Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chawton House Library

With all the excitement around the current crop of Jane Austen adaptations, this seems like a good occasion to visit Chawton House Library, which is set in the home and working estate of Jane Austen's brother Edward Austen Knight. Chawton House Library is a wonderful resource for Regency authors as it has a unique collection of books focussing on women's writing in English from 1600 to 1830. As well as having online biographies of authors such as Maria Edgeworth (Castle Rackrent) and Ann Radcliffe (The Romance of the Forest)the website also provides full transcripts of some of their collection. I used it when I was writing my Bluestocking Brides Trilogy. My heroines were all members of a Regency reading group and I wanted them to be reading something authentic, so I chose The Enchantress by Mrs Martin. I was able to read the entire text online and draw on it in my research. Check out the library at and at the same time you can catch up on the history of the estate and its connections with Jane Austen.



Melinda said...

Interesting article, Nicola. I look forward to checking out this site.

Jane O said...

I have been lucky enough to visit the house and library. To stand in the window of the oak room as Jane Austen did, as she watched guests arriving to her brother's house was the biggest treat. Although it is a substantial house it really feels like a family home and it is easy to imagine all the Austens and Knights gathered there for family parties.