Today, December 16, is Jane Austen’s 238th birthday! I have quite a soft spot for our Jane, so I was too excited when a generous private donor gifted a first edition of Pride and Prejudice to Rare Books and Special Collections last year. We are also fortunate enough to have a first edition of Emma, Austen’s fourth novel and the last published before her death in 1817. In addition, we have some Victorian-era editions with lovely illustrations by Hugh Thomson and Charles E. Brock, as well as all kinds of other Jane Austen goodies.
Speaking of Hugh Thomson’s illustrations, the British Library has just released a number of scanned images on Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix, and repurpose. Included in this amazing selection are Thomson’s illustrations of Austen’s novels, including this one of the famous scene in Persuasion when Captain Wentworth gives Anne Elliot “the letter.” If you don’t already know about “the letter,” you really should.
If you’d like to celebrate Jane’s birthday by coming down to Rare Books and Special Collections to see some of our Austen holdings in person, we’d love to see you in our reading room any time during our open hours! Remember that you do not need to be affiliated with UBC to use our resources.
So happy birthday, Jane! Thank you for sharing your considerable talent and for continuing to give the world so much pleasure through your enduring works.