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William Elder Building

56-58 Castlegate

Berwick-upon-Tweed

TD15 1JT

United Kingdom

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In this talk, Dr. Richard Moore looks at the often scandalous and sensational realities of late Georgian and Regency life.

Jane Austen is often regarded as a rural miss living in a secluded part of Hampshire and knowing little of the wider world. She herself said that her work was like etching on a piece of ivory six inches wide. Yet one of her relations by marriage was guillotined in the French Revolution, throughout her life Britain was mainly at war, and her flirtation with the Irishman Tom Lefroy - who later became a noted lawyer and astronomer - created a considerable family drama. Jane also attended the theatre in London and was avid for the gossip about the stars, some of whom she actually incorporated in her early works.

Jane’s early work is in fact full of boisterous cruelty presented with surreal verve. It has something of the zest of the clever, naughty child found later in W.S. Gilbert’s Bab Ballads. In addition, her own lifetime included events such as the Robert Emmet rebellion, the scandalous and sometimes incestuous behaviour of the Lord Byron set, agonies of hand-wringing about the slave-trade, and continual scandal involving the Prince Regent and his coterie of dandies and hell-raisers. This was a world in which Beau Brummel could spend four hours getting dressed while riots over poverty and deprivation rocketed. It was a world in which a lady of fashion could be nicknamed Billingsgate because she swore as much as the Billingsgate fish-porters. It was a world in which the Prince Regent’s scandalous – if entertaining – wife could raise havoc while he himself staged (false) suicide attempts and once threatened to kill himself in a letter forty-two pages long.

In this session we shall examine Jane’s life and times, covering everything from social scandals to health issues to the 1812 assassination of the Prime Minister. Thereby we shall inspect the dark side of Jane Austen’s world which – despite its horrors - she so wittily and perceptively enjoyed.


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Date and Time

Location

William Elder Building

56-58 Castlegate

Berwick-upon-Tweed

TD15 1JT

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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