By the Seaside with Sanditon: Worthing, the inspiration for Sanditon?

Eastbourne vs. Worthing? As we continue to explore Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel Sanditon it is interesting to ponder what Jane Austen used to model her emerging seaside resort of Mr. Parker’s creation. Julie at Austenonly presents a strong argument for the resort for Worthing in Sussex, also an emerging seaside resort in the early 1800’s that Austen visited with her family.

“There has been much speculation about Jane Austen’s inspiration for the town of Sanditon: was the place completely  imaginary or did she base it on a resort with which she was familiar? Eastbourne in Sussex has been mooted as a candidate, though as far as I am aware, Jane Austen is not recorded as ever having visited that town.

But she is recorded as having visited Worthing, another Sussex resort, and this definitely has possibilities for being her template for the developing resort of Sanditon.”

Visit Austenonly, Julie’s excellent blog to discover the evidence in support of her theory and decide for yourself. 

Upcoming event posts

Day 6 – March 20 Group Read Chapters 9-12
Day 6 – March 20 Review: Sanditon (Hesperus)
Day 7 – March 21 Sanditon Completions
Day 8 – March 22 Events Wrap-up

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5 thoughts on “By the Seaside with Sanditon: Worthing, the inspiration for Sanditon?

  1. Julie certainly writes out a compelling argument for Worthington. What a well researched and well presented piece of writing! =)

    With Worthington becoming an independent town in 1803 and the Austens visiting in 1805, the energy and excitement surrounding such a booming seaside town must have been something to behold. It didn’t even enter my imagination that the forerunners of spa (the warm baths?) were already in existence. =)

    Loved the likeness of Fanny Knight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this portrait of her. What a lovely face…

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    • Yes, my impression is Jane Austen’s stay at Worthington- likely contributed ideas and thoughts for Sanditon- recent town developments Jane observed, types of charecters who hung round sea resorts, a circulating library & trinkets, not to mention people ‘walking in circles’ ;)
      Jane Austen wrote on what she observed about her; the hustle & bustle in seaside towns like Worthington possibly made an impact on Jane which she used in writing Sanditon.

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  2. Julie makes an excellent case for Worthing, but I think I recall another post in which she said that she preferred to think of Austen’s people and places as, at most, conglomerations of the real, not direct replications. So I think I will go on thinking of Sanditon as a fully imaginary place, although the descriptions in “A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places” are priceless. I think it fascinating that the continuation by “Another Lady” also references this useful resource.

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