Sunday, April 11, 2010

Events that led up to the birth of Jane Austen

Did you ever wonder what happened 100 years, 200 years, 900 years ago in years that end in the number ten. No? Well, some people might. So for the benefit of those who do care, here is a brief glimpse of the past. P.S. Eventually, I will get to Jane Austen.

1110 – Earliest record of a miracle play. It was performed in Dunstable, England. Why Dunstable? Paraphrasing Wikipedia, “Until the 11th century, this area of Bedfordshire, was an uncultivated tract covered by woodlands. In 1109 Henry I responded to dangers to travelers by clearing the land and encouraging settlement with offers of royal favor.” (No Robin Hood?)

This blurb would seem to argue against Dunstable being the first in doing anything in the one year of its existence since being abandoned by the Romans a half of a millennium earlier. Sounds like a promising subject for a doctoral thesis, and you get to live in England while you are doing the research; that is, if you don't already live in England, and then it's not a big deal.

1210 – Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, is excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. But as Edward Gibbons wrote in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the empire was neither “holy, Roman, nor an empire.”

Gottfriend von Strassburg wrote Tristan und Isolde, which is regarded as one of the great narrative masterpieces of the German Middle Ages (and a subject for future chick flicks). Through no fault of his own, Strassburg's work became a source of inspiration for Richard Wagner's operas.

1310 – Edward II is forced to appoint Lords Ordainers. The whole of Edward’s reign was a tragic, murderous, and grisly time in England’s history, and because this blog is often read by the fire during family gatherings, you must learn of his gruesome death on your own.

1410 – Jean Froissart, French poet and chronicler dies at the age of 73. Pretty darn good for the time. He was probably a beneficiary of the nutritional French paradox (clue: wine and cheese).


  1. Interesting association. Like I know two persons named Daisy. They are both flirters. So did the birth of JA have kind of similarity with these events?

    Really Angelic