Jane Austen’s Aunt Behind Bars

Jane Austen’s Aunt Behind Bars

Writers and their Criminal Relatives and Associates, 1700–1900

By Stephen Wade

This new book brings together Stephen Wade’s two areas of interest, focusing on the writers in the reigns of Anne to Victoria. The essays here recount and explore the prison experience of writers, both famous and obscure, who came to know the insides of Britain’s prisons.

EPUB, 188 Pages


June 2013

£5.99, $9.99

PDF, 188 Pages


June 2013

£5.99, $9.99

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About This Book

Writers between 1700 and 1900 were always likely to see the inside of British prisons if their work had any kind of radical element, or anything that could be considered libellous or seditious. Even the great and successful novelists, poets and journalists of those years fell foul of the law, or perhaps knew others who did so.

‘Jane Austen’s Aunt Behind Bars: Writers and Their Criminal Relatives and Associates, 1700–1900’ tells the stories of an assortment of writers, both famous and obscure, whose lives included a knowledge or even a direct experience of prison life. The cases range from Daniel Defoe in Newgate to Oscar Wilde in Reading Gaol, where he wrote his famous narrative poem, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol.’

From poet and editor Leigh Hunt’s family life inside prison to the sad tale of George Gissing’s theft in his efforts to maintain his Manchester girlfriend, Stephen Wade’s short biographies introduce the reader to the social context of prison and build up a gallery of prison portraits.


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Author Information

Stephen Wade is a specialist in the history of crime and law.


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Table of Contents

Introduction; The Context: Crime and Punishment 1700–1900; 1. Defoe in Newgate and the Clink; 2. Dr Johnson’s Day in Court; 3. A Free Pardon for Savage; 4. The Macaroni Parson; 5. Another Writer in Newgate; 6. Jane Austen’s Aunt Behind Bars; 7. William Combe and His Friends; 8. Murder at the Lambs’ House; 9. George Gissing’s Dangerous Love; 10. Dickens’ Father in Gaol; 11. Samuel Bamford, Thomas Cooper and Other Chartists; 12. Brothers Inside; 13. The Crimes Club: Conan Doyle and Churton Collins; 14. Irish Writer Meets Wife Killer; 15. Oscar Wilde, Wilde Senior and Reading Gaol; 16. Three Literary Enthusiasts; Some Conclusions; Acknowledgements; Bibliography and Sources


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