Please Help Save Jane Austen’s House

By Pierre Terre, CC BY-SA 2.0,

All hands on deck, Gentle Readers. We started receiving messages this morning that Jane Austen’s House Museum is in trouble. You can contribute to help save it.

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Jane Austen’s Ring Campaign now accepting online donations


Alert Janeite Cinthia let us know that the JA House Museum is now accepting online donations at The suggested amounts are shown in your local currency–and you can change it to something different if you prefer. If you want to know how much the museum will receive in British pounds, Google “currency converter” and a converter appears at the top of the results.

If you can give, even a little, please do. If you can’t (and believe us, we know times are tough right now), please spread the news on social media and among your Janeite acquaintances.

Anonymous Donor Contributes £100,000 Towards Jane Austen Ring Purchase


austen_ringMore good news! Jane Austen’s House Museum has announced that an anonymous donor has contributed £100,000 towards the purchase of Jane Austen’s turquoise ring from Kelly Clarkson.

The museum has now raised enough to “show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring”.

It has until December to raise a further £49,000. The museum, in Chawton, Hampshire, is Jane Austen’s former home.

Thank you, anonymous donor! But there’s still a long way to go. Please read our post about how to donate and consider sending a donation if you are able, even a small one. We know times are tough for many of us right now, so if you can’t donate, spread the word! Twitter, Facebook, G+, wherever you hang out online, let everyone know about this campaign.

Jane Austen’s House Museum Raising Funds to Buy Her Ring (UPDATED 2x with information about ONLINE donating)


The campaign is over and won!

UPDATE about online donation: Alert Janeite Cinthia sent along the news that the Museum is now accepting online donations at The donation amounts appear to be in your local currency (for me, it appeared in US Dollars) so if you want to check how much the Museum will actually get, use a currency converter. (Google “currency converter” and one will pop up at the top of the page.)

YES! Jane Austen’s House Museum has announced a fundraiser to raise money to purchase Jane Austen’s turquoise ring from Kelly Clarkson (see our previous post and the lively discussion that followed). We will contact the Museum and try to get more information. Let’s do this, Janeites!

UPDATE: We heard from Louise West, the director of the museum. She sent us a donation form. She said for international contributors, it will be better to use a credit card; with a check, they will lose money because of the exchange rate. For UK contributors, we imagine a cheque will be the best way to donate. Please download, print, and post your contribution–do not send a credit card number by email!

Also, if they do not receive enough money to purchase the ring, they will keep your donation for the operation of the museum, unless you let them know differently. (Seriously, just let them keep it. The Museum does great work and is a wonderful place to visit.)

Louise also sent the following statement about this fundraising effort:

We do want to stress that we are not wanting to buy the ring because we don’t approve of Kelly Clarkson’s ownership. Indeed we are very encouraged that someone who is young and very popular wants to own the ring; it says a lot about Jane Austen’s reputation among young people. We are trying to buy it now because we wish to keep the ring at Jane Austen’s home as we feel this is the most appropriate place. We tried to raise money before the auction but didn’t have enough time. Hopefully we now have.

Everyone please donate! Don’t forget to use airmail postage if necessary. Take the time to go to your local post office and make sure you have the right amount of postage. Let’s do this!

Press release after the jump: Continue reading

Linkapalooza: Mr. Darcy’s Pheromones Edition


And if that title doesn’t bring ’em running from their RSS feeds, we’ve really lost our touch.

Researchers have named a newly-identified mouse pheromone in the urine of male mice “Darcin” after you-know-who. The pheromone, a protein in the urine, attracts female mice to a particular male mouse.

The mice were presented with two urine scent marks, one male and one female, and the amount of time they spent near each was recorded. In some tests the mice could physically contact the scent mark, in other tests they received only airborne scent.

Hurst said, “Contact with darcin consistently doubled the time spent near a male’s scent. Touching darcin with the nose also made females learn that particular male’s odour, subsequently tripling the time spent near to the airborne scent of that individual male but showing no attraction to other males.”

That should make for some interesting fanfics. Thanks to the Alert Janeites who sent in this item: Laurel Ann, Sandra, and Carolyn.

Le Revolucion, he continues: Alert Janeite Peg sent a link to a lovely if profane rant by one Garland Grey, who has a few things to say about Austen monster mashups. We noted a while back that many of the monster mashups seem to be written by men, but not all of them; not anymore.

If the volcanoes are keeping you home this summer, do a little virtual travel with A Visit to Miss Austen’s House.

But none of this paraphernalia made the kind of impression on me I expected . . . Had I not read enough of the Austen canon? Was this just not a period of English history that came high on my list? Was it the damping effect of the signs for tourist set up almost as soon as you cross into Hampshire, telling tourists they’re “Welcome to Jane Austen Country”? Was it that the museum-like fixtures made the place seem less of a house where real people lived?

We felt the same way…it hit us at Steventon Church, actually. It’s just so OLD.

Oh, and this:

I see it mooted on some other blogs that “Brontë is the new Austen”—though they don’t mention which Brontë and apparently mean all of them put together.

Everyone knows when we say that we’re being ironic and stuff, right? Right. (And yes, it’s all three put together, because we are mocking the press which not only compresses the three Brontë sisters into one–really the two Brontë sisters, because no one ever seems to remember poor Anne–but considers them interchangeable with Jane Austen.)