The ultimate Austen adventure continues with our featured weekly columnist, Virginia Claire Tharrington straight from the trenches of Austen central, The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England where she is interning until December. Join her every Saturday as she shares with us her incredible adventure that every Janeite, and even Austen’s heroine Catherine Morland would envy
My first couple of weeks in Bath have been so wonderful. I feel much like Catherine Morland did when she arrived in Bath saying “Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath“. Bath so far has treated me much like it did Catherine. The Jane Austen Centre has been a highlight of my time here in Bath. Everyone at the Centre has been so nice and encouraging to me. I hope to be giving tours in the next week or two. The introductory talk which starts everyone’s tour of the exhibition at the Centre is giving by a member of staff. One of my goals is to be able to start giving this talk very soon about Jane Austen’s life, family, works and time here in Bath. The Centre has been a wonderful place for me to go each week to learn more about Jane Austen and to meet all the wonderful people who work there.
It is wild to be living in a city where Jane Austen lived and wrote about in several of her novels. I walk through the Circus and down Milson Street everyday on my way to class. (The Circus is where Admiral Croft was supposed to have taken lodgings). I live right behind the Royal Crescent and I pass many other places that she mentions in her works. I cannot even express the awe I feel sometimes when walking through the city of Bath. It is truly a beautiful place and magical even if you are not a Jane Austen fanatic.
I am very fortunate to not only be working as a Jane Austen intern but also to be taking a Jane Austen class. We are studying Northanger Abbey right now but I have loved being able to study Jane in the place where she was writing about. Last Wednesday my Jane Austen class went on a walking tour of the city, to hit some of the highlights that Jane talks about in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. One of the best places to see was the Upper Assembly rooms. It was fun to try and imagine the room packed for a Regency ball that perhaps Catherine, Anne or Jane herself would attend.
Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to dress in Regency costume and help with the cocktail party for the re-launch of the Jane Austen Regency World Magazine. I had a wonderful evening with many of the staff from the Centre. The magazine was bought by a local businessman who with the help of Sue Hughes the editor has revamped the magazine to a new, smaller, sleeker looking style. I cannot wait to see how the next couple of issues look because I know they will be great. The party was lovely and it was very fun to dress up and greet everyone coming in.
Bath has exceeded my expectations in every way and I am not sure if I will ever want to leave it.
Cheers till next week!
Virginia Claire Tharrington
Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England