Recreating Regency Letter Writing and the Austen Canon

                                                                                               Period illustration from "The Regency Reader"

Today we communicate through texting, email, FaceTime, and telephones. Writing a letter may seem quaint today, but in the nineteenth century, letters were the chief form of communication. Unsurprisingly, letters play a key role in all of Austen’s Regency novels, but most particularly in Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Persuasion (1818). Using antique and reproduction writing implements from my personal collection and materials from the IdeaLab, students will practice writing with dip pens and ink, try cross-writing (a cost saving measure where one turns a letter 90 degrees and writes over it), fold a letter (rather than use an envelope), and affix a wax seal. To transform this token of affection into a lasting memento of our study of Jane Austen, we will display our letters in a virtual "case" to showcase critical crafting and make connections to Austen’s oeuvre, illuminating her literary legacy and Regency times.