I've recently discovered a fantastic site through the Jane Austen House Museum website. It's called UK RED, which is an open-access database housed at The Open University containing over 30,000 easily searchable records documenting the history of reading in Britain from 1450 to 1945. Evidence of reading presented in UK RED is drawn from published and unpublished sources as diverse as diaries, commonplace books, memoirs, sociological surveys, and criminal court and prison records.
You can't search in general terms such as 'what did young ladies read in the year 1800 in Hampshire?' or something, you can only search by name. There is a list to choose from once you click on a letter in the alphabet. It's based on subscribers to the circulating library. Our dear Jane is on that list of course.
I searched for her and here's her list for your viewing and reading pleasure! Join me in reading as many of these volumes as we can squeeze in!
In other news, I'm headed out of the country to a friend's wedding in Iceland this summer, then going on to England and France. I am currently planning my visit to the Jane Austen House Museum where I have just registered for an awesome workshop called "The Ideal Heroine." Here's the write up:
Who’s your favourite? Elinor or Marianne, or maybe Lizzie, Fanny, Catherine, Emma or Anne? Jane Austen’s heroines began entrancing and dividing readers 200 years ago. In this workshop we’ll be looking at these wonderful creations and at some of their literary descendants, and spending the day creating and developing characters who might stroll off the page and into a reader’s heart. This, like all of the season’s workshops, is designed to suit experienced as well as beginner writers.
What a lucky thing - to be able to take a writing workshop in Jane's house! I will take copious notes, I promise.