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Jane Austen’s 235th Birthday

Happy Birthday Jane!

Jane Austen was born 235 years ago today. Given the emphasis of “the felicities of rapid motion” in her work, it’s an opportunity to introduce folks to English country dance, as they are doing in Frankfort, Kentucky, among other places. Or maybe just indulge in a little Colin Firth:

… and then learn it. Or analyze it.

Though you might be concerned about your health if there’s no dancing tonight, rest assured. It was Jane Austen, herself, who observed in Emma:

Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind….

Perhaps you could spend the day making arrangements for the Jane Austen Festival, which should have some nice dancing. Or reading a Jane Austen blog or two, where the dancing gets more than the passing mention.

Am I missing something? Share it in the comments.


Thanks to Allison Thompson for some fun and informational links. Read her enjoyable new paper, “The Rules of the Assembly: Dancing at Bath and Other Spas in the Eighteenth Century” which was just posted online. She also shared the very funny Jane Austen’s Fight Club youtube video.

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Categories: Features & Fun, History & Archives | Tags: , , + 3 Comments »


  1. Posted December 17, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    You might be interested in my ongoing posts on social dance in the early nineteenth century, archived at:

    in particular, “What did Jane Austen dance”

    and “Real Regency Dancers Don’t Turn Single”

    which has been cited all over the world — including the Jane Austen Centre in England — for taking apart the awfulness that is Austen-era dance in the movies.

    My articles look at the era from the perspective of a dance historian, rather than a modern social dancer.



    • Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink


      Wonderful. I’ve added Capering & Kickery to our blogroll. Let me know if there are any other good blogs out there.


  2. Posted December 17, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Likewise, we’ll be dancing in honor of Jane’s birthday on Sunday, December 19th, in the Boston area:

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