Confinement and Captivity in Jane Austen’s Musical and Literary Worlds

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


In Jane Austen’s surviving music collection, there are several songs that describe and dramatize the plight of captives of various kinds, including Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Marie Antoinette of France, or of women separated from their families and loved ones through circumstances beyond their control, including an English sailor’s wife and an Indian woman abandoned by her English ‘master’.
These songs resonate in interesting ways with the restriction and lack of agency of many of the female characters in Austen’s novels, particularly Mansfield Park and Persuasion. In this illustrated presentation I will draw together what might seem quite disparate strands in Austen’s life, musical repertoire, and novels to explore the themes of confinement and captivity.
Period17 May 2021
Held atISPELL (Indian Society for the Promotion of English Language and Literature), India
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Jane Austen
  • music
  • literature