Archive for the ‘Keats’s House’ Category

I’ve been very lucky to receive two books in the post this week – they are being published by Shire Books in July, and I’m sure will be of great interest for those of you who collect all things Jane!

From prize-winning historical novelist Louise Allen, this book presents eight walks through both the London Jane Austen knew and the London of her novels! Follow in Jane’s footsteps to her publisher’s doorstep and the Prince Regent’s vanished palace, see where she stayed when she was correcting proofs of Sense and Sensibility and accompany her on a shopping expedition – and afterwards to the theatre. In modern London the walker can still visit the church where Lydia Bennett married Wickham, stroll with Elinor Dashwood in Kensington Palace Gardens or imagine they follow Jane’s naval officer brothers as they stride down Whitehall to the Admiralty. From well-known landmarks to hidden corners, these walks reveal a lost London that can still come alive in vivid detail for the curious visitor, who will discover eighteenth-century chop houses, elegant squares, sinister prisons, bustling city streets and exclusive gentlemen’s clubs amongst innumerable other Austen-esque delights.

From the publisher: New York, NY, —Old House announces the July publication of Mr Darcy’s Guide to Courtship: Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen’s Most Eligible Bachelor. Written satirically from Darcy’s perspective, it is sure to stir debate among the millions of Austen fans about whether or not this ultimate alpha male suitor was really an arrogant jerk. It gently pokes fun at the long-standing tradition of projecting idealized fantasies on this character when, in reality, the 21st century woman probably knows deep down that after the marriage the fantasy would be over and Darcy would revert to his old ways.
Channeling Mr Darcy himself – before he’s mellowed by contact with Elizabeth Bennet– this July 

publication by Old House takes a satirical journey into the mind of this archetypical alpha male suitor. Full of unapologetic pride and meticulously cultivated prejudice, it reveals Mr Darcy’s secrets of seduction, giving advice to both ladies and gentlemen on the rules of courtship – advice that is delightfully amusing and generally awful!

Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon at Keats’s House in Hampstead. I went to see Austentation play in the Keats Festival 2013 – it was lovely to meet them all! They played a selection of songs and music that Jane Austen would have known and enjoyed – it was lovely to hear so many favourites.

Frank Underwood and Angela Mayorga
Austentation at Keats’s House
Keats’s House
Poetry Reading

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George Romney’s House
I took a walk to Hampstead Heath with a friend this week and took a lot of photos. The day had started fine but ominous looking clouds soon covered the periwinkle sky. Nothing could take away the beauty of the Heath and the surrounding area – it was wonderful to be outside again and looking at trees and plants springing forth. The magnolias in Golders Hill Park are not quite out but there were daffodils and irises, and blossom on the trees.
The Pergola, Hampstead Heath
Beautiful twisting trunks of Magnolias-not quite out!
This reminds me of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’
A view of the Pergola, Hampstead Heath
Keats’s House
The Pergola, Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath filled with trees that could have been drawn by Arthur Rackham
The Pergola, Hampstead Heath


Romney’s house

The whole area is so wonderfully atmospheric. I’m reading a couple of books at the moment with associations to Hampstead – one is a re-read, although most of the action is set in sunny Italy – The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin – a favourite of mine. One of the characters, Mrs Wilkins, believes she has seen Keats crossing the road in front of his house. It’s a wonderful way to give an insight into her character – she’s rather dreamy and I imagine would not find seeing such a sight disturbing. Sadly, I didn’t see him, but I imagined that I felt Fanny Brawne walking beside me on the Heath – her grief almost tangible. It made me want to get out Keats’s poems and the love letters between him and Fanny – and also watch Brightstar, which I loved – a wonderful film directed by Jane Campion filled with haunting images.

The other book I’m reading and finding hard to put down to get on with any work is Justine Picardie’s Daphne. It’s so beautifully written, and a fascinating story about Daphne du Maurier’s passionate interest in Bramwell Bronte – all intertwined with Daphne’s life and books. I love Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel and Frenchman’s Creek, and Justine’s book feels like visiting an old friend.
At every turn we could have bumped into Daphne du Maurier who lived at Cannon Hall as a child or J M Barrie who wrote The Admirable Crichton, in which her parents acted. And was that Henry James we spotted as he rounded the corner? I could smell the paint as I passed Romney’s House and I swear I saw him watching through the window, cleaning his brushes on a paint-stained rag.
A lovely day – I must go back soon when the leaves are out on the trees!

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