Jane Austen and the Navy
Two of Jane Austen's brother served in Nelson's navy and later became admirals. Francis Austen, on board the Canopus, narrowly missed the battle of Trafalgar; Charles Austen in Endymion captured numerous small prizes. It is not surprising that that the Austen family, including Jane, took a deep personal interest in naval affairs. Apart from the church, the navy was the pro...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 5th 2003 by Hambledon & London
(first published 2003)
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Two of Jane Austen's brothers served in the Royal Navy and later became admirals. Southam's book discusses the novelist as a historian of Nelson's navy, not the navy of the great victories at sea but of the navy at home and of sailors amongst their family and friends.
I just skimmed the first half of the book and got right into his commentary on the novels (no disrespect to Austen's brothers or anything...). The chapter on Mansfield Park was very interesting. The other chapters on Nelson and Persuasion were good, too. The historical details of what the navy was like, the culture at the time, the ranks and terms and what they all meant were all fun details to learn about.
The chapters on MP, Persuasion, and that Navy Classic Emma(!!) were excellent. The chapters on the politics of the navy less so. Horatio Hornblower fans will enjoy the multiple references to his mentor Sir Edward Pellew! (Fun Fact: Robert Lindsay's bday is 12/9. I can't think of anyone else in the role of Pellew).