Jane's Fighting Ships

Park Honan, author of a new biography of Jane Austen, describes how her naval brother's exploits informed her of the world beyond the genteel tea-cup society of her novels.

1805 was a full year for the Austens: Jane Austen at Bath followed news of the naval war – and would make use of her knowledge in writing Mansfield Park and Persuasion. She outwitted enemy interceptor-ships to get letters to her brother Frank, one of Nelson's favoured captains.

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