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African American History Forum

Jane Austen's ethnic identity

[Jane Austen (1775-1817)]


Recently I finished my two year scientific research based on the pen portraits in the works of Jane Austen, and the way she herself was described as with: 'a rich brown complexion.' And 'not pink.' All her personages are either 'light brown or sallow, brown, very brown, or black.'
Amazingly no scholar has commented on these descriptions and movies cast a blond actress in the roll of Marianne Dashwood who is described as: 'very brown, with dark eyes.'
Emma's (1816):'Mr. Elton, black, spruce and smiling,' yet is played by a white actor.
Emma wants him to marry her blond friend Miss Smith and mr. Elton and mr. Knightley are extremely offended. Austen is discussing 'race-mixing' which one cannot tell if one wrongly believes all parties to be whites.
From Mansfield Park we understand that: Mr. Crawford was 'absolutely plain, black and plain: but still he was the gentleman' while his lovely sister Mary Crawford was: 'brown, with a lively black eye.'
Catherine Morland is a sallow, while her handsome hero, Mr. Tilney is 'brown.'
According to Austen there was a time when a brown or black complexion was 'distinguished.'
Next to her personal descriptions as very brown, I identify a new portrait of Jane Austen which also show her 'Classical African' facial features, which she probably defines as 'peculiar' when she discusses Jane Fairfax's elegant beauty. Fairfax cannot be called 'fair,' Austen writes, but has 'enough colour for beauty.'
Her brother Henry Austen states that Austen's: ' pure and eloquent blood shone in her modest cheecks.'
My research is thus based on Austen's own words and the question why eurocentrism does not pick up on the abundance of colour in her books and letters.
The question next is when Blacks will start paying attention, now this is pointed out to them.
You can read my blogspot article on Jane Austen and my Blue blood is Black blood (1500-1789) theory which should be used as a theoretical framework to understand the significance of Jane Austen for Black History.

Combine Blue blood is black blood. and blogspot. and com in google to find my blog.

Egmond Codfried

Messages In This Thread

Jane Austen's ethnic identity
Re: Jane Austen's ethnic identity

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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