

  18. “I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”
    I know it’s from P&P, but whenever I read that line, I tear up. I’m so happy for her.

  19. Dear all,
    Please bear with me if my comments appear in the wrong box – something very odd keeps happening when my browser tries to load the page – so thank you to everyone for taking the time to leave a comment! It’s very much appreciated!

  20. I like the opening line for P&P – sets the premise for the book. Don’t need to be in the drawing – already have purchased this book – plus the Beau Brummell vol 1 mentioned in the kindle sample. Good reading to all!

  21. This book can only add to the reading of Jane Austen’s novels! I love this time period but I would miss the lack of modern day conveniences! Bedbugs indeed!

    Others have selected many of my favourite quotes, but the image of the Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennet voicing this one always has me quoting it along with her when I watch the 1995 version of P&P!

    “Tell him what a dreadful state I am in – that I am frightened out of my wits; and have such tremblings, such flutterings, all over me, such spasms in my side, and pains in my head, and such beatings at heart, that I can get no rest by night or by day.”

    I sometimes wonder who Jane was referencing in real life that she based this on!!!

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  22. I agree with Dave – that quote is a classic. This book looks very interesting for those of us who do not live in England. I enjoyed everyone’s favorite quotes: so many of them run through my head with the movie scene from various movie versions. Carole – I think the lack of modern medicine would be my greatest fear about living in that period, but the personal hygiene would make me very uncomfortable. But if you didn’t know any different, if it was part of your daily life from birth, I guess it was not something you really thought about. Hard to imagine but must have been true.

  23. I am sure the book is interesting for those who live there too…but we here in the USA don’t even get to visit the modern sites of her world unless we can afford to travel.

    • I agree 100% that hygiene and lack of antibiotics would be a challenge, Sheila. However, I am particularly drawn by the abundance of manners and the importance of acting like a lady or a gentleman. I think that is what draws me to the genteel south of the U.S. well, that and NASCAR. (Chuckle!)

      • Yes, Joy, the rules of society had certain manners demanded of ladies and gentlemen which we do not often see today. But I am happy to report that I still find some men who hold doors or yield the way for me and I am always verbally thankful with a “Thank you, sir.” And many times they are young men so I am not despairing of the younger generation. But thank you for the reminder.

        I would not like the rule that you could not dance with any other man if you said “no” to one. And I like to correspond with male and female friends, although the female outweigh the male. My father was adamant that we could not take phone calls from males when I was a teen and that was in the day of the “party” lines so you were very careful what you said as someone could be listening in.

        • Pocono Raceway is not too far from where I live. We used to have Nazareth Speedway but it closed about 10 years ago (Mario Andretti and his family live in Nazareth – about a 20 minute ride from here.) Ya’ll come for a visit.

          My mother is from Meridian MS and I have family all over the south, still. We visited regularly while I was a youngster – all the Civil War battlefields, too.

          • I was deeply in love with Mario Andretti until I outgrew him before I entered my teens. So much for my first crush!

            You are an extraordinary woman, Sheila. I’m just saying.

            I do believe that there are a few of us that should get together and cross the pond for some sightseeing and immersion into Jane Austen’s history. Chawton, Westminster, Bath, and flush toilets. What’s not to love?

            • Would love to visit all the sites “over there”. But don’t know that it will happen. Nice to read blogs, etc. and even see photos others have posted.

  24. The book sounds very interesting! Regency-era life is still such a mystery that it’s great to find out all these unusual details. I agree to being squeamish about the hygiene stuff!

    A couple of my favorite quotes from P&P are from Mr. Bennet. He really exerted himself with his trademark humor by telling Elizabeth, “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”

  25. I already have Sue’s book on my Wishlist (so maybe I I could get my wish granted for Christmas).

    It is so difficult to decide on a favourite Austen quote, but after some thought I will choose one that first struck my attention many, many years ago when I read my first Austen novel, it is part of Anne’s conversation with Captain Harville, but usually left aside because of so other love quotes from that Persuasion chapter, but I think it may represent Jane Austen’s opinion regarding the inequality among sexes during her time, it is prompted by Captain Harville’s allegation about female fickleness depicted in literature, to what Anne replies:

    “if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”

  26. Northanger Abbey is one of my fav! I Love Henry
    “I assure you. I have no notion of treating men with such respect. That is the way to spoil them.”
    “He understands muslin”
    Persuasion was my first JA book!
    “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.”

  27. What a great task you have assigned us in asking for our favorite quotes, Sue. For me, it depends on the day and the circumstance. I would have to pick the whole of Wentworth’s letter in Persuasion. It is the complete package, isn’t it?

    Books were such an integral part of Darcy and Elizabeth discovering each other’s character that I couldn’t fail to appreciate the information you posted above. Thank you for sharing your research.

    Please do not enter me as I sincerely doubt I can wait until the drawing to purchase this. It sounds delightful.

    • Sue, I was pretty confident that I could not wait and proved myself accurate. One of these days I’m planning to wait until the drawing for the giveaway is done and maybe save some money. Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? I HAVE NO PATIENCE!!! But, I’m working on it. – Joy (it’s that trigger finger on the “buy with one click” button that’s at fault, I’m sure.)

  28. It sounds like a great read. My favorite Austen is Persuasion.

    One of the best quotes, “My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’

  29. Dear Kristine, I would have loved to have had a chat with Jane Austen – I imagine that she would have been ‘good company’ (once she had got over any shyness she felt with a stranger).
    Thanks for your quote!

  30. It must be Catherine Morland’s response to the gentleman who asks of her,

    “And what are you reading, Miss—?”

    Her reply reminds us why we value Jane Austen so highly, why we will read Sue’s book with such joy and why we are reading this blog now. It is my favourite quote from all that she wrote:

    “Oh! it is only a novel!” replies the young lady…in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.

  31. Excellent and interesting !

    My favorite parts of books involve the inner thoughts of characters, because they are so true and unguarded. When Elizabeth first sees Pemberley and thinks to herself “that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” is one of my favorites. And strangely enough I had no problem finding this quote …. I had been rereading Pride and Prejudice a few weeks back, but put it aside to read some P&P variations and continuations … and the exact spot where I stopped reading was where Elizabeth is on her way to see Pemberley with her aunt and uncle !

    I cannot wait to read A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England and get a look at all those daily ways of life in Jane Austen’s time 🙂

  32. Thanks for the very informative post, Sue, and especially for writing in such detail about the era! I’m looking forward to read ‘A Visitor’s Guide…’ and add it to my collection of reference books.

    I think my favourite quote must be : “…and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.” (although I do wish she elaborated 🙂 )

    Thanks for the giveaway and congratulations for your new release.

  33. I don’t know if this is my actual *favourite* but I do like it:

    “If I were as rich as Mr Darcy,” cried a young Lucas who came with his sisters, “I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds and drink a bottle of wine every day.”
    “Then you would drink a good deal more than you ought,” said Mrs Bennet, “and if I were to see you at it I should take away your bottle directly.”
    The boy protested that she should not; she continued to declare that she would, and the argument ended only with the visit.

  34. Congratulations on your new book, Sue, and thank you for this wonderful post. I am always fascinated to hear what daily Regency life was actually like – – bedbugs? men in corsets? – – versus the sometimes romanticized versions on film.

    It’s been said quite a few times already but I will always be partial to “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” It is one of the best beginnings of a book ever put to paper and its witty nature gives you a hint of what’s coming in P&P.

    As P&P is my favorite Austen novel and I love to read, this particular quote speaks to me as well: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

    Thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity!

  35. I’m very excited to read this book to absorb more Regency lifestyle information for both my personal enjoyment and my knowledge for all my editing of P&P variations. I’d certainly like to win a copy.

    Thank you very much.

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