Posted by Stolzi on January 16, 1998 at 11:49:32:
In response to Austen & Crabbe??, written by SaraDJ on January 15, 1998 at 12:06:17
In the intro to George Crabbe it says, "A list of some of his other admirers, down to the end of the nineteenth century, quickly indicates that they have been select and diverse: Wordsworth, Byron, ... and Jane Austen (who thought it would be pleasant to be Mrs. Crabbe). [emphasis mine.] I know I haven't read all the biographies or letters, yet this is the first I'd heard about her liking (let alone thinking it 'pleasant' to marry) George Crabbe!
If anyone has any other info about this, please share!
OK, I went off to my most wonderful wedding gift: the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. I have info about Crabbe for those who might want to know, but I don't have any about when/where Jane expressed this fondness for him.
It says George Crabbe (1754-1832) was an English poet, from Suffolk, ... grew up clever ... worked hard but could hardly make a living; was assisted by the money of his sweetheart, to whom he was engaged for eleven years. (Jane couldn't have helped much in that regard, had she been the sweetheart.) Neither medical practice nor his poetry availed. At last he found a patron who assisted him in entering the clergy and finding a living.
In 1807 he began to publish verse again; in 1813 he was widowed, and died in 1832..
"These last years were the most prosperous of his life. He was a constant visitor to London, and in friendship with all the literary celebrities of the time." He also engaged in flirtations and a couple of abortive proposals, and was much addicted to opium in his later years. (Oh, Jane!)
Crabbe's verse has been highly praised by those who should know (Fitzgerald, Sir Leslie Stephen, Cardinal Newman...) and the author of the EB article says he even had talent as a novelist.
You can see where a lit'ry clergyman living in the countryside would appeal to JA.
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