West Road

Home Life in Jane Austen’s Time

Professor Amanda Vickery, academic and broadcaster

Friday 19th May 2017

5:30 pm

NO HAPPY ENDING? Home Life in Jane Austen’s Time

This lecture sets Austen in the material context of female households of declining status. This type of household, known as ‘the spinster cluster’ in the academic literature is largely neglected in the history of the family, which has devoted itself to marriages and nuclear units. Nor have these modest units figured much in the architectural history of houses or decorative arts scholarship on interiors, both of which prefer the grand and glamorous. But life was no less vivid in two room lodgings and objects no less meaningful in crowded rented houses. This lecture opens the door of real Barton cottages to colour the walls and stock the wardrobes. It is interested in the real women who whether by chance or design had to make a home without the protection, or government, of men.

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