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Pen and Parsimony: Carriages in the Novels of Jane Austen

Jane Austen refers to horse-drawn carriages almost 400 times in her novels. From Mr. Thorpe’s “well hung, town-built” gig, to Anne Wentworth’s “very pretty landaulette,” to the chaise and four that brings Mr. Bingley to Netherfield, her references are remarkably specific.

What is Austen trying to tell us? Watch this two-part video series, beautifully produced by Sandy Lerner, and find out. Be sure to read her blog post introducing the series as well. There, Lerner describes how she started driving carriages and was inspired to translate the once-familiar language of carriages for modern readers.

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In this video created for JASNA's 2020 Virtual AGM, Sandy Lerner discusses the various types of carriages mentioned in Austen's novels and shows why it's good to know a little about them when you read Jane Austen. By comparing the horse-drawn vehicles to modern-day cars, Lerner makes the social and economic implications of Austen's carriage references even clearer. 

Copyright Sandy Lerner 

Part 2

What was it like to be cast out from Northanger Abbey in a public coach? Ride in John Thorpe's gig? Journey to London crammed in a post chaise like the Steele sisters and Dr. Davies? Watch Part 2 of "Pen and Parsimony: Carriages in the Novels of Jane Austen" and find out. The short video shows us what it was like to ride in these carriages and travel in Austen's time. 

Copyright Sandy Lerner 

Learn More

 The video series "Pen and Parsimony: Carriages in the Novels of Jane Austen" is based on a breakout talk Sandy Lerner presented at the 1999 and 2013 AGMs. She has graciously provided her breakout talk as a reference for those who would like more in-depth information.

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Sandy Lerner, OBE, cofounded Cisco Systems in 1984, moved on to create the cosmetics company Urban Decay, and now owns and operates an organic farm. Her foundation acquired a 125-year lease on Chawton House, funded its restoration, and established Chawton House Library, a center for the study of women’s literature in English during the period 1600-1830. Lerner is the author of Second Impressions, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, anCaticons: 4,000 Years of Art Imitating Cats, and has many other pursuits, including carriage-driving and jewelry-making. She has been driving carriages since 1994 and is a founding member of the Four-in-Hand Club of America. 


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