Birthdays and Jane Austen

 

Tomorrow, I turn the ripe old age of 72. I am a VIRGO. Some of you know what that means. Some of you are about to learn. 

Horoscope.com tells us these Virgo Facts

  • Symbol:   The Virgin
  • Element:   Earth
  • Polarity:   Negative
  • Quality:   Mutable
  • Ruling Planet:   Mercury
  • Ruling House:   Sixth
  • Spirit Color:   Silver
  • Lucky Gem:   Peridot
  • Flower:   Sunflower & marigold
  • Top Love Matches: Cancer   
  • Key Traits:   Graceful, organized, kind
  • Motto:   “My best can always be better.

Smart, sophisticated, and kind, Virgo gets the job done without complaining. Virgos are amazing friends, always there to lend a hand and also lend advice. Practical Virgos are incredibly adept at big picture thinking, and planning out their life, their vacations, and what they’re going to do today isn’t a drag it makes them feel in control and secure.

Virgos have a rich inner life, and can sometimes seem shy at first meeting. A Virgo will not spill secrets right away, and it is important to earn a Virgo’s trust. But once you do, that Virgo will be a friend for life. 

Virgos expect perfection from themselves, and they may project those high standards on the other people in their lives. A Virgo hates when someone lets him or her down, even if the indiscretion is minor and unavoidable, like a last-minute cancellation. Virgos never want to disappoint the people in their lives, so they may spread themselves too thin and put themselves last.

Intelligent and a lifelong learner, Virgos loves trying new things, reading books, and learning about the world. They will happily sign up for an adult-education course, and they consider an afternoon in bed with a book pretty much ideal. A Virgo prefers an evening with good friends to a huge party and values downtime just as much as socializing. This sign does not need to fill their calendar to be content.

All this talk of birthdays got me thinking about the lack of birthday celebrations in Austen’s novels. It is quite disheartening to have others forget one’s birthday, but it was not so for Jane Austen and her family. We know Christmas had not the “glorious significance” as it does these days, but what of birthdays? Quite simply, as Anglicans, such humoring of a person, would have been frowned upon.

Sense-and-Sensibility-007Can you think of one person in Austen’s books who even mentions a birthday? The only one which springs to mind to me is Harriet Smith in Emma. Harriet speaks of hers and Robert Martin’s birthdays occurring within a fortnight, and those birthdays were separated only by one day.

As readers we know many of the characters’ ages. Lydia Bennet is but fifteen when we first meet her, but she is sixteen when she marries George Wickham. Marianne Dashwood is seventeen at the beginning of Sense and Sensibility and is nineteen when she marries Colonel Brandon. Fanny Price is a child when she first comes to Mansfield Park; yet, never once are her birthdays mentioned as a passing of time. Jane Fairfax is approaching one and twenty and the prospect of becoming a governess. Charlotte Lucas at seven and twenty has “become a burden to her family.” Elizabeth Elliot is nearly thirty and not married, and Anne Elliot is seven and twenty when Captain Wentworth returns to claim her. Catherine Morland turns eighteen just before Henry Tilney claims her as his wife. Even Elizabeth Bennet must have had a birthday somewhere in the year she had taken Mr. Darcy’s acquaintance. But when? There is no mention of her chronological aging, only her emotional aging. The closest we come to knowing something of Elizabeth’s age is when she admits to being twenty to Lady Catherine. But we do not know if she was nineteen when the book began and turned twenty some time between November when she dance with Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball, or whether, like me, she is a September baby, turning one and twenty after she encounters Darcy again at Pemberley. Is such true for all of Austen’s characters? Austen wrote from her life experiences. If she did not “celebrate” such milestones, why would her characters? Tell me what you think. Am I being bizarre or is there some truth in this assumption?

Meanwhile, enjoy this list of September birthdays celebrated by some of our favorite Austen Actors. 


party-clip-art-balloons-different-coloursHappy September Birthday to these Fabulous Austen-Inspired Actors…

 

images September 1 – Aisling Loftus, who portrayed Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 

Unknown-3henrySeptember 7 Christopher Villers, who portrayed Tom Bertram in 1983 Mansfield Park

September 7 – Henry Maguire, who portrayed Jack Wickam in 2003’s Pride and Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

 

Unknown-4Unknown-5September 9Hugh Grant, who portrayed Edward Ferrars in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility

September 9 Julia Sawalha, who portrayed Lydia Bennet in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice

 

 

Unknown-3September 10 Colin Firth, who portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice Unknown-4

September 11 – Alan Badel, who portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy in 1958’s Pride and Prejudice (11 September 1923 to 19 March 1982)

 

 

images-2September 15 – Sabina Franklyn, who portrayed Jane Bennet in 1980’s Pride and Prejudice Unknown-5

September 16 – Alexis Bledel, who portrayed Georgiana Darcy in Bride and Prejudice

 

 

imagesUnknown-3September 19 David Bamber, who portrayed Mr. Collins in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice 

September 22 – Billie Piper, who portrayed Fanny Price in 2007’s Mansfield Park

 

Unknown-4September 22 – Rupert Penry Jones, who portrayed Captain Frederick Wentworth in 2007’s PersuasionUnknown-6

September 23 – Crispin Bonham Carter, who portrayed Charles Bingley in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice

 

 

2b03d4f0September 23Peter Settelen, who portrayed George Wickham
in 1980’s Pride and Prejudice 

 

 

 

hqdefault September 24 – Ryan Paevey, who portrayed Donovan Darcy in Unleashing Mr. Darcy

 

images-1 September 26Talulah Riley, who portrayed Mary Bennet in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice

 

 

2202857,tjUBdj3LNXhm0qAuo3TLB1ygUfTrZOGQXAeMS1OawmjRfXEvlZLprOD9Mx5Ha3GHNTcYybJh04GQPbBKSvfyoQ==Unknown-3September 26Edmund Gwenn, who portrayed Mr. Bennet in 1940’s Pride and Prejudice (26 September 1877 to 6 September 1959)

September 27 Gweyneth Paltrow, who portrayed Emma Woodhouse in 1996’s film version of Emma

 

Unknown-4September 29 – Greer Garson, who portrayed Elizabeth Bennet in 1940’s Pride and Prejudice (29 September 1904 to 6 April 1996)

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
This entry was posted in film adaptations, Jane Austen, real life tales, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Birthdays and Jane Austen

  1. Colin Firth seems to have gone against the way of male actors, They always seemed to me at least to become more handsome as they grew older and matured, but somehow I don’t think Mr Firth did/does. I doubt Miss Bennett would now consider him handsome, wet shirt or not! 🙄

    • I am so glad to hear from you, Brian. You’ve been on my mind for several days.
      Twenty years is a long time. Firth was 35 (older than Darcy’s 28 years) in 1995 when the mini-series came out. Jennifer Ehle was 26 (older that Elizabeth Bennet’s 20 years). Did you see Firth in “Kingsman”? He looked quite fit in that one.

  2. n and h for insertions thanks Regina 🙂

  3. Vee says:

    Wow what a line up! Great list Regina. I didn’t know Colin played Mr Darcy 😋
    I must get my hands on that 1958 adaptation!

  4. Vee says:

    Wow what a collection. I have some firm favourites in this lot! Thanks Regina 🙂

  5. Happy birthday, Regina! Smart, sophisticated, and kind … your Virgo traits come across very well in everything you write. All my best to you as you celebrate your special day!

  6. BeckyC says:

    Happy Birthday, Regina!! Love this post!

  7. Jennifer Redlarczyk says:

    Love all of these birthdays. My first husband’s birthday was Sept 12 and that is the date I always give to Darcy for his birthday. Silly me. Georigiana gets August 17 which was my sister Melody’s birthday and Elizabeth gets May 6th which is my niece, Jessica’s birthday – daughter of Melody and one of my betas. As for the rest, I really haven’t given them as much thought. I hope you had a great day! AND will have many more. Jen ♫

    • I do August for Georgiana and September for Darcy also, Jen. I usually have Elizabeth in April, after her visit to Hunsford. She turns 21 after telling Lady C that she is 20.

  8. Buturot says:

    Belated happy Birthday Regina. Hope it was great one. Blessin gto you always.

    Thanks for this well-research facts about the JA character actors/actresses… WOW

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