Welcome back to Chawton House Library Conversations: June Podcast. First launched on Sunday 8 March 2015 while celebrating International Women’s Day, our monthly podcast is a round up of news, events and highlights, helping you stay connected with Chawton House Library wherever you are.
This month we hear about the latest development occurring at Chawton House Library. While we mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death, we are also looking to the future. Now is the time to decide how best to stay open for the next 200 years! Our Director of Fundraising Jane Lillystone tells us about the new appeal being launched here, titled ‘Reimagining Jane’s Great House’. The appeal is asking supporters to help raise funds to ‘see us through to the next chapter’. Our goal is to fully celebrate Jane Austen’s heritage by creating a literary destination in the village of Chawton. This huge capital project will ultimately allow visitors to truly feel as though they are ‘walking in Jane Austen’s footsteps’. To find out more about this project and how you can support it, click here.
Director Gillian Dow tells us about the exhibition on Germaine de Staël and Jane Austen, titled ‘Fickle Fortunes’. Gillian explains why she felt this year in particular was a significant and poignant time to celebrate both of these writers. Staël and Austen have much in common, yet their fame has hugely waxed and waned since their death 200 years ago. During the Regency period everyone in Europe knew Germaine de Staël, including Jane Austen. In fact, Austen read Staël’s second work Corinna and recommended it to a friend! There are plenty of treasures to see, including several first editions, and a never before displayed letter written by Jane Austen. The exhibition is open to visitors until 24 September and access is included in the price of admission.
We also meet the latest Visiting Fellows, the first of whom we speak to is Professor Betty Schellenberg (BARS Fellowship). Betty gave a talk in May on literary coteries and explains what these are. Our Jane Austen Society of Japan Fellowship holder is Tomoko Nakagawa and she tells us about her work on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. She compares Frankenstein with the representation of female anger in the eighteenth century. Finally we talk to Ann Huse, who is working pamphlets proposing girls schools in the seventeenth century. These schools were relatively rare and generally attended by the daughters of dissenters. Click to find out more!
Look as you listen: