"Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick & wicked"

- Jane Austen
"Jane Austen is weirdly capable of keeping everybody busy. The moralists, the Eros-and-Agape people, the Marxists, the Freudians, the Jungians, the semioticians, the deconstructors - all find an adventure playground in six samey novels about middle-class provincials. And for every generation of critics, and readers, her fiction effortlessly renews itself."

- Martin Amis, in The New Yorker

Monday, August 25, 2008

Admirers Still Coming Out of the Woodwork

Is there no end to the list of men who fancied Jane Austen?

William Seymour was a lawyer, and a friend of Henry Austen. Around autumn 1812, he spent a whole carriage ride in Jane Austen's company, trying to decide whether to ask her to marry him or not. In the event, he did not.

It seems likely too that on her return from London Jane was accompanied home by her as yet undeclared admirer, William Seymour, for many years later he told a member of the Austen family that 'he had escorted [Jane Austen] from London to Chawton in a postchaise, considering all the way whether he should ask her to become his wife! He refrained however, and afterwards married twice.'

Cited by the indefatigable Deirdre Le Faye, in Jane Austen: A Family Record, Cambridge University Press, Second Edition, 2004

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