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Posts Tagged ‘literary research’

Literary mysteries abound.  I came across this article this morning about the disputed portrait of Jane Austen as a 13-year-old girl. The painting is supposed to have been painted by Ozais Humphry when Jane was visiting relatives in 1789. However,at some point in the 1940’s experts deemed this could not be Jane because the style of dress suggested it was painted after 1800. However, some new technology has revealed not only the name of the painter, Ozias Humphry and the date, 1789, but also the name of the subject … JANE AUSTEN! I am awash in literary mysteries these days and I am loving it!

So, how to explain the style of dress? In 1789, grown women were dressing like this:

But, how were children attired? Yes, children were usually dressed as mini adults, but I did a little research using Marie Antoinette’s,  daughter, Marie Therese, who was just a couple of years younger than Jane (born in 1778 to Jane’s 1775) and here is what I came up with:

I am beginning to wonder if maybe this IS Jane. What a lovely little face. I also think there is a resemblance between the face in the portrait and this face:

 Look at the eyebrows! The tip of the nose! Remember, the sketch was made by an amateur, Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister.

I am beginning to think this might be Jane after all! What a wonderful revelation.

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cowan-bridge

A new online, digital archive of original manuscripts will soon be available for viewing. The scribblings, crossouts and letters of many literary giants from Charlotte Bronte to Oscar Wilde wil be accesssible to all the scholars and novices (like me) who would die to see source material we would never previously have had a chance of seeing. The collection includes”handwritten versions of Blake’s The Four Zoas, Emily Brontë’s Gondal poems, and complete drafts of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.”

Also available the “heartbreaking correspondence by Charlotte Brontë as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her sister, Emily, and the poor health of her younger sister, Anne.”

And Emily’s Gondal poems – thrilling.

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