Between the Pages: Quotes from Jane Austen

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Between the Pages is a new, weekly blog series which explores the life, times and creative works of well-known authors. I plan to run the blog series until the end of 2015, focusing on one author per month. New posts every Tuesday, plus occasional bonus posts.

The first post in the series is a brief biography of the author, the second looks at the historical period of the author, and the third post discusses their creative works. Finally, the last post includes selected quotations and short excerpts by the author.


We made it! This post marks the end of the first month of my Between the Pages blog series. We had a whistle-stop tour of Jane Austen’s life, the Georgian era and social customs of the time (with a bonus post about dresses and dancing), and her creative works.

I had fun being creative with this post. The fourth post in this series features a few select quotes from each Between the Pages author that we discuss throughout the month. Rather than simply assembling some quotes, I wanted to include a visual element as well.

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Between the Pages — Jane Austen’s Writing

TITLE HER

Between the Pages is a new, weekly blog series which explores the life, times and creative works of well-known authors. I plan to run the blog series until the end of 2015, focusing on one author per month. New posts every Tuesday, plus occasional bonus posts.

The first post in the series is a brief biography of the author, the second looks at the historical period of the author, and the third post discusses their creative works. Finally, the last post includes selected quotations and short excerpts by the author.


During her lifetime, Jane Austen wrote six full-length novels: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. 

She started writing when she was in her early teens and her juvenilia consists of short stories, poems and comic plays. Her early writing is quite different to her novels; it is full of extravagant characters and slapstick events. Between 1793 – 1795, Jane wrote Lady Susan, a novel told in letters about a seductive widow who hunts for husbands for herself and her daughter.

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Between the Pages bonus post: Dresses and Dancing

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I enjoy watching the styles, sets and scenery of Jane Austen’s novels portrayed on screen and learning about the fashions of the period. Seeing as my last post only covered a very small amount of contextual material for this month’s featured author, why not indulge in a Between the Pages bonus post?

Clothes and fashions change all the time, although I do wonder whether fashions today are becoming less defined. In a few decades’ time, when historians look back on decades in the early 2000s, what will the defining fashions be?

Each decade in the 20th century has a standout fashion. The 1920s had flapper dresses and the rise of Coco Chanel; beautifully feminine bias-cut dresses were popular in the ’30s; the wartime years in the 1940s saw practical fashions, with red lipstick and pincurls to add a touch of glamour; and Dior’s New Look was launched near the end of the decade, leading into the full-skirted ’50s.

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Between the Pages — Jane Austen’s Era

TITLE HER

Between the Pages is a new, weekly blog series which explores the life, times and creative works of well-known authors. I plan to run the blog series until the end of 2015, focusing on one author per month. New posts every Tuesday.

The first post in the series is a brief biography of the author, the second looks at the historical period of the author, and the third post discusses their creative works. Finally, the last post includes selected quotations and short excerpts by the author.

Jane Austen lived from 1775 – 1817, a period in British history which is known as the Georgian era. The Georgian period lasted from 1714 – 1837 and it includes the Regency period from 1792 – 1837, after which the Victorian era began. In this post, I am curious about exploring this era and the impact of Jane Austen’s times on her writing.

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Between the Pages — Jane Austen’s Life

TITLE HER

Between the Pages is a new, weekly blog series which explores the life, times and creative works of well-known authors. I plan to run the blog series until the end of 2015, focusing on one author per month. New posts every Tuesday.

The first post in the series is a brief biography of the author, the second looks at the historical period of the author, the third post discusses their creative works. Finally, the last post includes selected quotations and short excerpts by the author.

We begin the first Between the Pages with my all-time favourite author: Jane Austen. When I planned this blog series, I wrote a list of authors whose life, times and writing I want to explore. The list is quite long and there are more authors on it than I will be able to write about in the months until the end of the year but if the series is successful, then perhaps I will continue it.

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What’s Your Opinion about Cultural Life?

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As part of my ongoing effort to develop and improve my blog, I have created a reader survey. You can access the survey by clicking the image above or by clicking here: Please share your opinions about Cultural Life

It’s a short survey and it shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to complete. Your responses will help me to understand my readers better and to publish even more posts which you will enjoy.

The survey is completely anonymous, and none of the questions are mandatory, so if you don’t have anything to say for some of the questions, feel free to skip them. But I would love to hear your responses to all of the questions. Thank you very much!

Fun with Blogging 201!

I’m having a lot of fun with Blogging 201, which is a two-week WordPress course about developing your blog. I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging out in The Commons, which is the Blogging 201 area for chatting about all things blog-related.

Fun with Blogging 201

Although my blog looks fairly similar to how it did before I started the Blogging 201 course, changes are going on behind the scenes. I have plans for scheduling a blog series: a succession of posts which all relate to a particular topic. As I sit here and type, my notebook is open beside me with plans for my blog series.

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Three Blogging Goals: Focus, Engagement and Design

You might have noticed that a Blogging University badge has appeared in my sidebar. During the next couple of weeks, I’m taking part in Blogging 201: Branding and Growth. This WordPress course is designed to help bloggers who feel they are familiar with the basics of blogging and who want to move on to topics such as design, creating a blogging ‘brand’, and growing their blogs.

Image courtesy of Steve Bridger, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Steve Bridger, sourced from Flickr Creative Commons

As part of Blogging 201, we outlined our three blogging goals for the rest of 2015. My goals are:

1. To increase my average daily hits by 25% by the end of 2015

I plan to achieve this goal by creating posts with a specific focus (e.g. a series of posts about a particular topic) and by setting myself a weekly target. At the moment, I post as and when I have time. This is usually a minimum of once per week, but I’d like to create a regular schedule and perhaps post on specific days during the week.

2. To encourage more engagement with my blog

Essentially, this involves receiving more comments on my posts. It’s great to receive feedback and I’m always appreciative of comments, so I aim to encourage more people to stop by and interact.

3. To improve the design of my blog and make some changes to my blog theme

One of the Blogging 201 tasks has encouraged me to think about the design of Cultural Life. This involves thinking about my ‘brand’ and how I can make my blog stand out in the crowd.

Do you keep a blogging schedule where you post on particular days per week, say, Mondays and Fridays?

Have you changed your blogging theme or kept the same one since you first started blogging?

And for bloggers who receive dozens of comments on each post, how do you encourage people to engage with your blog?

What’s Your Blog Name Origin Story?

When I started blogging four years ago, I knew that I wanted a blog title which would give me the scope to write about multiple topics. I also wanted my blog title to evoke culture in a dual sense.

Screenshot from Oxford Dictionaries

Screenshot from Oxford Dictionaries

In other words, I wanted to come up with a blog title which would reflect my curiosity about culture in an anthropological sense, giving me the opportunity to write posts about travel, language and linguistics as well as exploring the culture of literature, film and music.

Whether or not we choose to follow popular culture or engage with the arts, we are all influenced by society and its customs, and for many people, cultural choices form part of their identity.

I experimented with various combinations of Cultural + ?, before settling on Cultural Life. I think that adding life into my blog title adds a personal touch to my blog. It gives me the freedom to write about aspects of my life as well as acknowledging that our daily lives are bound up in culture.

Laptop blog photo

An ideal set-up for an afternoon of blogging!                                                                   Thanks to Public Domain Archive for the photo.

So, that’s how I created my blog name!

What’s your blog name origin story? How did you decide on a blog title? And what do you want your blog title to convey to your audience?

Musings from a Soon-to-be Graduate

Graduation frame - public domain image Text added by Grace @ Cultural Life.

Graduation frame – public domain image
Text added by Grace @ Cultural Life.

Last year, I was walking to class one day and another student was talking on his phone in front of me. Snippets of his conversation floated back to me and one of them was:

“Can you believe it? I’m actually getting a degree!”

I smiled when I heard this because I understood the feeling. As students, we know that we will get our degrees, as long as we study and work hard — well, even the students who don’t work hard can get degrees, but their degree classification will most likely suffer! — but it still feels slightly surreal.

When I walked out of the exam room for the last time, having spent the past two hours intensely focused on writing exam answers, I felt a strange mix of happiness and wistfulness. Graduation is a time of change and transition, which can bring mixed emotions with it. As I reflect on the past few years, I can see how far I have come and how much I have changed from day one to the last day of my undergraduate degree studies. I have developed increased self-assuredness and strength, as well as confidence in my own abilities and determination to reach my goals and push through challenges.

I completed my degree at the end of May and I received my official result in June: I am graduating with a First Class Honours degree! As most of my readers are from North America, achieving a First in your degree is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA. Needless to say, I am very happy with my degree classification! I’ll share some photos after my graduation ceremony in a few weeks.

Jumping for joy! (Public domain image source)

On the whole, my undergrad experience wasn’t the stereotypical student life; my mother developed a serious illness in my first year of studying and it culminated in a year’s leave of absence from my studies while I coped with being her caregiver and all the responsibilities which it entailed. However, I returned to academic life after my leave of absence and the experience gave me a greater sense of perspective.

Meanwhile, although it is exciting to graduate, I am already busy formulating a plan for the next step: working while studying part-time for a Masters by Research.

I have a research proposal for a linguistics project which is ready to go ahead and I will be sharing more about this in the coming weeks. The only obstacle is that the project needs funding. Earlier this year, I applied for funding from an academic research council, but unfortunately I didn’t get it. There are no scholarships available; I have written to educational trusts in the hope of obtaining a small grant, but many of them only fund undergraduates or PhD students.

Public domain image

Academic funding budgets are small and have been cut in recent years. As a result, more and more graduates are turning to alternative and entrepreneurial ways of funding academic projects, including crowdfunding. As a student said in a Financial Times article,

“It’s really hard to find funding for postgraduate courses in the UK, in the same way that it’s really hard to afford the fees for undergraduate courses in the US”

I plan to work to fund living expenses and I will conduct my linguistics research part-time, which will take two years. Although I have mixed feelings about it, I am investigating crowdfunding as a funding method; my university has its own crowdfunding platform and other postgraduates have successfully raised funds.

Cultural Life is strictly non-commercial and is a space for me to share posts and connect with other bloggers. However, I decided to join Amazon Associates a few days ago after seeing that a few blogging acquaintances use it. If you click through to Amazon and make purchase anything via my Associates link, I get a tiny percentage as a reward for referring you to Amazon. Anything that I receive from being an Amazon affiliate is going to fund my project. Thank you very much!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

As always, I welcome feedback and discussion in the comments section. What advice would you offer to graduates who are transitioning to the next phase in their career?

Also, I am aware that crowdfunding can elicit negative responses — what do you think about the growing trend for postgraduate researchers to seek support via crowdfunding platforms? Please be honest! I’d love to hear what my readers think!