Jane Austen was a devout Christian

I have always found it curious that some feminists count Jane Austen in the pantheon of feminist heroines. I ‘ve heard it ever since feminism made it to the public arena way back in the 1970s. Her rubbishing of men in the form of Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice and the beautiful exchange between Anne Elliot and Captain Harville in Persuasion are evidence of her anti-patriarchal credentials. These incidents, one was likely to think, prove Jane was just short of calling all males rapists. Perhaps that’s a little overstated. But you get the point.

I thought it strange because Jane was a devout Christian. For feminists of the Marxist sort, Christianity, the standard bearer of the patriarchy, is the deadly enemy of women. The strength of her religious feelings may not hit you in the face in her novels although she shows a distinct partiality towards the clergy despite her hilarious (and devastating) satire of clergyman Mr Collins. But her letters and other documentary evidence show the depths of her religious feelings and the sort of Christianity she subscribed to. More about that in another post.

So it was pleasing to see Vic Sanborn on her website (Jane Austen’s World) acknowledging Jane’s Christian faith in the announcement that ‘a “Praying with Jane” blog tour will begin October 31st’ on her website’. The blog tour ‘will showcase Rachel Dodge’s deeply felt first book, which centres around three prayers Jane Austen wrote’. Rachel Dodge’s book is Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. See Dodge’s website for more information about this spectacular demonstration of Jane Austen’s Christian belief.

The extreme left have prevailed in Wentworth

The voters of the federal seat of Wentworth have elected lesbian and climate-change activist Kerryn Phelps to take the place of Malcolm Turnbull in the federal parliament. When you consider Turnbull’s contemptible betrayal of the Liberal Party, confirming what we conservatives always thought of him, Phelps is the appropriate substitute.

As expected, the cry has gone up from pretend Liberals like John Hewson to drag the party back from the extreme right. The electorate has sent the Liberal Party a message, they say. The leftist media (the Fairfax and Guardian newspapers, and the green-left ABC) have begun recycling the call. There has been a clear message from the Wentworth results, though, and it’s not Hewson’s.

That message is, first, the former Liberal blue-ribbon seat of Wentworth has gone green-left feral and, second, the Liberal Party must work all the harder to protect its conservative character to deal with the befouling and degradation of Australian culture and society it suffers from the green-left coalition of the Greens and the Labor Party. It has to scrape off the debilitating leftist barnacles that have clung to it over the years. They have to tell people like John Hewson and Amanda Vanstone to shut up and get lost. Mealy-mouth approaches to the subversives are chicken-hearted and achieve nothing.

Reorganisation of Castle and Vale complete

I thought it better that I complete the adjustments to The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and In this Vale of Tears immediately. It was a matter of moving chapters either from one to the other, or to the first book which I will begin as soon as I have finished with Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution. The reorganised editions of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and In This Vale Tears are now available on Smashwords and Amazon.com

Tony Abbott and women

One of the constant slanders of Tony Abbott is that he is misogynist, doesn’t understand women, and works against their interests. This is despite the evidence speaking against this slander. As my book on Tony Abbott in which I refute this slander, is ready for publication, it is useful to include here the testimony of someone who knows Tony better than anyone else, his wife Margie. The following is an intervention Margie thought necessary during the 2013 federal election when the abuse reached its peak.

DURING my husband Tony’s 18 years as a Member of Parliament, I have never sought to enter the political fray or to publicly comment on issues.

As the girls were growing up, Tony and I worked hard to keep politics out of our home.

It was only at the last election, with the girls old enough to make their own decisions, we decided as a family to get involved and get out and campaign with Tony.

Continue reading Tony Abbott and women

Announcement about the Winterbine Tetralogy

A REORGANISATION OF THE WINTERBINE SERIES

My original post was a rather complicated explanation of my extensive reorganization of the Winterbine series. The impetus to reorganize the series were the problems of chronology and the length of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss. These issues had been a nagging me. They were brought to a head when the Melbourne Catholic Reading Club made In This Vale of Tears the subject of discussion for one of their monthly meetings. To keep it simple, I have taken the backstory out of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and In This Vale of Tears as the basis for a new novel. 

The new novel is the first book in the series with In This Vale of Tears the second, and The Castle of Heavenly Bliss the third. The chronological sequence is now right. The fourth book is still in the planning which makes the series a tetralogy.

Book One develops the early story of Fr van Engelen, his niece Anneke, and Gerda Vrouwendijk with the location of the story in Australia, Holland and England (Sydney, Binawarra, Middelburg, Amsterdam and London). New characters, some Australian, will appear. The period will be from 1940 to 1972. The social background will be the Second Vatican Council and the 1960s student revolution. The themes of Gnosticism and the Goddess will be established.  There will be no change to the story although some adjustments have been made in The Castle of Heavenly Bliss. This first book, with the provisional title Times of Distress (from Luke 21), will provide the groundwork for the following three books.

The manuscript will be complete in the second half of 2019.

A writing holiday at Burleigh Heads


I have just returned from a five week holiday at Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast. It’s a terrific place for a holiday. It’s also a great place for writing inspiration. We had a unit on the headland overlooking the surf breaking against the rocks. Further along was the beach that stretches mile or so to Little Burleigh.

I rose early, listened to the news, and began writing by 8 am.  At 10 am my wife and I listened to the Dutch news on SBS. Then we went for a 45 minute walk along the beach after which I continued writing. Each time I looked up there were the rocks, the blue water, the blue sky, and sometimes the board riders on their waves. The scene reminded me of my visit to Dickens’s house at Broadstairs. He had a writing alcove on the staircase landing which overlooked the sea – The English Channel. Below are some photos of Burleigh in 2015 and 1957.

Update on my Tony Abbott book


I have finished the first major revision of Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution. I’ve added two more chapters to the first draft. Shortly I will begin  my second intense revision using the two editing programs Grammarly and ProWritingAid, both of which I can recommend. It will take another six weeks to bring the manuscript to  publishing stage. I will be looking for a publisher.

Celebrating the Genius of Jane Austen 200 years after her death


Australian politics is full of well known figures that resemble characters from Jane Austen novels, notes Paul Brunton, emeritus curator of the State Library of NSW.

Be they the “pompous, the stupid, the self-serving, the snobbish, the superficial and less often the sensible and altruistic”.

It is Austen’s ability to create characters recognisable in contemporary society – to “dissect human nature with the skill of a surgeon” – that marks her genius, says Brunton, and one reason among many to observe the 200th anniversary of the author’s death this Tuesday.

While the cause of Austen’s untimely death in Winchester, July 18, 1817, is disputed, a series of public events have been planned to celebrate the life and works of the novelist who wrote three classics of English literature before the age of 25. Read on…

Jane Austen and the State of the Nation


A review of Jane Austen and the State of the Nation by Laura Boyle

Jane Austen is universally acknowledged as an excellent writer with a fine grasp of the human condition. Her ever increasing number of fans, her inclusion in nearly every list of worthy writers and English Literature syllabi, her marketability and timeless appeal have created what might be called an international mania. Many would attribute her success to her wit and way with words, others to the age old stories of love and romance that she tells. It seems, however, as if there was more, much more, just beneath the surface: undertones and even overt messages that Jane Austen’s readers would have seen, but which are, for the most part, lost to today’s readers. After all, as Jane herself (in the guise of omniscient narrator) explains in Northanger Abbey:

“Oh! It is only a novel!…It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.”

I have, over the past few months, had the great privilege of first hearing and then reading the works of celebrated Austen scholar and international speaker, Dr. Sheryl Craig. The talk she addressed to our JASNA gathering in November, entitled “So Ended a Marriage”, looked at Mansfield Park in light of the divorce and custody laws current during Jane Austen’s day. Drawing from actual divorce transcripts, she carefully laid out a plausible defense for Austen’s use of the novel as political statement about the rights of women and their treatment as property. An abridged version of this talk can be found on Sarah Emsley’s Mansfield Park site, and the entirety has been printed in JASNA’s Persuasions #36. Read on…

 

Writer … and still in the fifties