Yesterday was Jane Austen’s 236th birthday.  I did not write a post on the big day itself because I was out with my local JASNA chapter celebrating it.  A good time was had by all.

I don’t need to repeat what I wrote last year, but the fact remains that Jane is still popular with a wide variety of people.  It’s still pretty amazing that the younger daughter of a country rector is remembered (and revered) for 6 novels and several unfinished stories 194 years after her death.


Let’s fast-forward a little bit from the Regency era to the years after World War I.  Yes, the Downton Abbey Christmas Special is due to air on ITV in the UK at 21:00 (9 p.m.) on Christmas night.  Here is the press pack:

As you will see, Sybil and Branson will not be around.  That makes sense — they’re not fabulously wealthy and can’t pop back and forth between Ireland and Downton on a whim.

Here are some stories about what may and may not happen:

And here ( is a trailer for the Christmas special.  I am dying to find out what happens to Mr. Bates and, by extension, to Anna.