The Loiterer

Sophia's Comments

We speak of them as they were

James Austen's The Loiterer

The centrepiece of this collection is James Austen's The Loiterer, a periodical of sixty issues published in Oxford in 1789 and 1790. James wrote the majority of the issues with his brother, Henry, among others, contributing articles. After the final issue was published in 1790, James had the entire sixty issues bound into two volumes and published with a limited number of copies. A "pirated" Dublin edition was published in 1792.

That's all there was to be found of it for 208 years until Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints of Ann Arbor in 2000 published a facsimile with a valuable Introduction by Li-Ping Geng. In 2003 I discovered not one, but two, professors who had, independently, spent several years producing annotated versions. Now it is my great joy to inform you that Dr. Robert Mack’s edition is this year, 2006, to be published by Mellen Press and will be printed in two to four months, by December or sooner. For your convenience here is a link to the Order Form for his book. Or check at Pemberley's US Amazon Shop HERE or Pemberley's UK Amazon Shop HERE for a copy. Please do check them out!

Therefore, the main purpose for this site is to provide a readable copy without the long 's'. Other than that adjustment in the transcription, I have endeavoured to faithfully reproduce the original as closely as possible. Mere words can never express my eternal gratitude to Dr. Robert Mack for his encouragement and support. On behalf of all Jane Austen fans, Thank You!

After reading The Loiterer in its entirety, I considered it to be a valuable adjunct for understanding Jane Austen's life, world and works. Also, it may possibly answer some questions that have eluded us as to what and when Jane Austen knew on some subject or other. An example of the treasures to be found within it, in my humble opinion, is the passage expressing Jane Austen's vision.

As for historic works such as The Loiterer, James Austen, in his first issue described Periodical writers as:

".. .literary Adventurers who undertake to supply their countrymen with a regular succession of moral lectures, critical remarks, and elegant humour, conveyed through the channel of a Periodical Paper."
This web page attempts to follow his definition by presenting a Collection of works by others because I am no writer. James continues with:
"But I know not what rule can be laid down for the Periodical Writer, the variety of whose subjects preclude all attempts at connection; who is eccentric by principle, and irregular by system."
The phrases 'eccentric by principle' and 'irregular by system', unfortunately, apply to this Editor; however, our 'attempts at connection' are clearly Miss Jane Austen and her world. Just as the original Loiterer spoke of many subjects, we will add articles from time to time on such subjects as strike our fancy, or rather, grab our attention.


Ashton Dennis' Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen

The Male Voices web site is published here as a memorial to my friend, the late Ashton Dennis. Male Voices was a labor of love for him, and we believe it should be made available for a while longer.

The only change to Ashton's MV site is to add my "Final Comments" and a few corrections to "Linda's Sentimental Journey". Because Ashton did not receive my last email with that information before our communications were cut off, I wish to include them here.


Jane Austen's vision

Ashton's hope was that Jane Austen's vision be continually restored, illuminated, and preserved. I think I just may have found her vision and caught her spirit when I discovered the following passage in The Loiterer, issue No IX. It is a perfect example of James' brotherly influence. The context of the issue is a discussion of what the periodical should offer on behalf of readers of the fair sex, and to achieve that end James concludes with:

"....we shall carefully select such subjects as may captivate the imagination, without offending the judgment, and interest the feelings, without misleading the heart."
That, in my opinion, is exactly what Jane did in her novels. To that end, I issue a call to everyone, in the spirit of Jane Austen, to make a better world by conducting ourselves as "rational beings", as Ladies and Gentlemen, even though knowing, as she also did know, we are all still very "human". It behooves us to imitate those "rational" characters depicted in her novels. Hopefully, by her examples we will not duplicate the "irrational" ones.


Discussion Forum

Since I do not have an interactive discussion forum on this site, you are cordially invited to meet with other admirers of the Loiterer and Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen for conviviality and discussion, at found HERE and post on the Potter Board for book discussions. Registration is required to post and you can register by clicking on the login link, however you can post questions on the Help board there without registering if you need any assistance. You are most welcome to join us and I extend my thanks to the Dregston Committee for their kind invitation.


Sophia Sentiment – what's in a name?

As Editor of this site I have chosen to use the name "Sophia Sentiment", because there are those who believe, as do I, that Jane wrote the letter from Sophia Sentiment in Issue No. IX. Though laying no claim to being 'Sophia' as in the Greek meaning 'wise', or having 'sense' (common or otherwise), I will admit to being somewhat on the 'Sentiment' side as in 'Sensibility' and 'Sentimental'. Therefore, I concluded that my whimsical use of ' Sophia Sentiment' is appropriate here. Both names together suggest a connection to her novel, Sense and Sensibility. Although, as a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and a friend of Chawton House Library, I am known as Linda Broemel.

Be that as it may, as a poster at the Republic of Pemberley and Dregston and Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen mere words can never express my gratitude to those dear people for all they have given me — new friends, a wealth of knowledge, sharing of themselves, many kindnesses, new avenues to explore, and a new outlook on life, in short, opening up a whole new world. My efforts here on this site represent only a token payment of my indebtedness for their kindness. God Bless You All.

         Yours, as you behave,

                     SOPHIA SENTIMENT


In Memory of


(1939 – 2003)

Late Meister of Male Voices in Praise of Jane Austen

This collection is respectfully dedicated,

By his obliged, humble servant,



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