Posts Tagged ‘Morgan Library’

Adriana Zardini

Adriana Zardini,  founder of Jane Austen Society in Brazil (JASBRA),  and translator of Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility into Portuguese, was recently interviewed on TV with Celina Portocarrero, who translated Pride and Prejudice, to analyze the impact of the author today. The link to the  interview sits her at the blog.  Adriana writes about the experience:

During the interview I talked about Jane’s life, her parents and Cassandra too. The interviewer asked me about my first contact with Jane’s books and why I started a Jane Austen Society in Brazil. Well, the first time I read Austen was during my graduation. The teacher, Thais Flores from UFMG, asked us to read Emma and to explain the themes in the book. So, I really enjoyed reading this book and then read Sense and Sensibility. Last January, I finished a course about Jane Austen at University of Oxford and I wrote about the free indirect speech in Emma, I really enjoyed to study this book again!  [In the interview] we talked about the TV series and movie adaptions and Zombies! It was a really nice interview and an excellent way to show Jane Austen to Brazilians too!

Adriana started the Brazilian Society last year in June.” We decided to create the society to study Jane Austen’s works and to make friends too! This year, we’re going to have our Second Annual Meeting in Rio de Janeiro! I think more people will come, because it is easy for people to take flights or buses to Rio!

Adriana Zardini and Celina Portocarrero during the interview

Claufe Rodrigues interviews Adriana and Celina in the  Shopping Leblon book store

The video is in Portugese. The first part covers the recent Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan Library in New York, A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy, which recently ended in mid March. The following images are from the video and show more of the exhibit

The exhibit at the Morgan Library was small and intimate, much like Jane Austen’s life and works.

Jane’s novels were showcased, including Sense and Sensibility

One of three Isabelle Bishop Illustrations in the exhibit

The exhibit included many peripheral artifacts, like Rowlandson’s and Gillray’s satirical cartoons,

Crossed letter

Letter written backward for her niece

Jane’s novels illustrated by Brock

Another view of the exhibit

Adriana’s next video interview will be showcased in July.

My posts about the exhibit:

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Last month I wrote about my trip to the Morgan Library in New York to view A Woman’s Wit:Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy, and of my impressions of the letters.

Exhibition room for Jane Austen's artifacts at the Morgan Library

But I didn’t mention the many other interesting artifacts: the Gillray prints of a lady dressing and Rowlandson’s caricature of The Comforts of Bath,

Progress of the Toilet, The Stays, James Gillray

the books that Jane owned,

Jane Austen's personal books, including The Spectator and Poems by William Cowper

a lovely steel engraved oval image of her,

Steel engraved image of Jane Austen and Lady Susan

an original copy of the Memoir of Jane Austen, fair copies of the first 7 letters of Lady Susan,

Viewing the Lady Susan letters on the far wall of the exhibit room

a rough 12-page fragment of The Watsons, a watercolor by Paul Sandby,

Paul Sandby's View in a Park

and a well-known image from An Analysis of Country Dances by Wilson, 1811.

Five positions from An Analysis of Country Dancing by Wilson, 1811

An account of Jane’s personal purchases of a little over 42 pounds for the year (1807), Isabel Bishop’s images for Pride and Prejudice,

Isabel Bishop's image of Jane and Bingley standing together

and the correspondence between Jane and Cassandra, her letter to Francis Talbot, the Countess of Morley and a letter from the Prince Regent’s librarian, James Clarke add to our knowledge of her world.

James Clarke's letter to Jane Austen, on the left

There were artifacts from Byron and Fanny Burney and Sir Walter Scott, and more images than I can recall so many weeks later.

The Panorama of London

William Blake and Georges Mail drew two portraits that forcibly reminded me of my internal images of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet

Georges Maile (fl. 1818–1841) Marchioness of Huntley.

Which brings me to my only (and major) disappointment with this exhibit: no catalogue. Thankfully, I can reconstruct my memory of the visit from my notes, images I have gleaned online or taken myself, and from a list provided by the Morgan Library (see the link below.) For anyone who lives within striking distance of the Morgan Library, you have until March 14th to travel to New York. The exhibition room might be small, but it is filled with treasures and is well worth the effort.

More links:

View PBS’s video of the Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan Library on YouTube.

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Inquiring reader: Recently I  had the pleasure of viewing Jane Austen’s letters in A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy, an exhibit showing at the Morgan Libraryin New York City until March 14th. My observations are those of a layman and amateur. Nevertheless, I thought I would share my impressions. As Janeites know, several years before Cassandra Austen’s death, she  ruthlessly censored Jane’s  letters. In this image, taken from the Morgan Library website, you can see that an entire portion of the letter  is missing. To the left of  the same letter, Jane drew the pattern of a piece of lace, writing, “My cloak is come home, and here is the pattern of its lace.”

Portion of autograph letter signed, dated Bath, 2 June 1799 to Cassandra Austen

I was struck by how finely some of the portions had been cut out. In one letter that Jane wrote in 1814, Cassandra snipped only a few words and the cut was so unobtrusive that at first I did not spot the missing area. The sentence began with “Edward is quite…” Then nothing. Only a sliver of a line with several additional words cut out. Did the phrase reflect negatively upon Edward or Jane or another member of the family? We shall never know.

Franking letters was expensive for Jane, whose yearly personal budget consisted of £50 or less. She followed the common practice of cross writing. I noted how straight her lines were, and how carefully she placed them between the blank spaces of the lines on the other side. The letter below shows both practices. The Morgan Library website features this letter and allows you to enlarge it. Scroll to the bottom and study it in more detail. Learn more about crossed letters and the paper Jane used in this link.

Letter to Godmersham

Jane’s letters were not always crossed, nor did she always use both sides of the paper. In this delightful example, written to her  niece, Cassandra, in the last year of her life, Jane takes care to keep a large amount of blank space around the lines. She also writes in a much larger script. Written entirely backwards with an unfaltering hand, the letter must have thrilled its young recipient.

It is estimated that Jane Austen wrote 3,000 letters in her lifetime. Of the 160 that remain, the Morgan Library has purchased 51.  Not all of the lettters in this exhibit were written to family members. In the image below, the letter on the left was written by the Prince Regent’s librarian, James Stanier Clarke, to Jane. To the right of it sits one of her letters to him. I was struck by the brown color of the ink, which in some letters was still strong and vigorous, and in others had faded to a pale, watery color. Jane used iron gall ink, an ink common in her era, which is initially blue-black and then fades to brown.

It is composed of tannin (gallic acid), iron sulfate (known as vitriol in the nineteenth-century), gum arabic, and water. Because it is indelible, it was used for official documents from the middle ages onward. The ink is easy to make, inexpensive, and can be transported as a powder and mixed whenever needed. When first applied to paper, the ink appears pale-gray; as it is exposed to air, the ink darkens to a rich blue-black tone. Eventually, most iron gall ink changes to a brown color, as is evident in Austen’s letters and manuscripts – Thaw Conservation Center.

To learn more about Jane’s letters in the exhibit, I urge you to click on the Morgan Library website and study the few images that are shared with the public. Sadly, the Morgan did not publish a catalog, and much of the information in the exhibit is available only to visitors. Click here to view images from the exhibit. Click here to read about the technicalities of letter writing in Jane Austen’s day.

More links about the exhibit:

More links on this blog about letter writing and the royal mail in Jane Austen’s day:

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The exhibit, A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy, will be shown through March 14, 2010 at the Morgan Library in New York City. This week I had the distinct pleasure of seeing this unique presentation of Jane’s letters, the drafts of two of her novels (The Watsons and Lady Susan), several books, and images and cartoons of the Regency era.

I had taken a number of shots with my flip camera before a museum guard advised me that I could not take pictures. (Since it was possible to take pictures to my heart’s delight in The Louvre, it did not cross my mind that I could not do so at the Morgan Library). Interestingly, I had already taken numerous shots in full view of everyone before the guard stopped me.

The room is small; the riches contained within it are immeasurable

The actual exhibition area is contained within a small room, but there are so many letters and items of interest that I could have spent the entire day inside that space. Jane’s Life and Legacy were divided into three sections – her life and personal letters, her works, and her legacy. Over the next few weeks I shall write about my impressions from that exhibit, tying in other links and posts.

Entrance to new wing from Madison Ave

If you are not familiar with the Morgan Library and Museum, some information about its history might be of interest:

Interior of the new wing

A complex of buildings in the heart of New York City, The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today it is a museum, independent research library, musical venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. More than a century after its founding, the Morgan maintains a unique position in the cultural life of New York City and is considered one of its greatest treasures. With the 2006 reopening of its newly renovated campus, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan reaffirmed its role as an important repository for the history, art, and literature of Western civilization from 4000 B.C. to the twenty-first century. – Press Release information

Original entrance

The following links might also interest you:


Vaulted Ceiling

Happy New Year, All!

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