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|Who did Jane Austen meet in Bath?
Written by Caroline
(2/25/2003 1:18 p.m.)
Ther are multiple suggestions in both the bios and the lit. crit. that Jane Austen MUST have met so-and-so in Bath, and "they" must have influenced her. These ideas sometimes include the rich and famous, major political figures, and teh arts community there.
Here's some examples:
1) Irene Collins makes the connection between Henry Tilney and Rev Sidney Smith, a wit famous for saying outrageous things in ways that did not offend his listeners. I find it tempting to think that JA would have met him inperson, and even conversed with him on occasion. Does anyone know anything more about him, and what he was doing in Bath in JA's time there?
2)From S Kaye-Smith and GB Stern's Speaking of Jane Austen
"We know that the novel (MP) was written after a silent interval of some years, which the author had spent mainly in Bath, where she would have had plenty of opportunty for hearing some of the great Evangelical preachers."
Does anyone know anything about the "great Evangelical preachers" in Bath at the time? Remember the date- Wesley is dying, and anyway has split form the Evangelicals at this point. The Methodists, who were very strong in the West country, and probably in Bath too, don't actually count as Evangelicals anymore. So, who were the Evangelical preachers, were they in Bath, and what is the liklihood of JA being influenced by them, do you think?
3) Various hypochondriacal and sick folk who were seeing doctors, taking the waters , etc etc. Can anyone name any? Were there any prototypes for Mr Woodhouse, Mrs Smith etc.that we can find? Any particular doctors or apothecaries that might be models for Mr Perry?
4) Local Bath personages, like Mr Allen the builder- dead before JA arrived , but his legacy of architecture and philanthropy all over the place. Mr King, the master of Ceremonies at the Assembly Rooms, did actually exist , too, although I believe that he had passed on too by the time JA arrived there.
5) the local Militia- what were the Somerset regiment doing in these years? What militia regiments did rotations in Bath, Bristol and Taunton at this time?
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