The History of England by Jane Austen

You are going to love visiting the library— The British Library—online!

Jane Austen’s History of England is available and you can turn the pages!

When you click on the link for Jane Austen, you are offered choices for viewing, including, “I am using Microsoft Vista or have the .Net 3 plugin for Windows XP.”  I wasn’t sure I had the plugin for XP, but I checked it anyway, and it worked.

The page turning effect is charming, but it gets even better, if you use the tools on the screen.

“Listen” allows you to listen to a British lady reading page by page with appropriate expression. If you click “Read,” the text is displayed in a popup. Jane Austen had beautiful handwriting, but it is hard for our eyes to adjust to the style of letters used in the late 1700s, so the text helps.

Check out all of the tools.

I have been a fan of Jane Austen for a long time—long before my Quilted Diamonds books. I have been a fan for so long that I cannot watch the Colin Firth movie. (I assure you; it is the horridest nonsense you can imagine. 1) The 1980 BBC version with David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie is much, much better.

I bought my first copy of The History of England at Harrods on my first visit to Britain in 1978. I wanted to see Harrods, but the book department was the only one with prices I could afford. The little book was my souvenir.

Since then, a facsimile of the book has been added to my JA library. The illustrations were drawn by Cassandra, Jane Austen’s beloved sister, and there is speculation that several of them are actually portraits of members of the Austen family—not the monarchs. (JASNA, Persuasions)

You can trust Jane Austen. On the first page, she promises that there will be very few dates, and she is good for it. The only dates mentioned are “May 6” and one other, which you can find for yourself. It is a good joke by the sixteen year old Austen.

If you are familiar with Jane Austen’s History of England, you are in for a treat.

If you are not familiar with Jane Austen’s History of England, I envy you. This is an amazing way to read it for the first time.

Of course, you also need Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery whether or not you want to sew a replica of the famous quilt.  (There are photos of Chawton, Bath, Winchester, and Hampshire under the Jane Austen tab on my web site too.) To learn how to hand piece, see Jane Austen’s Writing Table Quilts (at a sale price).

Now get over to the British Library. It is worth it, even if you had “to walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above [your] ancles in dirt, and alone, quilte alone!”  2

What could be better than a little sewing while you listen?

Thank you for visiting me here.

Linda & Monkey

On a quilting blog? Are you surprised?

All the overpowering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her.” 3
1. Northanger Abbey, Ch. 7
2. Pride and Prejudice, Ch. 8
3. Persuasion, Ch. 19
4. Pride and Prejudice, Ch. 32
“When the door opened, and to her very great surprise Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, entered the room. He seemed astonished. . .” 4

4 thoughts on “The History of England by Jane Austen”

  1. What an excellent post about Jane Austen and I love the footnotes! Bravo for such thorough research in this age of waning journalism (I say this as a journalist). The first term paper I ever wrote in high school was on Pride & Prejudice and at the time I thought it was such nonsense; of course now, I love it. The movie version with Colin Firth is my fave (I abhor the one with Kiera Knightly – they all look like they need to eat a cheeseburger), so I’ll have to check out the version you recommend.

  2. Wow! I LOVE the way these books are presented! I feel like I am holding the real thing, turning the pages, and feeling the author come through. But this is really even better – you have a legible version too, and you an even have it read to you! WOW!!!

    Funny, I found I have always been able to write like Leonardo da Vinci – backwards with my left hand (mirror writing) – never saw anyone else do it before!

    Thanks for this one Linda!

  3. This is fantastic!!!! I have every book in many versions by Jane Austin but not her Journals so am asking what books other than her 6 are authentic? And, where would one find them to purchase. I have both the diamonds books by you and the Jane Austin Patchwork and letters book and CD by you but what else is there? I have been a jane Austin fan since i was a teenager which was so many years ago considering I am now 70. Please do let me know if you know where her Journals might be found. i am in the process of reading the on-line History of England and it is great as i just recently finished reading the books on the queens written by Phillipe Gregory and really enjoyed them too. Thanks,
    SandyB of SW Coastal OR


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