Fickle Fortunes: Jane Austen and Germaine de Staël

  • Exhibitions
Event information
Location: Chawton House Library, Chawton, Hampshire, Alton, GU34 1SJ
Start date: 12/06/2017
End date: 24/09/2017
Start time: 11:00
End time: 17:00
Price: Included in admission. £7; Students/Friends £6
Telephone: 01420 541010

July 1817 saw two deaths: Jane Austen, at the time, was an English novelist with a solid but relatively modest success. Germaine de Staël was a long-standing superstar of pan-European intellectual, political and literary life. Over the two centuries since, the relative reputations of these two writers have re-aligned in ways that would have astonished their contemporaries, admirers and critics alike. The 4-month exhibition at Chawton House Library will present items in the library’s own collection alongside rare items sourced from other international research libraries, reflecting on Austen’s immense popularity, but also exploring the transient nature of celebrity by introducing one of the period’s most famous, and most oft forgotten, writers.

This joint anniversary provides an unrivalled opportunity to bring scholars together to reflect on the connections, continuities, and contrasts between these two writers’ careers, and to think about the waxing and waning of the literary reputations of eighteenth-century and Romantic-period European women writers more generally. During the exhibition Chawton House Library will host an international conference: ‘Reputations, Legacies, Futures: Jane Austen, Germaine de Staël, and their contemporaries.’ For further details, see our website at

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