Regency Man Monday - James Austen

Rev. James Austen (1765-1819)

What we know about James from articles quoted on Wikipedia:
  • [Jane] acquired the remainder of her education by reading books, guided by her father and her brothers James and Henry.
  • Jane, Cassandra, and their mother were left in a precarious financial situation. Edward, James, Henry, and Francis Austen pledged to make annual contributions to support their mother and sisters.
  • The epitaph composed by her brother James praises Austen's personal qualities, expresses hope for her salvation, mentions the "extraordinary endowments of her mind", but does not explicitly mention her achievements as a writer.
What we know about James from his son:
  • Her eldest brother James, my own father, had, when a very young man, at St. John’s College, Oxford, been the originator and chief supporter of a periodical paper called ‘The Loiterer,’ written somewhat on the plan of the ‘Spectator’ and its successors, but nearly confined to subjects connected with the University.  In after life he used to speak very slightingly of this early work, which he had the better right to do, as, whatever may have been the degree of their merits, the best papers had certainly been written by himself.  He was well read in English literature, had a correct taste, and wrote readily and happily, both in prose and verse.  He was more than ten years older than Jane, and had, I believe, a large share in directing her reading and forming her taste.
Author Regina Jeffers wrote a piece back in 2012 about the Literary achievements of the Austen brothers. (Jane Austen's "Literary" Brothers)

James "wrote this poem soon after the appearance of her first-published work, Sense and Sensibility, when the knowledge of Jane Austen's authorship of the novel was still confined to her family. He pretended that it was written by an unknown admirer.

To Miss Jane Austen, reputed author of Sense and Sensibility, a Novel lately published

On such Subjects, no Wonder that she should write well
In whom so united those Qualities dwell;
Where "dear Sensibility", Sterne's darling Maid,
With Sense so attemper'd is finely portray'd.
Fair Elinor's self in that Mind is exprest,
And the feelings of Marianne live in that Breast.
Oh then, gentle Lady! continue to write,
And the Sense of your Readers t' amuse and delight.
A Friend" (via

Back in 2009, Austen Prose, wrote a wonderful post on James Austen

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