We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
GB
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the United Kingdom version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > April 2017 > Galloping girl

Galloping girl

Tory or radical, prude or saucepot—there have been many Jane Austens down the ages. But her genius lies in dramatising the thrilling risks of living at breakneck speed

Jane Austen wrote fast and died young. Her life on paper may have spanned three decades, but all six of her celebrated novels made their public appearance between 1811 and 1817. The phrase “tell-tale compression,” self-consciously applied by the narrator towards the end of Northanger Abbey (1817), captures something of Austen’s authorial career, too. Indeed, in her case it is appropriate that the word “career” can mean a short gallop at full speed, as well as the potentially slower progress of an individual’s working life. Novelists are more usually seen as long-distance runners than as sprinters, and Austen’s mature fiction has been cherished for the gradual emergence into consciousness of its heroines’ thoughts and feelings. Yet speedy progress—described in Emma (1815) as the “felicities of rapid motion”—remained central to this writer’s craft from start to finish.

Two hundred years ago, on St Swithun’s Day in 1817, Austen, near death, dictated an odd poem about horse racing to her sister Cassandra. From her sick bed in Winchester, she imagined how the festivities outside her window had come into being. The poem opens like this:

When Winchester races first took their beginning

It is said the good people forgot their old Saint

Not applying at all for the leave of Saint Swithin

And that William of Wykeham’s approval was faint.

The races however were fixed and determined

The company came and the Weather was charming

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Prospect Magazine - April 2017
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - April 2017
£4.99
Or 499 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only £ 1.92 per issue
SAVE
62%
Was £33.99
Now £22.99
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only £ 2.99 per issue
SAVE
40%
£2.99
Or 299 points

View Issues

About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s April issue: Ross McKibbin, John Curtice and Lisa Nandy examine the state of the Labour Party and question its survival at the next general election. McKibbin takes a long view and suggests that the party’s problems started long before Jeremy Corbyn, Curtice argues that breaking the party is unlikely to go as well as some may think and Nandy argues that tackling unaccountable power could help restore faith in the party. Nicholas Timmins says the NHS has always experienced financial crises so is this time any different? Lucy Wadham charts the rise of France’s Front National. Also in this issue: Owen Hatherley explores Edinburgh’s architectural conundrum, Freya Johnston on Jane Austen and Avi Shlaim on the tragedy of Yitzhak Rabin—the last best hope for peace.
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points