Vignettes is based on the many articles I’ve written over the years for Jane Austen’s Regency World, mostly mini-biographies of famous writers who either influenced Austen, or were contemporaries of hers. The authors chosen just happen to be my own personal favourites.
Vignettes begins with a brief introduction to Austen’s life and work.
The next chapter looks at women’s education at that date, with reference to how Austen’s contemporaries discussed it. Mary Wollstonecraft’s thoughts on daughters’ schooling, Priscilla Wakefield, Mrs Barbauld and others are included. I also discuss women’s magazines and how they helped to influence and educate young women at that time. The chapter concludes by looking at some contemporary critiques of the supposed pernicious effect of novel-reading.
The following chapter looks at the lives of Hogarth, Rudolph Ackermann, Johnson and Boswell.
The chapter after that discusses Jane’s contemporary rivals like Ann Radcliffe, Mary Brunton, Fanny Burney and Mme de Stael.
After a chapter on social ‘influencers’ like Parson Malthus, Thomas Bernard and Robert Owen, we move on to discussing the lives of Cowper and Thomson, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy and Mary Shelley, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, etc. Wherever possible, I have set each author in the context of Jane’s life and works by including quotes from her letters and novels.