Jane Austen’s The History of England inspired Quills! Elizabethan Edition I & II, which encompasses the challenges and insights of William Shakespeare’s heroines, drawing upon period research from Anna Murphy Jameson’s poetic analysis of the bard’s female characters.
Jane Austen’s work became steadily popular during the late Victorian Era, alongside the bard’s. Queen Victoria herself enjoyed reading from Austen’s Northanger Abbey to Prince Albert.
Queen Victoria of England, 1845, Alexander Melville; Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland, circa 1592, Anonymous; Eleanor of Aquitaine; from Wikimedia Commons.
For 2-4 players, suggested ages 13+
Cooperative, social, playful and dramatically fun!
Imagine a time when people collected butterflies, wrote with feather quill pens by candlelight and wore brocade fashions. Gather Hannah’s windblown notes and pages from William Shakespeare’s plays written and performed during the Elizabethan era to help complete a manuscript in the Queen’s honour.
Players explore the origins, challenges, and insights of 12 Featured Heroines from Shakespeare’s comedic, dramatic, and historic theatricals:
Queen Elinor, Beatrice, Viola, Isabella, Desdemona, Cordelia, Imogen, Joan d’Arc, Portia, Helena, Hermione and Queen Elizabeth I are leading characters in the game, while Queen Victoria, Queen Catherine of Aragon and others appear in Special Message cards.
Whether playing with 2, 3, or 4 players, the Quills! gameplay encourages aspects of roleplaying in dramatically reading the Butterfly Story Cards and Special Messages aloud together; and also a playful mood of cosplay, with the unique materials in which the game was made that can be used as theatrical props.
Each bespoke game is made to order, uniquely crafted by hand and signed as a playable work of art. No special assembly required.
Enheduanna, an ancient Sumerian woman was the first known author of poetry and hymns, while Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese woman, penned the world’s first romantic novel, The Tale of Genji.
During the High Middle Ages, Eleanor of Aquitaine was an early patron of the literary arts whose unrecorded writings included personal correspondence and political negotiations. Queen Elizabeth I was no stranger to the quill pen. The scholarly queen translated works by Boethius, Horace, and Cicero into the English language to help popularize it, and also wrote her own letters, original speeches, prayers and poems. Queen Victoria was an avid diarist throughout her life, penning 122 volumes preserved in the Royal Archives.
In 1850, Shakespearean scholar, Mary Cowden Clarke wrote The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines that imagined the childhood of 15 characters, including Portia and Desdemona, which is an early example of fan fiction. Works by Jameson, Cowden Clarke and other scholars of the era helped Victorians pave the way for the modern woman who could think, imagine and dare to dream with an ink filled tip of a quill pen in her hand.
Originating during the Victorian Era, ‘Afternoon Tea’ became a favourite daily habit at the British Royal Court since the reign of the young Queen Victoria. As tea became more affordable to the middle class, women would gather in tea rooms to socialize and catalyze political change. During the Regency Era, Jane Austen was also a fan of tea, which figured prominently in her novels and correspondence.
Presented at the JASNA 2017 AGM in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, who wrote about Queen Elizabeth I with mention of William Shakespeare in her juvenilia ('The History of England', Volume the Second). Austen also referenced Shakespeare’s plays in her novels, including Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Emma.
Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland, circa 1592, Anonymous from Wikimedia Commons. All other photos by Janine Fron, ©2018. With special thanks to Natasha Lehrer Lewis.