Two of Jane Austen’s brother served in Nelson’s navy and later became admirals. Francis Austen, on board the Canopus, narrowly missed the battle of Trafalgar; Charles Austen in Endymion captured numerous small prizes. It is not surprising that that the Austen family, including Jane, took a deep personal interest in naval affairs. Apart from the church, the navy was the profession which she knew and admired most. Her novels reflected this: Mansfield Park includes a portrait of life in Portsmouth, the estimable midshipman William Price and the less attractive Admiral Crawford; Persuasion presents her most extended account of naval officers and attitudes, from the redoubtable Admiral Croft to Captain Wentworth himself. Jane Austen and the Navy demonstrates clearly the importance of the navy both in Jane Austen’s life and her novels.
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"She was convinced of sailors having more worth and warmth than any other set of men in England; that they only knew how to live, and they only deserved to be respected and loved!"--Jane Austen, Persuasion
About the Author
Brian Southam is a regular lecturer on Jane Austen.