Reading in the Godmersham Library: Jane Austen’s Nephew Charles Bridges Knight ~ Part IV

Since there is a bit of a gap since my last posting in late April on these diaries of Charles Bridges Knight, I’ll repeat some of the introductory material to refresh your memory. As we continue to see what Charles was reading in the Godmersham Park Library, I again offer hearty thanks to Austen scholar Hazel Jones for sharing this with us as she mines Charles’ diaries: 

The Reading with Austen website focuses on the contents of the Godmersham Park Library as noted in the 1818 catalogue of the collection. We know that Jane Austen read and rested in this library because her letters tell us so, and the RwA website has brought this long-ago library back to colorful life. So it is a very interesting treasure to stumble upon other mentions of this library. The scholar Hazel Jones* has been very generous in sharing her research into the diaries of Austen’s nephew Charles Bridges Austen (later Knight), who also spent time in this very library. Ms. Jones is writing a book on Edward Austen Knight’s sons, and in reading (and transcribing) Charles Bridge’s diaries (which are housed at Jane Austen’s House Museum ), she finds numerous references to the titles he is reading.

Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).

 

You can read the other parts here that tell of Charles’ reading while living at Godmersham:

-Charles Bridges Knight at GPL Part I
-Charles Bridges Knight at GPL Part II
-Charles Bridges Knight at GPL Part III

We continue now with Diary 10, dated January 19 1836 – January 27th 1837: 

‘Jany 24 … I read some of Kidd on my return home.’

John KIdd – Wellcome

John Kidd (1775-1851), a physician, chemist and geologist, is considered the first of the “scriptural geologists.” His On The Adaptation of External Nature to the Physical Condition of Man, was volume II of the “Bridgewarter Treatises,” a collection of 8 volumes by various scientists and theologians that began publication in 1833. The GPL housed only volume 1, 2, and 4 – by Thomas Chalmers, John Kidd and Charles Bell respectively.

Not in the Library at Chawton House, so all three of these volumes are Lost Sheep.

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‘Jany 25 … I rose at 1/2 past 7 and read german till breakfast time. After that I sat in the Hall and read Burnet till one o’clock, a good long patch. It is an interesting book I think. It was very well in those days to have texts & restraints against popery, when the papists were a strong party, a popish King was on the throne, and the protestant interest all over Europe was threatened.’ (He then launches into a sermon on Christian conduct and principles.)

It is interesting here to have some actual commentary from Charles!

There are several books by a Burnet in the GPL, four by Gilbert Burnet, and two by Thomas Burnet.

Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury -WP

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): I surmise Charles is referring to either of these two titles – the Bishop Burnet’s Travels has a reference to a discussion of Popery:

  1. Bishop Burnet’s travels through France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland: Describing their Religion, Learning, Government, Customs, Natural History, Trade, &c. And illustrated with curious Observations on the Buildings, Paintings, Antiquities, and other Curiosities in Art and Nature. With a Detection of the Frauds and Folly of Popery and Superstition in some flagrant Instances, also Characters of several eminent Persons, and many other memorable Things worthy the Attention of the Curious. Written by the Bishop to the Honourable Robert Boyle. To which is added, an Appendix, containing Remarks on Switzerland and Italy, by a Person of Quality, and communicated to the Author. A Table of Contents and a Character of the Bishop and his Writings. London, 1750.

However, if you note Charles’ entry for March 26 below:

‘March 26 … I finished Burnets times, which has lasted me all the winter, & given me much instructive information and interest. I like the book very much, & am sure the author must have been a very good and wise & sociable man.’

He is referring to this:

  1. Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. Vol. I. From the Restoration of King Charles II. to the Settlement of King William and Queen Mary at the Revolution: To which is prefix’d A Summary Recapitulation of Affairs in Church and State from King James I. to the Restoration in the Year 1660. London, 1724, 1734.

Both of these Burnet titles are in the 1818 GPL catalogue and are extant in the Knight Collection at CH. They also both have the Thomas Knight bookplate.

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Samuel Horsley -Wikipedia

‘Jany 26 … I tried my luck at a sermon on the marriage supper … but could make nothing of it, and therefore read one and then another of Horsleys … After dinner I read some of Kidd, which I do not think much of – it seems very much got up I think.’

Well, so much for Kidd! –

We discussed Samuel Horsley in Part III – he wrote a number of tracts, sermons, and treatises, and Charles notes he was reading more than just this one title that is listed in the 1818 catalogue:

Letters from the Archdeacon of Saint Albans, in reply to Dr. Priestley. With an appendix, containing Short Strictures on Dr. Priestley’s Letters by an unknown Hand. London, 1784. This is at Chawton.

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‘Jany 30 … I read some of the articles of faith of the reformed french church, contained in a french testament, with prayers and psalms set to tunes & offices at the back of it, printed in 1668.’

Well, he could have been reading anything…there are a number of French titles in the catalogue, though I do not find anything dated 1668. We are impressed with Charles’ abilities to read in German and French…

*****

‘Feby 2 … I rose at 7 and read some Slade’s psalms.’

James Slade-unknown artist – Bolton Library and Museum – WP

James Slade (1783-1860):  In 1813 Slade became the rector of Teversham and in 1817 the vicar of Bolton-le-Moors, where he remained for nearly 40 years.

He is most known for these two titles which went into a number of editions; neither is listed in GPL catalogue, but worth the mention nonetheless. They may have been in Charles’ own collection.

  1. Twenty-one prayers, composed from the psalms, for the sick and afflicted : to which are added various other forms of prayer for the same purpose, with a few hints and directions for the use of the younger clergy. London: Rivington, 1828.
  1. An Explanation of the Psalms as read in the Liturgy of the Church. By the Rev. James Slade. London, 1832.

*****

‘Feby 6 … After dinner I finished Kidd, & began Bell.’

This refers to the citation above, the 4th volume in the “Bridgewater Treatises” along with John Kidd. This volume is by Charles Bell (1774-1842) and titled: The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design. London, 1833. This, as noted, is a Lost Sheep.

 

Bell was a noted  “Scottish surgeon, anatomistphysiologistneurologist, artist, and philosophical theologian. He is noted for discovering the difference between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord. He is also noted for describing Bell’s palsy” [wikipedia].

This work he wrote as part of the eight the “Bridgewater Treatises” on the hand, is full of pictures where he compares “hands” of different organisms ranging from human hands, chimpanzee paws, and fish feelers. After the first few chapters, Bell orients his treatise around the significance of the hand and its importance in its use in anatomy. He emphasizes that the hand is as important as the eye in the field of surgery and that it must be trained” [wikipedia].

This work may have done much to feed Charles’ abiding interest in natural history…. we can only wish he had commented more on it.

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‘Feby 7 … I read some of Bell at different times today, & a part of a sermon of Barrows.’

See Part I for another reference to Barrow. I find nothing re: sermons in the 1818 catalogue; there is only this title: The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H. M. S. Bounty: its causes and consequences.

Issac Barrow, by Mary Beale

But I do find an Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), “an English Christian theologian and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus; in particular, for the discovery of the fundamental theorem of calculus” [Wikipedia]. He is most known for his sermons, of which he published a number, such as Several Sermons against Evil-Speaking [London, 1678]. Charles is likely referring to him, though there are no works in the GPL catalogue… but you can read, if you are so inclined to follow Charles’ reading path, many of Barrow’s sermons online here: https://biblehub.com/sermons/authors/barrow.htm

Mary Beale, self-portrait, c1675

[Totally an aside here, with nothing to do with Charles or his reading, or even the GPL, but interesting to note that this portrait of Isaac Barrow was painted by Mary Beale (1633-1677), one of most famous and successful female portrait painters of the 17th century… always good to give a nod to the Ladies, with all these overly-wigged men weighing down these posts…!] This self-portrait is in the collection of the St. Edmundsbury Museums.

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Hazel notes here after the Feb 7 diary entry : Repeat reading of Burnet, Bell, and Kidd throughout the month and beyond, the latter even though he claims to have finished it on Feb 6th.

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‘Feby 21 … I rose at 1/2 past 7 and read a bit of Hermas s Shepherd before breakfast. I don’t know much about its authenticity, but it was at any rate I suppose written quite in the earliest age of Christianity and is on that account very interesting.’

In the 1818 catalogue, I find the following:

The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers, S. Barnabas, S. Ignatius, S. Clement, S. Polycarp. The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Martyrdoms of St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp, Written by those who were present at their Sufferings. Being, together with the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, a compleat Collection of the most Primative Antiquity for about CL Years after Christ. Translated and Publish’d, with a large Preliminary Discourse Relating to the several Treatises here put together. By the Right Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Bishop of Lincoln. The Second Edition, Corrected.  By William Wake. London: 1710.

This is a Lost Sheep.

William Wake (1657-1737) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1716 until his death in 1737; he authored numerous treatises, two of which are in the GPL, the one above and this:

The Principles of the Christian Religion Explained: In a Brief Commentary upon the Church-Catechism. By the most Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury. The Fifth Edition Corrected. London, 1731.  This also a Lost Sheep.

The Shepherd of Hermas was an early Christian work of the 2nd century – it comprises five visions, twelve mandates, and ten parables, uses allegory to tell its tale, and calls on the faithful to repent of the sins that have harmed the Church. You can read the full text in translation here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/shepherd.html

*****

 ‘March 8 … Read some Exodus and Hall’s contemplations. I mostly read a contemplation of Hall’s now if I have time, & there happens to be  a suitable one to my morning’s chapter … I read every evening before I go to bed a chapter in the NT in Greek, & refer to Macknight. This whim is about a week old.’

Neither of these authors is listed in the 1818 GPL catalogue, but Charles is likely referring to these two titles:

Joseph Hall (1628) – WP

  1. Joseph Hall (1574-1656), an English Bishop, satirist and moralist. Contemplations on the Historical Passages of the Old and New Testaments published in 1614.
  1. James MacKnight (1721-1800) wrote several works on the New Testament, any of which Charles might be referring to: Harmony of the Four Gospels (1756), The Truth of the Gospel History Shewed (1763), and A New Literal Translation from the Original, of the Apostle Paul’s First and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (1787).

*****

‘March 15 … Before dinner I read some of Secker on Popery’. (Also on the 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st)

Thomas Secker (1693-1768), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1758-1768, has two works listed in the 1818 GPL, and both are in the Knight Collection, and both have the less common oblong Montagu George Knight bookplate:

  1. Lectures on the Catechism of the Church of England: with A Discourse on Confirmation. By Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Published from the Original Manuscripts By Beilby Porteus, D.D. and George Stinton, D.D. His Grace’s Chaplains. London, 1769. “Five Sermons against Popery” can be found in this work.

  2. Sermons on Several Subjects
    , By Thomas Secker, LL.D. Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. Published from the original Manuscripts, By Beilby Porteus D.D. and George Stinton D.D. His Grace’s Chaplains. London, 1770.This title has Edward’s signature and “Godmersham Park” on the front free endpaper as you see above.

Painting of Thomas Secker, after Joshua Reynolds, in the collection at Lambeth Palace

‘March 23 … After breakfast I spent some time looking into various books in the library to find something about the 10 tribes of Israel that were taken away by Shalmaneser when he took Samaria & destroyed the Kingdom of Israel.’

Well, this could be any number of books on the history of the OT, etc.!

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (825 B.C.) -Bible History Online

*****

‘March 26 … I finished Burnets times, which has lasted me all the winter, & given me much instructive information and interest. I like the book very much, & am sure the author must have been a very good and wise & sociable man.’  [See above]

‘April 1 … finished Jebb & Knox’s correspondence. I had great pleasure in reading that book, and have learnt a great deal from it.’ [see Part III on these letters]

*****

‘April 2 … After breakfast read Epictetus’s moral maxims in my french & german grammar. I think of doing the same in Greek with Mrs Carter’s help.’

For his Mrs. Carter reference, Charles is referring to this title:

All the Works of Epictetus, Which are now Extant; consisting of His Discourses, preserved by Arrian, In Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translated from the Original Greek, By Elizabeth Carter. With An Introduction, and Notes, by the Translator. London, 1758.

There are two copies listed in the 1818 catalogue and both are extant in the Knight Collection. What interests us GLOSSers even further is that both Thomas Knight Sr. and his son Thomas Knight Jr. are listed as subscribers, and perhaps the reason there are two copies in the collection.

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was a poet and translator and part of the Bluestocking Circle founded by Elizabeth Montagu. She is most known for this translation of Epictetus.

epictetus-all-1758_-Carter-RwA

Elizabeth Carter as Minerva, goddess of wisdom, by John Fayram (1735-1741), NPG [Wikipedia]

Carter was well-known enough in her time to be one of the women depicted in Richard Samuel’s “Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo” (1775) – she is on the far left, though exact identification of each of the portraits has always been unsubstantiated. Carter said herself to Elizabeth Montagu, “by the mere testimony of my own eyes, I cannot very exactly tell which is you, and which is I, and which is any body else.”

Portraits in the Characters of the Muses (1775) – Richard Samuel

Carter’s poetry was well-regarded, and though Charles does not mention reading her poems, there is a 1st edition copy of her 1762 Poems on Several Occasions listed in the 1818 catalogue. This IS a Lost Sheep, so we add it to our list.

*****

‘March 4 (he means April) … Read some Exodus. Epictetus after breakfast: & german with Louisa  … I finished B White’s tract on Popery …’

Though this title is not in the 1818 catalogue, Charles was reading Joseph Blanco White’s The Poor Man’s Preservative against Popery: addressed to the lower classes of Great Britain and Ireland. London, 1825.

White (1775-1841), born José María Blanco y Crespo, was a Spanish theologian and poet (and obviously the long-lost ancestor of Alan Cumming…?  sorry, I couldn’t resist this totally irrelevant aside – I think even Charles would have been amazed at the resemblance!).

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‘April 7 … After breakfast read Epictetus in the library … I did some more Epictetus after lunch … I read a little of Pascals thoughts.’ [See Part III for Pascal’s Thoughts]

‘April 8 … I read Knox’s letter on Christian preaching before dinner, & liked it very much: it will bear many readings.’ [See Part III on Knox]

*****

‘April 9 … I rose soon after 7 & read as usual 2 of Slade’s psalms, a chapter in Exodus, writing remarks, & some of Hall’s contemplations.’ [See above]

*****

Here are a few of Charles’ rare comments on the Godmersham Library itself:

‘June 16 … Louisa & I began to put the Library to rights.’ [Louisa (1804-1889) was Charles’ younger sister].

‘June 17 … I put some of the Library to rights.’

‘June 20 … I finished looking over the Library books by the catalogue.’

[Peter Sabor and Hazel both wonder two things: what sort of mess did he and Louisa leave the library in?? Recall his comment in Part III when he writes of “Rice & I play[ing] at Rackets in the Library…..”

And two, if these comments about “putting the Library to rights” and his reference to the catalogue are any indication that Charles may be one of the hands that crossed out and / or added titles to the catalogue – it appears however after analyzing the various handwritings that this is not the case – more detective work is needed…]

*****

‘June 23 … Began Campan’s Marie Antoinette.’

Marie Antoinette (1783) – Le Brun – The Met

[This portrait of Antoinette is also painted by a woman, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, a prominent  French portrait artist of the late 18th century.]

Jeanne Louise Henriette Genet Campan. Memoirs of the private life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre. To which are added, recollections, sketches, and anecdotes, illustrative of the reigns of Louis XIV. Louis XV. And Louis XVI. By Madame Campan, First Lady of the bed-chamber to the Queen. Third Edition. In two volumes. London, 1824. French text.

Jeanne Louise Henriette Genet Campan (1786) – Joseph Boze

Campan (1752-1822) “was a French educator, writer and lady-in-waiting, in the service of Marie Antoinette before and during the French Revolution” [Wikipedia]. These Memoirs were published posthumously in 1823, as was her De l’Education des Femmes (1824), in which she emphasized the importance of training young girls in domestic economy and all manner of housework.

This title is in the GPL catalogue and remains in the Knight Collection, so is not lost – and another work with Edward’s signature, as you see here.

Full text is available here (in English): https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100731949

I wish Charles had something to say about these Memoirs, but alas! he does not, and Hazel notes that there is no mention of books or reading until November. Perhaps the reading about Marie Antoinette put him off his religious reading diet?? The next diary offers us nothing about Marie Antoinette either…

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Notes from Hazel: there are another four diaries, but Diary 10 is the last one likely to be of interest as far as Charles’ reading at Godmersham is concerned. He has moved to Chawton Rectory by the beginning of Diary 11, which is dated Nov 1837 to Jan 1840.

Today’s post has added five Lost Sheep to our growing list of Books Wanted (you can view the list here). And though Charles has left Godmersham and moved to Chawton, we will continue with his comments on reading that are found in Diary 11 and then Diaries 13 – 15 dated 1837-1851 [apparently there is no Diary 12]. So stay tuned…

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*Hazel Jones is the author of Jane Austen & Marriage (Bloomsbury Continuum 2009, Uppercross Press 2017), Celebrating Pride & Prejudice (co-authored with Maggie Lane, Lansdown 2012), Jane Austen’s Journeys (Hale 2014) and is currently writing a book on Jane Austen’s Knight nephews. She was a tutor in the Department of Lifelong Learning at Exeter University until 2005 and continues to teach residential courses on aspects of Jane Austen’s writing, life and times. She is the membership secretary and a co-founder of the UK Jane Austen Society, South West Branch.

 

C2019 Reading with Austen blog

RWA-postcard-front

Some Terrific PR for the “Reading with Austen” website!

Rebecca Rego Barry has written an article for the Lapham’s Quarterly “Roundtable” blog titled “Rebuilding Jane Austen’s Library” – citing Peter Sabor and Gillian Dow on the beginnings and importance of the “Reading with Austen” project. Barry also writes of other virtual libraries, such as those of Edith Wharton and Herman Melville. You can read all about it here:

https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/rebuilding-jane-austens-library

Petworth: the White Library, looking down the Enfilade from the Alcove, 1827 1827 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/D22678

c2019 Reading with Austen blog

Reading in the Godmersham Library: Jane Austen’s Nephew Charles Bridges Knight ~ Part III

This is a continuation of recording the diaries of Charles Bridges Knight, son of Edward Knight, and his mentions of the books he is reading in the Godmersham Park Library. We thank Austen scholar Hazel Jones for so graciously sharing her finds with us. It very much brings this library to life as we imagine Charles sitting and reading there, much like his aunt Jane Austen would have done several years before. Some of his diary entries are about the Library itself – fires and warmth (or lack thereof), pictures, outside trees, etc., which brings us vividly back to Austen’s own comments of being there: “Mistress of all I survey…”

You will see that the majority of books he is reading are religious tracts, commentaries, sermons, and such (all but one are by old white men as you will see – I cannot resist the comment…) – Charles was ordained in 1828 and was the curate of West Worldham and later rector of Chawton. One might want to whisper the words of Anne Elliot into his ear (in reverse of her advice to Capt. Benwick): perhaps a little more poetry and literature and a little less didactic prose might be added to his reading diet – it may have also enlivened his sermons!

[I will add this so we do not too hastily align Charles with the idea he is a real-life Mr. Collins, picturing him quoting from Fordyce at every opportunity when in the company of young Ladies. Hazel tells me that Charles was, at the time of these diaries, doing clerical duties at the parish in Molash, a small village in Kent near Godmersham – he was busy at work preparing sermons and offering solace to parishioners, and he often stood in for the Revd. Richard Tylden at Chilham. As we can see from his reading material over these few years, he was certainly diligent in his duties. We will have to wait for Hazel’s book on all of Jane Austen’s nephews to be published (hopefully later this year) for more details – we shall find I think that Charles has a more interesting story than just these lists of religious and philosophical books!]

You can read the previous blog posts here:

A quick review of Charles: Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).

*****

Listed here are the books in the GPL library that Charles mentions, beginning with his Diary no. 5, dated January 1, 1833 – April 30, 1833. Not all these books were in the 1818 catalogue, often being published after that date – please note where the books are in the 1818 catalogue and are Lost Sheep – we are constantly on the alert for these! 

‘January 1 (1833) … not going out much on account of the gout I have plenty of time to read all day. I read in the library until luncheon time, then take a ride, then read in my room till dinner …’

‘Thursday Feby 28 … Rice & I played at Rackets in the Library.’

Ok, now what is “Rackets” being played in the Library?? Defined on Wikipedia as follows:

Rackets court – Eglinton Castle

“Rackets or racquets is an indoor racket sport played in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, United States, and Canada. Historians generally assert that rackets began as an 18th-century pastime in London’s King’s Bench and Fleet debtors prisons. The prisoners modified the game of fives by using tennis rackets to speed up the action. They played against the prison wall, sometimes at a corner to add a sidewall to the game. Rackets then became popular outside the prison, played in alleys behind pubs. It spread to schools, first using school walls, and later with proper four-wall courts being specially constructed for the game. And later, specific indoor courts were built as shown here at Eglinton Castle in 1842.”

The idea of Charles playing against the walls of the library is a tad disconcerting! Would his father approve? Would Jane??

In Diary no. 6 (May – Nov 1833), Hazel tells us: “No mention of books or the library. Mainly hunting and fishing and generally slaughtering anything that moves.”

In Diary no. 8 (Oct 1834 – Oct 1835), we find Charles back at work on his reading:

‘Sunday March 8 … Read some of Hannah More’s correspondence;’ and again on ‘Monday March 9 … I read some of Hannah More’

Hannah More by Henry William Pickersgill, 1821

In the 1818 catalogue, there are three Hannah More (1745-1833)  titles:

Strictures on the modern system of female education. With a view of the principles and conduct prevalent among women of rank and fortune. 9th ed. By Hannah More. In two volumes. London: Printed for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, in the Strand, 1799. A Lost Sheep!

Coelebs in search of a wife. Comprehending Observations on domestic habits and manners, religion and morals. The ninth edition. In two volumes. London: Printed for T. Cadell & W. Davies, in the Strand, 1809. In the Knight Collection, with the less common oblong Montagu George Knight bookplate:

Florio: A Tale, For Fine Gentlemen and Fine Ladies: and, The Bas Bleu; or, Conversation: Two Poems. 1st ed. London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1786. A Lost Sheep!

Hannah More (1745 – 1833) was an English religious writer and philanthropist, a poet and a playwright, and an original member of the BlueStockings. She became more and more evangelical in her writings and campaigned actively against the slave trade.

Dr Syntax with a Blue Stocking Beauty – T. Rowlandson

Austen famously writes of More in a few letters to Cassandra:

You have by no means raised my curiosity after Caleb; – my disinclination for it before was affected, but now it is real; I do not like the Evangelicals. – Of course, I shall be delighted when I read it, like other people- but till I do, I dislike it. [Ltr. 66, 1809]

And in her next letter, Austen speaks on being corrected in the spelling of the title with the added Dipthong [sic]: “I am not at all ashamed about the name of the Novel… the knowledge of the truth does the book no service; – the only merit it could have was in the name of Caleb, which has an honest, unpretending sound; but in Coelebs, there is pedantry & affectation. – Is it written only to Classical Scholars?… [Ltr. 67, 1809]

And Austen later refers to More’ new book Practical Piety published in 1811. [Ltr. 74, 1811]

But Charles refers to More’s “correspondence,’ which I find to be first published in 1835: Memoirs of the life and correspondence of Mrs. Hannah More, by William Roberts, so this may have been added to the library just recently after its publication – OR he refers to another book entirely…

Back to Charles:

‘September 29 Tuesday … I read a chapter in the old & in the new testament as soon as I am dressed, & then some of Taylors holy living … At 1/2 past 8 I go to Henry & read to him the morning psalms, two chapters out of each testament, & some of Sherlock on Death. After breakfast I write a sermon or read for it, or read Burnets own times till between 11 & 12 … I want to read some French too, but have no time, & also Chillingworth, but have no time. I am also reading at odd times Le Bas s life of Wickliffe.’

‘Wednesday Sepr 30 … Began reading George’s Warsaw tour after dinner.’ (Brother George Thomas Knight)

‘Friday Oct 2 … I finished the preface to Bagster’s Bible, & am now going to begin Genesis. It is impossible to look at all the references, & I think it is a good plan to read with some particular object in view.’

So lots here:

Taylor’s holy living: The only Taylor listed in the catalogue is The Worthy Communicant – but Taylor also published a work titled The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650), not found in the catalogue. 

William Sherlock.

– Sherlock on Death:

William Sherlock: The 1818 catalogue lists several works by William Sherlock, including his A Practical Discourse concerning Death, published in London in 1751 (it was a very popular work, originally published in 1689). This is A Lost Sheep!

 

– Burnet’s times must refer to Gilbert Burnet’s Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. Vol. I. From the Restoration of King Charles II. to the Settlement of King William and Queen Mary at the Revolution: To which is prefix’d A Summary Recapitulation of Affairs in Church and State from King James I. to the Restoration in the Year 1660. London, 1724, 1734. Charles mentions reading this a number of times in his diaries – and happily we find this in the Knight Collection, with the older Thomas Knight bookplate:

– Chillingworth refers to Richard Chillingworth, The Religion of Protestants (1674) see Part I for more information.

John Wycliffe at work

– Le Bas Life of Wickliffe is a book dilemma: Charles Webb Le Bas wrote The Life of Wiclif in 1832, not in the catalogue. William Gilpin wrote The Lives of John Wicliff, and the 1766 edition was in the GPL – and alas! A Lost Sheep! – but not the book Charles was reading….

 

– Bagster’s Bible: Samuel Bagster published his first Polyglot Bible in 1816; his Comprehensive Bible (see the next entry for Oct 3) was first published around 1829. Neither appears in Edward’s 1818 catalogue.


Diary no. 9 (Oct 3, 1835 – Jan 18, 1836)

Charles has a few comments on Bagster’s Bible:

‘Saturday Oct 3d 1835. I got up at 6. Read the first chapter in Genesis in Bagster’s Comprehensive Bible, referring to all the New Testament references, as I had determined, but found so many of them quite nihil ad rem [nothing to the point], only containing fanciful allusions to the text, that I resolved to give it up, and mean in future only to refer to such as relate to passages I don’t understand, or are of any particular interest.’ [So much for Bagster… ‘nothing to the point’  seems awfully harsh!]

‘Sunday Oct 4th … I finished Sherlock on Death to Henry for the 3d time. I wonder how long we shall go on reading it once a year.’ [goodness, this seems depressing!]

‘Thursday Oct 6th … I looked over an old journal to Naples in 1825 – 6, & mended a little my Kissingen journal – It is the fashion now to read these things, & Marianne & At Louisa have begun by George’s last Schwalbach tour …(family journals) … I read some of Burnets times.’ (Many other refs to the latter, including ‘like them very much’.)

‘Sunday Oct 11th … I wrote a list of chapters to be read by the sick, taken from Stonehouse’.

– Sir James Stonhouse (1716–1795) was an English physician and cleric – he published many treatises on religion, one of them Every Man’s Assistant and the Sick Man’s Friend, 1788 – to which Charles might be referring. It is not in the 1818 catalogue.

‘Monday Oct 12th … The Sycamore close to the Library was cut down today: I wish a great many more trees were moved; the house is too much shut in by them.’

‘Tuesday Oct 13 … read a good deal of Burnets’ times. What a disgraceful set of libertines the great men of Charles the 2ds time were! Even the churchmen seem to have had but little religion; as for the way of establishing episcopacy in Scotland, it was quite enough to disgust any reasonable man with the very name, & I should think must have left an impression that has not yet worn away. I sat in the hall and read, as I usually do now, the fire being lighted, & find it very comfortable.’

‘Wednesday Oct 14 … After breakfast I read the thoughts of Pascal for some time. I think them hard, & get on very slow, but like them, they are well argued I think.’

– Blaise Pascal: The only Pascal in the GPL is: Les provinciales ou les lettres ecrites par Louis de Montalte a un provincial de ses amis, et aux RR. PP. Jesuites. By Blaise Pascal. Cologne, 1738. A Lost Sheep!

But Charles is more than likely reading Pascal’s Pensées [Thoughts], incomplete at his death in 1662 and published in 1670. This is not in Edward’s catalogue.

Pascal was a renowned mathematician and Catholic theologian. He invented the first calculator, called the Pascaline, this one on exhibit at the Musee des Arts et Metiers, Paris:

[iamge: By Rama, CC BY-SA 3.0 fr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53246694%5D

‘Monday Oct 19 … began Benson’s Hulsean lectures 1820 for the 2d time … I saw the pictures hung up again in the library.’

– Christopher Benson, Hulsean lectures for 1820: Twenty discourses preached before the University of Cambridge in the year 1820 – and not in the catalogue.

Alexander the Great

 

‘Wednesday Oct 21 … I began Pastor William’s s life of Alexander the great for the 2d or 3d time, & probably shall not go on long with it.

– The Rev. John Williams’s The life and actions of Alexander the Great was published in 1829. It was not in the 1818 catalogue, but is in the 1908 catalogue of Chawton House library.

[Image: Andrew Dunn at Wikimedia commons ]

‘Thursday Oct 22 … ‘I consulted Hooker & Prideaux about the way of spending the Sabbath & the Jewish synagogues. I should think Echard’s eccles. history must be a useful book.’

– We mentioned Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity in Part I.

There are two works by Humphrey Prideaux in the 1818 catalogue; perhaps this is the one Charles was reading: The Old and New Testament connected in the History of the Jews and Neighbouring Nations (1715–17). It is in the Knight Collection:

– Echard’s eccles. History is clearly this: 

Laurence Echard. A General Ecclesiastical History from the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour to The First Establishment of Christianity By Humane Laws, Under the Emperour Constantine the Great. Containing the Space of about 313 Years. With so much of the Jewish and Roman History as is Necessary and Convenient to illustrate the Work. To which is added, A Large Chronological Table of all the Roman and Ecclesiastical Affairs, included in the same Period of TIme. By Laurence Echard, A. M. Prebendary of Lincoln, and Chaplain to the Right Reverend James, Lord Bishop of that Diocese. London, 1702.

This work is listed in the 1818 catalogue and is in the Knight Collection, with the older Thomas Knight bookplate and this interesting cover: this Elizabeth Knight is the original cousin with the Knight name which was taken by Thomas Brodnax May in order to inherit the estate in Chawton. It was his son Thomas who adopted Jane Austen’s brother. For a full understanding of all these names see Chawton Manor and Its Owners; A Family History, by William Austen-Leigh and Montagu George Knight.

There are two other titles by Echard in the catalogue and both are extant in the Knight Collection.

*****

‘Friday Oct 23 … Marked some texts on the Sabbath & looked in Bishop of Bristol’s Ch. history about it.’ – which must refer to:

Robert Gray: The Connection between the Sacred Writings and the Literature of Jewish and Heathen Authors, particularly that of the Classical Ages, Illustrated, principally with a view to evidence in confirmation of the truth of Revealed Religion. By Robert Gray, D. D. Prebendary of Durham and of Chichester, and Rector of Bishop Wearmouth. [Later the Bishop of Bristol], published in London in 1816 – in the 1818 catalogue and A Lost Sheep! You can read the 2nd edition here: https://archive.org/details/connectionsacred01grayuoft/page/n5

‘Sunday Oct 25th … after dinner dipped into White’s Selborne – but it is impossible to read in a party, & if one goes into one’s own room, it ends always in a nap.’

– Charles is Funny! (who knew!) – he is here talking about Gilbert White’s The natural history and antiquities of Selborne, in the county of Southampton: with engravings, and an appendix. London, 1789 – This 1st edition is in the catalogue and A Lost Sheep!

Gilbert White House

 Austen would have been familiar with White, his work and his home  – it was not far from her in Steventon and later Chawton. You can visit his house and gardens here. (Gilbert White died in 1793 and left his home to his nephew John White).

[Austen mentions Selborne a few times in her letters – this one dated May 31, 1811 (Ltr. 74 to her sister) speaks of Anna [Lefroy, her niece] going to visit Selborne  on the Tuesday: “Poor Anna is also suffering from her cold which is worse today, but as she has no sore throat I hope it may spend itself by Tuesday … She desires her best love to Fanny, & will answer her letter before she leaves Chawton, & engages to send her a particular account of the Selbourn [sic] day.”]

‘Saturday Oct 30th … Read to Henry – a sermon of Porteous.’

– Charles unfortunately doesn’t tell us which sermon, but this is the book: Sermons on Several Subjects. By the Right Reverend Beilby Porteus, D. D. Bishop of Chester. By Porteus, Beilby. London, 1783, 1794 – is in the GPL catalogue and is still in the Knight Collection.

Beilby Porteus (1731 – 1809) was a chaplain to King George III, and the Bishop of Chester and later Bishop of London – he is mostly known for being at the forefront of the abolitionist movement.

‘Sunday Nov 1st … We began the Apocrypha a day or two ago, & read 3 or 4 chapters of the 1st book of Esdras – we have skipped the rest & today began the 2d book.’

Wednesday Nov 4th … I read Blanco White’s Evidence agst catholicism till dinner time.’

– Joseph Blanco White. Practical and Internal Evidence Against Catholicism, With Occasional Strictures on Mr. Butler’s Book of the Roman Catholic Church; In Six Letters. Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland. Joseph Blanco White, 1825 – this is not in the 1818 catalogue.

‘Thursday Nov 5th … read 2 of Horsley’s sermons on the coming of our Saviour.’

‘Saturday Nov 7th … finished Horsley’s sermons on the Sabbath, read one of Sharp‘s on the same subject.’

Samuel Horsley

Charles could be referring to:

Samuel Horsley. Letters from the Archdeacon of Saint Albans, in reply to Dr. Priestley. With an appendix, containing Short Strictures on Dr. Priestley’s Letters by an unknown Hand. London, 1784. – which is in the 1818 catalogue and remains in the Knight Collection. But Horsley, the Bishop of Rochester, wrote a number of tracts, sermons, and treatises, and Charles may have been reading a different book…

– Sharp? – there is a Samuel Sharp in the catalogue (and in the Knight Collection): Letters from Italy, describing the Customs and Manners of that Country, In the Years 1765, and 1766. To which is Annexed, An Admonition to Gentlemen who pass the Alps, in their Tour through Italy. By Samuel Sharp, Esq. The Third Edition. London, 1767 – but this is unlikely the book with a sermon on the Sabbath…

‘Monday Nov 9th … began Sumner’s sermons on Ctian faith & practice for the 2d time … after dinner I dipped into Pope’s essay on man which is always lying about – it is a very fine piece I think. I am overwhelmed with books just now, that I am reading or want to read – this happens now & then, & on the other hand I am sometimes at a loss what to read. This comes I think of not having a regular course of reading marked out.’ [Note from Hazel: Mr. Knightley needs a word].

– Nothing by Sumner in the 1818 catalogue, but I do find this in searching: A series of sermons on the Christian faith and character, by John Bird Sumner. London, 1823. There are also a number of other Sumner titles extant in the Knight Collection

Alexander Pope. The Works of Alexander Pope Esq. In Nine Volumes Complete. London, 1751. We can assume this set of nine volumes was what was “always lying about” the GP Library… It is in the catalogue and is extant in the Knight Collection.

‘Wednesday Nov 11th … I read Jebb & Knox before dinner.’

Jebb and Knox must refer to the Thirty years’ correspondence between John Jebb and Alexander Knox, published in 1834 (compiled by James Forster). Both John Jebb and Alexander Knox were Irish theologians and writers, and mostly known today for this collection of their letters. It is not in the 1818 catalogue.

[Peter Sabor, the creator of the Reading with Austen website, and also a Frances Burney scholar and Director of the Burney Centre at McGill, tells me that Burney had an interesting connection with this very same duo Jebb and Knox:  the elderly Mme d’Arblay (Burney) met John Jebb, corresponded with him, and gave him a copy of her Memoirs of Doctor Burney. Jebb appears both in the final volumes of Journals and Letters of Mme d’Arblay, ed. Joyce Hemlow, and in Sabor’s own Additional Journals and Letters of Frances Burney, vol. II, that published last year. I will find these citations and do another post on Burney – she is after all also in the GPL 1818 catalogue – only The Wanderer however, which is interesting in itself – we know that Austen not only read and admired Burney, she also was a subscriber to her Camilla, along with Edward’s adoptive mother Catherine Knight].

[But I digress… see how one thing leads to another?? how in one post there are the seeds for at least 20 more…]

‘Friday Nov 13 … The stove that was in the Billiard room is moved into the library, & was lighted today for the first time: I think it will give more heat than the other did, but is not half enough to warm so large a room with so many outside walls windows & draughts of air.’

[In a letter dated September 23-24, 1813 [Ltr. 89], Austen is visiting Godmersham and she writes Cassandra: “We live in the Library except at Meals & have a fire every Eveng.”]

‘Saturday Nov 14 … read part of Knox’s letter on preaching … I read some of Pope’s essay on Man, & some of a book on the antiquity of the Irish nation, proving that a great grandson of Jephet called Partholan was the first known invader of it …’ [Hazel: This book belongs to Lord George Hill].

The earliest surviving reference to Partholón is in the Historia Brittonum, a 9th-century British-Latin compilation attributed to Nennius. Partholon was the first colonist of Ireland by way of Greece. He is now considered just a character in medieval Irish Christian pseudo-history, probably an invention of the Christian writers.

One wonders what book Charles was getting his information from – there is a book on the history of Ireland in the catalogue, but alas! don’t know if this is what Charles is reading:

‘Monday December 28 … read one of Wartons Deathbed scenes, which I liked very much …’

– Warton, John. Death-bed scenes and pastoral conversations. London: John Murray, 1830.

This is exciting to see referenced in Charles’s diaries because this was found and returned to Chawton by our famed GLOSS book detectives! – and although it is not in the 1818 catalogue, it is in the 1908 Chawton catalogue and has the Montagu George Knight bookplate.

 

‘Wednesday Dec 30 … We are reading Scougal’s Life of God in the soul of man, & like it.’) … (‘One of the best books I ever read’ he reports on completing Scougal). I read a little of Stanley on birds in the evening.’

– Henry Scougal. The Life of God in the Soul of Man: or, the Nature and Excellency of the Christian Religion. With Nine other Discourses on important Subjects. By Henry Scougal, A. M. and S. T. P. The Second Edition. To which is Added, A Sermon Preached at his Funeral, by G. G. D. D. London, 1735.

You can read more on Scougal and a summary of his book here. This is in the GPL catalogue and in the Knight Collection: and lots of writing in these volumes – done by Charles?? one can wonder! (Love this “Amen!!!)


Stanley on birds must refer to Edward Stanley’s A Familiar History of Birds: Their Nature, Habits, and Instincts. First published in 1835, this is not in the catalogue and may have been Charles’s own personal copy.

I’ll finish with these two last jottings in Charles’s Diary no. 9:

‘Jany 2d (1836) I read some of D Israelis curiosities of literature before dinner.’

– Isaac D’Israeli. Curiosities of literature. 7th ed, corrected. In five volumes.  London: John Murray, 1823. Vols. 3-5 are in the Knight Collection (not yet on the RwA website).

Finally a little lighter reading for Charles! The “Curiosities” is a collection of anecdotes about historical persons and events, unusual books, and the habits of book-collectors. It was very popular and remained in print through many editions. D’Israeli’s other claim to fame is that he was the father of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

‘Jany 10 … contrived to spin out my toilet with a little of Nelson’s devotions till 9 our breakfast hour.’

– Nelson, Robert. The Practice of True Devotion, In Relation to the End, as well as the Means of Religion; With an Office for the Holy Communion. By Robert Nelson, Esqr; 14th ed. To which is added The Character of the Author. London, 1758.

This is in the 1818 catalogue but is not in the collection, so we end with A Lost Sheep!

 *****

More to come with Charles’s Diariesanother long list, so stay tuned. And with many thanks again to Hazel Jones for all these library references.

c2019 Reading with Austen blog

A Lost Sheep Found! ~ Bringing It Back to Chawton House…

Some excellent news for all you GLOSS followers and contributors. A Lost Sheep has been found at auction, won at the bidding, and now returned to the fold at the Library at Chawton House!

The Story:

A book showed up at the auction house of Dominic Winter in the UK – it was described as having the Montagu George Knight bookplate on the front endpaper. A check of the spreadsheet and the Reading with Austen website found the book listed in the 1818 catalogue of Edward Austen’s Godmersham Park Library – all very exciting. After raising a few funds we bid on the book and thankfully, it stayed just below our limit – it is now back where it came from… Huzzah!

The Book:

Hanway, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea: with the author’s journal of travels from England through Russia into Persia, and back through Russia, Germany and Holland. To which are added, the revolutions of Russia, during the present Century, with the particular history of the great usurper Nadir Kouli, 2 volumes, 2nd ed, London: 1754. Volume 2 is titled The Revolutions of Persia.

Two engraved frontispieces, nine folding engraved maps, 17 engraved plates, some light spotting and offsetting, circular armorial bookplates of Montagu George Knight of Chawton (1844-1914), contemporary sprinkled calf gilt, wear to two spine labels, a little rubbed and scuffed, 4to

Estimate: £300 – £400 – sold for £560 + buyer’s premium and fees.

Here are some images, soon to be posted on the website:

The Author:

A look at wikipedia’s brief life of Hanway reveals some interesting bits about this man, whose book has given us GLOSSers such a feeling of success:

Jonas Hanway, by James Northcote, c1785

Jonas Hanway (1712-1786) was born in Portsmouth, but moved to London after the death of his father. He was apprenticed to a merchant in Lisbon at the age of 17, later partnering with a merchant in St. Petersburg. This led to his extensive travels in Russia and Persia and the Caspian Sea, and later through Germany and the Netherlands and back to England. The rest of his life was mostly spent in London, where the narrative of his travels (published in 1753) soon made him a man of note. His other writings (seventy-four in total) were largely pamphlets of a society-improvement campaigning sort.

Known as a philanthropist and involved citizen, Hanway founded The Marine Society; he became a governor and later president of the Foundling Hospital; he was instrumental in establishing the Magdalen Hospital; he procured a better system of parochial birth registration in London; and he was appointed a commissioner for victualling the navy.

He died, unmarried, in 1786 and was buried in the crypt at St. Mary’s Church, Hanwell. A monument to his memory, sculpted by John Francis Moore was erected in Westminster Abbey in 1786.

Of interest to those of us who love tidbits of social history, Hanway was the first male Londoner, it is said, to carry an umbrella (women had been using them since 1705 – now there’s a blog post!) and was often challenged by hooting hackney coachmen. He was opposed to tipping, had controversial engagements with Johnson and Goldsmith over tea-drinking of all things, supported solitary confinement and proper care for prisoners,  and he worked on behalf of chimney-sweeps. What’s not to like about this fellow?!

AND, he wrote this book that one of the earlier Knights wanted in their library (was it Thomas or Edward we cannot know…)

If you want to know more about our umbrella-carrying author, here is a place to start: Roland Everett Jayne, Jonas Hanway: Philanthropist, Politician, and Author (1712–1786). London: Epworth Press, J. Alfred Sharp, 1929.

Shall end with this grand image and link to an Atlas Obscura essay all about Hanway and his umbrella:

(Original Caption) The First Umbrella–Mr. Jonas Hanway Walking Out In A Shower.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-public-shaming-of-englands-first-umbrella-user

*******************

A hearty Thank You to all who contributed to our book-detective adventure!

Alas! – still so many more Lost Sheep to be found…please keep your eyes peeled, and any contributions to the cause would be greatly appreciated!

c2019 Reading with Austen blog

Reading in the Godmersham Library: Jane Austen’s Nephew Charles Bridges Knight ~ Part II

To continue where we left off in the last post on the reading of Charles Bridges Knight, I repeat here the introduction for the background:

The Reading with Austen website focuses on the contents of the Godmersham Park library as noted in the 1818 catalogue of the collection. We know that Jane Austen read and rested in this library because her letters tell us so, and the RwA website has brought this long-ago library back to colorful life. So it is so very interesting a treasure to stumble upon other mentions of this library. The scholar Hazel Jones [HJ]* has been very generous in sharing her research into the diaries of Austen’s nephew Charles Bridges Austen (later Knight), who also spent time in this very library. Ms. Jones is writing a book on Edward Austen Knight’s sons, and in reading (and transcribing) Charles Bridge’s diaries (which are housed at Jane Austen’s House Museum ), she finds numerous references to his titles he is reading in the library.

Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).

****

Here are the books in the library that Charles mentions, continuing in his dairy marked number 2. As noted before, not all these books were in the 1818 catalogue, often being published after that date, and therefore not part of the RwA project. But I list them just the same, as it shows the continuing depth and use of the library in succeeding years, as well as Charles’s reading habits and often humorous commentary. We must also consider that Charles had his own copies of books and why they do not appear in either the 1818 or 1908 catalogues.

  1. Basil Hall. Travels in America, 1829, etc..

Tuesday March 6. … Read Captn Hall’s memoirs of his early life & thought it very entertaining & instructive. A very good present for a young mind or any youngster just beginning life. He says it is a difficult thing to write a good journal which is very true. People are too apt to write down mere matters of fact such as the height of a mountain the proportions of a temple the beauty of a climate, all which things remain the same, whilst they say nothing of their prevailing feelings and particular trains of thought & pursuit.’

Basil Hall has a few publications, all in the 1818 catalogue (though some are dated after 1818):

  • Hall. Travels – RwA

    Travels in North America in the years 1827 and 1828. By Captain Basil Hall, Royal Navy. In three volumes. Second Edition. Edinburgh: 1830. In the Knight Collection

  • Extracts from a journal, written on the coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, in the years 1820, 1821, 1822. By Captain Basil Hall, Royal Navy, author of a voyage to Loo Choo. In two volumes. Printed for Archibald Constable and Co. Edinburgh; and Hurst, Robinson, and Co. London, 1824. In the Knight Collection

 Saturday March 10. … Finish’d Hall’s fragments & like them much.’ – must refer to this:

  • Fragments of Voyages and Travels, including anecdotes of a naval life: chiefly for the use of young persons. By Captain Basil Hall, R.N. F.R.S. In Three Volumes., Edinburgh; Whittaker, Treacher, & Co. London, 1831. A Lost Sheep!
  • Fragments of Voyages and Travels. By Captain Basil Hall, R.N. F.R.S. Second Series. In Three Volumes. Robert Cadell, Edinburgh; Whittaker, Treacher, & Co. London, 1832. A Lost Sheep!

Basil Hall – wikipedia

A side note: Capt. Basil Hall was on the HMS Endymion, as was Jane Austen’s brother Charles Austen – one wonders if they were ever on the ship at the same time, as their dates do coincide! [I shall look into this further…]

*****

  1. Frances Milton Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans 1832.

Frances Trollope

‘Saturday April 28. … George & I are anxious to go to America since reading Mrs Trollope & Capn Hall, but my father will not stand the money.’ (Ibid.)

Trollope’s very successful (and very controversial – she was not overly kind to the budding country, nor was Capt. Hall) Domestic Manners is not in the 1818 catalogue nor do I see it in the 1908 – the most interesting bit here is that Edward Austen would not send his son off to America… and also that the book was in the Godmersham library shortly after it was published in order for Charles to read it before his April 28 journal entry.

*****

 ‘Tuesday. July 10. … I have spent the time generally in reading making sermons till breakfast, and have been out mostly the rest of the day, but most times have sat & read in the library a little sometimes an hour or more before luncheon. My studies have been chiefly sermonizing, Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity book 5 about preaching, Chillingworth’s and a book about altering many things in the Church of England, written I think about 1740, or rather earlier; some parts seem good, but much carried too far.’

6.  Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity:


The Works Of that Learned and Judicious Divine, Mr. Richard Hooker, in Eight Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, Compleated out of his own Manuscripts. Printed for Robert Scot, Thomas Basset, John Wright and Richard Chiswel, 1682. In the Knight Collection

What is interesting in this copy is that the Montagu George Knight bookplate is the least commonly seen:

Hooker – MGK bookplate

a larger close-up view: this bookplate was the first one done by Charles Sherborn in 1900

7.  Chillingworth, Richard: The Religion of Protestants (1674)

by; after Francis Kyte; Unknown artist. print,c1724 – wikipedia

The Religion of Protestants A Safeway to Salvation. Or, An Answer to a Book Entituled Mercy and Truth, or, Charity maintain’d by Catholiques: Which pretends to prove the Contrary. TO which is Added The Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy. As also, IX. Sermons, The First Preached before His Majesty King Charles the First, the other Eight upon special and eminent Occasions. By William Chillingworth Master of Arts of the University of Oxford. The Fourth Edition. Printed by Andrew Clark, for Richard Chiswell at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul’s Church-yard, 1674. In the Knight Collection

******

8.  Ross Cox. Adventures on the Columbia River (1831)

‘Saturday (11 August omitted). Tired. I read on the library sofa Ross Con (?).’

and later on Monday August 13th Charles writes in the beginning of his Diary number 3:

 ‘Monday August 13th … read & finished Ross Cox’.

This title was initially indecipherable, but further sleuthing on Ms. Jones’s part tuned up a second reference to Ross Cox, so we know Charles was referring to Cox’s Adventures on the Columbia River (Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, London, 1831).

According to Wikipedia, Cox’s Adventures  is one of the most important documents relating to the later history of the North West Company. Several geographic features in Canada, including Ross Cox Creek and Mount Ross Cox are named after him.

Not in the Knight Collection or in the 1818 catalogue, so not officially a Lost Sheep.

*****

We are now into his Diary number 3, dated from August 13, 1832 – December 18, 1832.

9.  George Montagu, Ornithological Dictionary (1802).

‘Thursday Sepr 29 …[‘ checks on the identity of a wagtail in ‘Montague’s Ornithological Dictionary.’]

Here the reference is to George Montagu, Ornithological Dictionary, or Alphabetical Synopsis of British Birds. London: 1802. This work is not in the 1818 catalogue or in the Knight Collection…

 

 

 

10. ‘Monday Ocr 8 … I read in the morning before breakfast, & for an hour or more afterwards. Hooker is a great book.’

[referring again to Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity – see above]

11. George Nugent. Memorials of John Hampden (1832)

‘Friday Oct 26 … I began to read L—Nugents Memoirs of Hampden.’

The reference here is to [Lord] George Nugent’s Memorials of John Hampden (1832), not in the 1818 catalogue or in the Knight Collection.

12. ‘Wednesday Decr 12 … I generally read in the library as soon as I am drest.’ (A comment on his winter regime.)

**********

Charles Knight’s  grave – St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton

Stay tuned for more references of Charles Bridges Austen’s reading habits. I do think it worth noting that along with his interest in the Church and its laws and traditions, he obviously has a love of travel and adventure – a shame he never came to America to explore on his own.

And thank you Hazel for sending all these diary entries to me and to Peter Sabor with help identifying some of the books.

Hazel Jones is the author of Jane Austen & Marriage (Bloomsbury Continuum 2009, Uppercross Press 2017), Celebrating Pride & Prejudice (co-authored with Maggie Lane, Lansdown 2012), Jane Austen’s Journeys (Hale 2014) and is currently writing a book on Jane Austen’s Knight nephews. She was a tutor in the Department of Lifelong Learning at Exeter University until 2005 and continues to teach residential courses on aspects of Jane Austen’s writing, life and times. She is the membership secretary and a co-founder of the UK Jane Austen Society, South West Branch.

**Winchester College, a boarding school for boys founded in 1382, had 70 scholars and 16 “Quiristers” (choristers). The statutes provided for ten “noble Commoners,” paying guests of the Headmaster, and later had up to 130 such boarders [Wikipedia].

Sources:
1. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Letters. 4th ed. Ed. Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford, 2011.
2. Find a Grave (information by Brodnax Moore):  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/108100107/charles-bridges-knight
3. Reading with Austen website: http://www.readingwithausten.com/index.html

c2019, Reading with Austen blog

Reading in the Godmersham Library: Jane Austen’s Nephew Charles Bridges Knight ~ Part I

Godmersham Park, 1826

The Reading with Austen website focuses on the contents of the Godmersham Park library as noted in the 1818 catalogue of the collection. We know that Jane Austen read and rested in this library because her letters tell us so, and the RwA website has brought this long-ago library back to colorful life. So it is a very interesting treasure to stumble upon other mentions of this library. The scholar Hazel Jones [HJ]* has been very generous in sharing her research into the diaries of Austen’s nephew Charles Bridges Austen (later Knight), who also spent time in this very library. Ms. Jones is writing a book on Edward Austen Knight’s sons, and in reading (and transcribing) Charles Bridge’s diaries (which are housed at Jane Austen’s House Museum ), she finds numerous references to the titles he is reading.

Charles-Bridges Knight

 

Charles Bridges was born March 11, 1803 at Godmersham Park in Kent, the 8th child of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Knight and Elizabeth Bridges. He was a commoner at Winchester* from 1816-1820, attended Trinity College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1828. He was the curate of West Worldham in Hampshire and rector of Chawton from 1837-1867. He died unmarried on October 13, 1867, aged 64 years. He is buried in the graveyard at the St. Nicholas Churchyard in Chawton (Section B: Row 2. 70 ).

***

Listed here are the books in the library that Charles mentions, beginning with his diary entry for February 17, 1832. Not all these books were in the 1818 catalogue, often being published after that date, and therefore not part of the RwA project. But I list them just the same, as it shows the continuing depth and use of the library in succeeding years, as well as Charles’s reading habits and often humorous commentary. We must also consider that Charles had his own copies of books and why they do not appear in either the 1818 or 1908 catalogues.

  1. Francis Willughby’s Ornithologia libri tres:

Friday Feby. 17. … In the morning I examined the Greenfinch. It differed from Willoughby’s (Charles’ spelling) description in having no white on the belly but all greenish yellow, inclining to white just by the vent. Its four outmost tail feathers on each side were black about a third from the top yellow below, the underside the same only the colours more dusky. Examined the wind[jammer?] or Kestrel, but not much for the feathers round the mouth were covered over with little insects, not distinguishable but thro’ a microscope. Less than Willughby’s — ‘ (CHWJA:JAH409.1) (Diary marked number 2, January 22, 1832 – August 10, 1832)

[HJ notes: Charles was a keen amateur naturalist and often shot small birds and mammals, as well as game, in order to dissect them and record his findings.]

The book is a Lost Sheep:

Willughby, Francis. The Ornithology of Francis Willughby of Middleton in the County of Warwick Esq; Fellow of the Royal Society. In Three Books. Wherein All the Birds Hitherto Known, Being reduced into a Method sutable [sic] to their Natures, are accurately described. The Descriptions illustrated by most Elegant Figures, nearly resembling the live Birds, Engraven in LCCVIII Copper Plates. Translated into English, and enlarged with many Additions throughout the whole Work: To which are added, Three Considerable Discourses, I. Of the Art of Fowling: With a Description of several Nets in two large Copper Plates. II. Of the Ordering of Singing Birds. III. Of Falconry. By John Ray, Fellow of the Royal Society. [Epigraph on title page]. London: Printed by A.C. for John Martyn, Printer to the Royal Society, at the Bell in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1678.


***
2. ‘Butler’s Analogy Sermon on the creed’ etc:

Sunday March 11. My birthday 29 years old. I ought to make better use of my time, & hope to spend this year more profitably than the preceding … I should like to get up at six dress & read the Bible till 1/2 past 7, then sermonize for two hours every other day, on the alternate days read Butler’s Analogy Sermon on the creed or some other doctrinal work. From ten till 1/2 past 11 Horace’s satires or some other classic, alternate days some scripture history; till past one natural history. Before bed time read a sermon or some practical work of divinity. Any intermediate time reviews or some other modern light reading. Then the history of England & modern Geography in which I am sadly deficient ought to come in … I read part of Barrow’s sermon on the Gunpowder Treason. (Ibid.)

[HJ notes: He is distracted from this very worthy list by a flock of birds in the high trees at the end of the lawn. What a pity he does not specify which room he is occupying.]

The book is in the Knight Collection with the Thomas Knight bookplate.


Butler, Joseph. The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature. To which are added Two brief Dissertations: I. Of Personal Identity. II. Of the Nature of Virtue. By Joseph Butler, LL. D. Rector of Stanhope, in the Bishoprick of Durham. [Epigraph on title page]. London: Printed for James, John and Paul Knapton, at the Crown in Ludgate Street, 1736.

***


Horace’s satires are is also in the 1818 library collection and so Charles may have continued with his consciously-plotted daily plan of study. The “Satires” are part of a 4-volume edition of the works of Horace:

A Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace: with the Original Text, and Critical Notes collected from his best Latin and French Commentators. By the Revd Mr. Philip Francis, Rector of Skeyton in Norfolk. In Four Volumes. The Fourth Edition, Revised and Corrected. London: Printed for A. Millar, at Buchanan’s Head, opposite to Katharine-Street, in the Strand, 1750.

These volumes all contain Thomas Knight’s signature but have the MGK armorial bookplate – they are extant in the Knight Collection.

 

[My note: the reference to “Barrow’s sermon on the Gunpowder Treason” brings nothing up in the collection. There is a John Barrow, The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H. M. S. Bounty (1831) in the catalogue, but nothing re: the Gunpowder plot. A search finds a Thomas Wilson, A Sermon on the Gunpowder Treason from 1679, but this is not in the 1818 catalogue. Perhaps Charles was confusing two books he was reading about English history…]

***

  1. Chesterfield’s Letters:

April 11. … I have lately been reading Chesterfield’s letters. I think they contain very good rules for good manners, such as must be good for every one who would follow them, that is the spirit of them generally, but there is a great want of warmth, in fact no feeling in them: they are written by a cold hearted man of the world, who would make his son very polished graceful & genteel, very learned, and rather moral, whether religious or no he does not seem to care. He would recommend him to court [someone’s?] acquaintance because he is rich and likely to be of consequence.'(Ibid.)

The book is in the Knight Collection; it has the less-common MGK oblong bookplate:

Chesterfield, by William Hoare

 

 

Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of (1694-1773). Letters written by the late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to his son, Philip Stanhope, Esq; Late Envoy Extraordinary at the court of Dresden: together with several other pieces on various subjects. Published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, from the originals in her possession. In four volumes. The second edition. London: Printed for J. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, 1774.

 

***

Stay tuned for Part II as we continue with Charles’s reading … Thank you Hazel for sharing these with us!

***

 

*Hazel Jones is the author of Jane Austen & Marriage (Bloomsbury Continuum 2009, Uppercross Press 2017), Celebrating Pride & Prejudice (co-authored with Maggie Lane, Lansdown 2012), Jane Austen’s Journeys (Hale 2014) and is currently writing a book on Jane Austen’s Knight nephews. She was a tutor in the Department of Lifelong Learning at Exeter University until 2005 and continues to teach residential courses on aspects of Jane Austen’s writing, life and times. She is the membership secretary and a co-founder of the UK Jane Austen Society, South West Branch.

**Winchester College, a boarding school for boys founded in 1382, had 70 scholars and 16 “Quiristers” (choristers). The statutes provided for ten “noble Commoners,” paying guests of the Headmaster, and later had up to 130 such boarders [Wikipedia].

Sources:
1. Austen, Jane. Jane Austen’s Letters. 4th ed. Ed. Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford, 2011.
2. Find a Grave (information by Brodnax Moore):  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/108100107/charles-bridges-knight
3. Reading with Austen website: http://www.readingwithausten.com/index.html

c2019, Reading with Austen blog

Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott ~ Finding Scott in the Godmersham Park Library

Walter Scott, by Henry Raeburn, 1822

While the goal here is to locate works that were in the Godmersham Park Library [GPL] that have gone missing, there is also an interest in just seeing what authors and subjects were included in the collection. I have written previously about Samuel Johnson where we find some of the works  in the existing Knight Collection at Chawton House and some are unfortunately Lost Sheep.

Today I am going to look at Sir Walter Scott, an author Austen wrote about in her letters and alluded to in her works. We know she admired him but in no way tried to emulate him – in her famous letter to the Prince Regent’s Librarian James Stanier Clarke, she is certainly referring to Scott when she writes:

“I am fully sensible than an Historical Romance founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg might be more to the purpose of Profit or Popularity, than such pictures of domestic Life in Country Villages as I deal in – but I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem. – I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other notice than to save my Life, & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I finished the first Chapter.- No – I must keep to my own style & go on in my own Way…” (Ltr. 138(D), p. 312).

***********

What we find in the GPL catalogue are only two works by Scott, and both remain in the Knight collection today. So no Lost Sheep. But we also find a good number of other Scott titles in this extant collection and so we might infer from this that the Austen Family were avid fans of Sir Walter Scott!

Jane Austen and Walter Scott (1771-1832) really had a fair amount to say about each other. They were contemporaries after all, and Scott a respected poet before he started writing his highly successful novels. Jane Austen is not silent on this development, and writes in Ltr. 108. 28 Sept 1814 to her niece Anna Austen (later Lefroy):

Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. – It is not fair.- He has Fame & Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths. – I do not like him, & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it – but fear I must.”

In February 1813, Austen writes  her sister about Pride and Prejudice being “too light & bright & sparkling” and writes that perhaps “something unconnected with the story; an Essay on Writing, a critique of Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparte…” would offer the necessary contrast.

We know she had access to his works, either in her brother’s collections or in the local circulating library. The two titles listed in the GPL 1818 catalogue are  Marmion and The Lady of the Lake and she mentions both in her letters and her novels:

  1. Marmion (6th ed. 1810):


Marmion; a tale of flodden field
, by Walter Scott, Esq. In two volumes. Sixth edition. Edinburgh / London: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh: and William Miller, Albemarle-Street and John Murray, London, 1810.

  • Located in the South Case: slip 1, shelf 5 (an interesting fact: Marmion was shelved at the GPL right next to Northanger Abbey!)
  • Current location: Knight Collection, Chawton House
  • Full text: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100613514

Austen’s thoughts on Marmion:

“Ought I to be very much pleased with Marmion? – as yet I am not. – James reads it aloud in the Eveng – the short Eveng- beginning about 10 & broken by supper… [Note that this Letter 53, dated June 20-22, 1808  is written from Godmersham].

“Charles’s rug will be finished today, & sent tomorrow to Frank, to be consigned by him to Mr. Turner’s care – & I am going to send Marmion out with it – very generous in me, I think.” [Ltr. 64: Jan 10-22, 1809].

Later, when writing about her just published Pride and Prejudice: “There are a few Typical errors – & a ‘said he’ or a ‘said she’ would sometimes make the Dialogue more immediately clear – but ‘I do not write for such dull Elves’ ‘As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.’” [Ltr. 79: 4 Feb 1813].

– As Deirdre Le Faye points out (Letters, 4th ed. p 420), this is a quote from Scott’s Marmion (vi. 38):

I do not rhyme to that dull elf
Who cannot image to himself…

********

  1. The Lady of the Lake (1810):


The Lady of the Lake. A poem
. By Walter Scott, Esq. The fourth edition. Printed for John Ballantyne and Co. Edinburgh; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and William Miller, London; by James Ballantyne and Co. Edinburgh, 1810.

Austen’s references to The Lady of the Lake:

“We began Pease on Sunday, but our gatherings are very small – not at all like the Gathering in the Lady of the Lake.” [Ltr. 75. 6 June 1811].

Both Marmion and The Lady of the Lake are referred to in Persuasion: “Trying to ascertain whether Marmion or The Lady of the Lake were to be preferred” and in her final unfinished work Sanditon, we find the poetry-obsessed Sir Edward Denham directly quoting  from both Marmion and The Lady of the Lake as he spouts off as a “Man of Feeling.”

******

Austen also refers to other works by Scott that are not in the GPL catalogue. As noted, some are in the current Knight Collection: these may have been in the library at the Chawton Great House, or mistakenly not listed in 1818, or never owned by Austen or her brother but added to the library by future generations:

3. The Field of Waterloo (1815):

She writes to John Murray during her brother Henry’s severe illness: “My Brother begs his Compts & best Thanks for your polite attention in supplying him with a Copy of Waterloo.” [Ltr. 124: 3 Nov 1815].

– Scott’s poem The Field of Waterloo was published in 1815 and written to raise funds for the families of soldiers killed in the battle. (Le Faye, 450). It is not extant in the Knight Collection.

******

4.  Paul’s Letters to His Kinfolk (1815):

And later that month, she writes again to Murray: “My Brother returns Waterloo, with many thanks for the Loan of it. – We have heard much of Scott’s account of Paris – it is be not incompatible with other arrangements, would you favour us with it – supposing you have a set already opened? – You may depend upon its’ being in careful hands.” [Ltr. 126: 23 Nov 1815].

-The reference is to Scott’s Paul’s Letters to His Kinfolk (Murray, 1815), his personal writings on his travels to the battlefield of Waterloo and through Paris and occupied France. This title is in the Knight Collection.

****

5. The Antiquary (1816): On December 16-17, 1816 [Ltr. 146], Austen writes to her nephew James Edward Austen (later Leigh), referring to the character Isabella Wardour in Scott’s The Antiquary:

“Uncle Henry writes very superior Sermons.- You & I must try to get hold of one or two & put them in our Novels; – it would be a fine help to a volume; & we could make our Heroine read it aloud of a Sunday evening, just as well as Isabella Wardour in the Antiquary, is made to read the History of the Hartz Demon in the ruins of St Ruth – tho’ I beleive, upon recollection, Lovell is the Reader.”

The Antiquary title page, 1871 ed.

The Antiquary, considered to be Scott’s own favorite of his novels, is in the current Knight Collection.

******

6. The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805):

 

 

The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805): Austen directly quotes Scott’s chivalric romance on two occasions in Mansfield Park, one by Fanny and the other about Fanny, and this work, though not in the GPL catalogue, is in the Knight Collection. This is the poem that brought Scott instant success.

*********

The other Scott works in the Knight Collection:

  1. The Vision of Don Roderick (1811)
  2. Ballads (1806)
  3. Rokeby (1813)
  4. The Waverley Novels (20 volumes)
  5. The Lord of the Isles (1815)
  6. Scott’s History of Scotland (1829-1830)
  7. Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830)
  8. Other editions of Marmion and The Lady of the Lake
  9. And also Lockhart’s 7 volume Life of Scott (1848)

*******

7. The Quarterly Review (1816):

One final mention of Scott in Austen’s letters refers to the review of Emma in the Quarterly Review (issued March 1816). She writes on April 1, 1816 [Ltr. 139] to her publisher John Murray:

“I return you the Quarterly Review with many Thanks. The Authoress of Emma has no reason to complain of her treatment in it – except in the total omission of Mansfield Park.- I cannot but be sorry that so clever a Man as the Reveiwer of Emma, should consider it as unworthy of being noticed.”

Though an anonymous review, it was widely known to have been written by Walter Scott. This is still disputed by some critics.  And whether Austen knew if her “so clever a Man” was Scott has also not been definitively established.

You can read the original text here at the British Library:
https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/review-of-emma-in-the-quarterly-review-1815

****************

We can’t discuss Scott and Austen without a few words by him about her:

Sir Walter Scott wrote in his journal on March 14, 1826, with his oft-quoted “Bow-wow”:

I have amused myself occasionally very pleasantly during the last few days, by reading over Lady Morgan’s novel of _O’Donnel, which has some striking and beautiful passages of situation and description, and in the comic part is very rich and entertaining. I do not remember being so much pleased with it at first. There is a want of story, always fatal to a book the first reading–and it is well if it gets a chance of a second. Alas! poor novel! Also read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of _Pride and Prejudice_. That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me. What a pity such a gifted creature died so early!

Scott’s journal entry for September 18, 1827, has the following reference to Austen:

Wrote five pages of the _Tales_. Walked from Huntly Burn, having gone in the carriage. Smoked my cigar with Lockhart after dinner, and then whiled away the evening over one of Miss Austen’s novels. There is a truth of painting in her writings which always delights me. They do not, it is true, get above the middle classes of society, but there she is inimitable.

Indeed!

*****

Images of Marmion and The Lady of the Lake: the Reading with Austen website.
Image from The Antiquary is from The Geste of Robin Hood

 c2019 Reading with Austen blog

Found! ~ John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1736

This book was found online, purchased by a few of us GLOSSers, and is now returned to the Library at Chawton House. It was in the 1818 catalogue and shelved in the East Case: column 5, shelf 6.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. A Poem. Book The First. Paradisus Amissa. Poema, A Joanne Miltono Conscriptum (Latin and English). J. Hughs, 1736. Bookplate of Montagu George Knight of Chawton to front end paper.

 

Montagu George Knight bookplate

[Images: Reading with Austen]

c2019, Reading with Austen blog

Welcome to the “Reading with Austen” Blog!

rwa-postcard-front5b15d

[The lovely image for the website was created by Jessica Irene Joyce – jessicairenejoyce.com]

The Reading with Austen website is a re-creation of the Library of Godmersham Park, the estate of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight. This virtual library is based on an extant handwritten catalogue from 1818 that lists all the books in his collection and their exact locations on his shelves. Here you can explore the Library as Jane Austen might have seen it on her many visits to the Godmersham estate. On the website you will be able to browse photographs of and bibliographic information for the very editions she may have handled.

You can read the history of the project, spearheaded by Professor Peter Sabor of McGill University on the website and on the pages on this blog (see the sidebar]. The first post on this blog gives a brief history and explanation of what we continue to search for and how you can help us.

In this effort to locate the many books still missing from this original Godmersham collection, a group of scholars, researchers, bibliophiles, and interested people has been created – we call ourselves The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society – GLOSS – and invite any and all of you to join us in this search.

On this blog, I will be posting some of the books we have found and returned to the Library at Chawton House, where the remaining titles from the original library now reside (in the Knight Collection and still owned by Austen’s descendant). And I will also post about the books we have found but are beyond our pocketbooks, those that we have found in institutions, and those 500 or so remaining titles we are still actively looking for.

Please follow us in this journey and help us in our quest to return as many of these books to the fold – you too can become an official GLOSSer!

c2019, Reading with Austen blog

WANTED! ~ Books with Montagu George Knight Bookplates

Calling all Booksellers, Librarians, Bibliophiles

Wanted !

The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society*

Cordially invites you to join in the

Global Search

For all books bearing

Montagu George Knight bookplates**

Please help us return these books to the fold

at the

Library at Chawton House, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, UK

* The Godmersham Lost Sheep Society (GLOSS) is a research group of scholars and bibliophiles searching for all books that were originally in the libraries of Godmersham Park and later Chawton House, both estates of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight.

**The three Knight bookplates were all designed by Charles Sherborn in 1900 / 1901:

Bookplate 1

Bookplate 2

 

Bookplate 3

***********

We note here that there are also the bookplates of Thomas Knight (1701-1781) and Edward Knight (1767-1852) and his son, also named Edward (1794-1879) – it is unclear if the bookplate was father or son’s, or if they both used the same bookplate – these bookplates are also to be found in some of the Godmersham library books, so we are searching for these as well, especially if they are listed in the original 1818 catalogue:

 

Thomas Knight bookplate

 

Edward Knight bookplate

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1.  The History:  

Edward Austen Knight inherited three estates from his adoptive family the Thomas Knights: Godmersham Park in Kent, and Chawton House and Steventon in Hampshire. Godmersham and Chawton had large extensive libraries typical of the gentry of the time. Edward had a catalogue of the Godmersham Library compiled in 1818, listing about 1250 titles. These books were later combined with the Chawton House Library when Godmersham was sold in 1874, with many of the volumes sold or otherwise distributed over the years. [Montagu George Knight, grandson of Edward Knight, placed his bookplates in most of the books of this combined library, as well as in the books he added to it. The remaining library (called the “Knight Collection” and still in the family) is now housed at Chawton House Library, which serves as an important literary heritage site and a center for the study of early women writers]. We know Jane Austen spent a considerable amount of time in both these libraries – and an ongoing project has been to try to locate the missing volumes that have wandered away and might still be extant in libraries, in book collectors’ homes, or on bookseller shelves – the “Lost Sheep” of Godmersham Park.

2. The Digital Godmersham Project:

Initiated and run by Professor Peter Sabor (Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Director of the Burney Centre at McGill University), this is a web-based open-source project that will include the Knight family books that are recorded in the catalogue of 1818, as they were on the shelves – a virtual library so to speak. You can visit the Reading with Austen website here; phase I of the project launched in 2018, the bicentenary of the original catalogue. While it would be a final goal to locate all the missing titles that are out there, this digital project will create for us what Jane Austen would have seen and read when visiting her brother.

3. What we need:

If you have or locate any books with any of the three Montagu George Knight bookplates, or the Thomas or Edward Knight bookplates, please contact us – we would like good pictures of:

a.) the binding/cover;

b.) the inside cover of the book, where Montagu Knight’s bookplate should be attached, often together with a small shelf ticket from Chawton House Library; and

c.) the title page of the book;

d.) any marginalia

These images would be used on the website, with or without your name as the book’s current owner/location (this is up to you).

4. Donation / sell options:

Some of those found thus far have been privately purchased and donated back to the Library at Chawton House (they do not have funds for this project). If you would like to “return” the book to Chawton to be part of their permanent collection, you would become one of GLOSS’s Team Heroes and we would be forever grateful. All donations are tax-deductible. Or, if you would consider selling the book back to CH now or in the future (or making a donation to the cause so we can purchase books as they become available – you can do that at the “North American Friends of Chawton House” website), we would add it to our wish-list of purchases and ask that you send the pictures noted above so it can be added to the website. Progress is slow, and because every book may not be able to return home, we hope this virtual library will serve as a useful research tool for future studies of reading habits in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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[CHL book with bookplate and shelf ticket]

Thank you for any help you can offer! 

For more information, please contact one of us:  

  1. Deborah Barnum – Board Member, North American Friends of Chawton House Library: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com
  2. Peter Sabor – Professor, Canada Research Chair in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Director of the Burney Centre, McGill University: peter.sabor [at] mcgill.ca
c2019, Reading with Austen blog