Jane Austen

British Novelist

One of the greatest writers in the English language, famous for her works of romantic classics including, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility.’

Jane Austen, was a early 19th century British novelist, who has received much posthumous praise for her literary classics, which include, ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ ‘Mansfield Park,’ and ‘Emma.’

The English novelist wrote about the state of society around the turn of the 19th century, particularly with regard to the role of women. Jane Austin published most of her works anonymously, so she didn’t get much recognition when they were first released. She gained popularity after 1869, and her reputation skyrocketed in the 20th century.

On July 18, 1817, Jane Austen, passed away at the young age of 41, after suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her modest funeral was attended by just four people. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England. A small tablet was unveiled to her memory in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey, on 17 December 1967.

Name:   Jane  Austen
Born:   16 December 1775
Star Sign: Sagittarius
Died:   18 July 1817
Birthplace: Steventon Rectory, Hampshire,
Country: England
George Austen
Cassandra Austen
Never married

Early Childhood
Jane Austen was born on 16th December, 1775 in Steventon, southern England. She was the seventh of eight children, six boys and two girls, born to a country clergyman, Reverend George Austen and his wife Cassandra Leigh Austen. Jane's mother was a talented, amateur writer and wrote playful verses, riddles and charades.

Jane enjoyed a happy childhood in a large and creative family where they were all encouraged to read from their father's extensive library and put on plays and charades.

In 1783, Jane and her sister, Cassandra were sent to Oxford to be educated by Mrs Ann Cawley. During that time, Jane and her sister caught typhus during an outbreak and returned home to Steventon. They were home educated for a while.

From 1785-1786, Jane and Cassandra attended the Abbey Boarding School in Reading, but their formal education was cut short by financial constraints. They returned home and again, home-educated. This gave them time to read, write and be guided by their father and brothers, James and Henry.

Jane's Juvenilia and Lady Susan
From the age of eleven, Austen wrote her tales in three notebooks. In the 1790s, when she was fourteen, Austen started to craft her own novels. She wrote ‘The History of England’, a 34-page parody of historical writing with illustrations drawn by sister, Cassandra.

In 1793, Austen started on 'Lady Susan', a novella told in the form of a series of letters which she worked on it for two years. She also began to write, ‘Elinor and Marianne’, another story told as a series of letters, which would eventually be published as - 'Sense and Sensibility'.

First Impressions
In 1795, Austen met and fell in love with Tom LeFroy, an Irish law student, but Tom's sister, Anne knew her brother would lose his inheritance if he married a 'nobody', so she hurried Tom out of the country. In 1796, Austen began a second novel, 'First Impressions.'

The following year, it was later published as ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ In 1801, Austen's father retired and the family moved to the resort town of Bath, England.

Austen Falls on Hard Times
Just before 27th birthday, Jane Austen received a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither and she initially accepted, but the next morning Austen declined his proposal. On January 21, 1805, Jane's father, William George Austen died, leaving his wife and daughters financially dependent on his sons.

The Austen women first rented a house in Bath, but then move in with Jane's brother, Frank and his wife. In 1809, Jane, Cassandra and mother moved into Chawton Cottage, a home on an estate owned by their brother, Edward.

Sense and Sensibility
During her time at Chawton, Jane Austen published four generally well received novels. Through her brother, Henry, the publisher, Thomas Egerton agreed to publish 'Sense and Sensibility,' in 1811, under the pseudonym of ‘A Lady.’

Jane Austen's name was not attached to any of the novels she published during her lifetime. The edition sold out by mid-1813. Austen's earnings from 'Sense and Sensibility' provided her with some financial and psychological independence.

Successful Novels
In 1813, 'Pride and Prejudice' was published with Henry Austen as the literacy agent. Later it was adapted into films and movie series. By 1814, 'Mansfield Park' was published and both were successful. In 1815, it was suggested to Austen that she dedicate her next published book to Prince Regent (later King George IV), who was a big fan of Austen's work.

In the same year, the London publisher, Austen John Murray, published her novel, ‘Emma’, and in 1816, Austen’s second edition of ‘Mansfield Park’ was published.

Final Chapter
In 1816, Austen felt her long, progressive illness was sapping her energy, but she continued to work on her two novels -'Persuasion' and 'Northanger Abbey.' However, they were delayed, because of her illness and financial troubles caused by her brother, Henry's bank.

In May 1817, Jane and her sister Cassandra moved to Winchester in Alton, so that she could be under a physician's care. On July 18, Jane Austen passed away at the age of 41. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral, a building she greatly admired.

A Memoir Of Jane Austen
In Dec 1817, Austen's final novels - Persuasion' and 'Northanger Abbey' (a rewrite of the unpublished novel Susan), were posthumously published together in one volume. A biographical note by her brother, Henry identified Jane for the first time as the author of her previous novels.

In 1869, Austen's nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh published a biography of his aunt entitled, 'A Memoir of Jane Austen,' which sparked renewed interest in Jane Austen. On July 18, Jane Austen was honored on the new £10 note to mark the 200th anniversary of her death.

Family and Marriage
Jane and Cassandra were the two girls of eight children born to William and Cassandra Austen. Throughout Jane's life, her older sister, Cassandra was her closest friend.

Although met and fell in love with Tom LeFroy, an Irish law student, Anne his sister discouraged her brother from proposing, as he would lose his inheritance if he married Jane, so Tom left. Although she had several suitors Jane never married.

Although Jane fell in love with her friend, Anne Lefroy's brother, Tom, Anne discouraged her brother from marrying Jane as he would lose his inheritance if he married a "nobody," So Tom left. Tom became the Chief Justice of Ireland.

Austen also met and fell in love with a young clergyman, but he died unexpectedly. The incident strengthened the bond between the two sisters, as Cassandra had earlier lost her fiancé.

When her father died in 1805, Austen ceased work on a novel she'd begun entitled 'The Watsons.' It was the only time in her life that she was not writing or revising something.

She had six brothers and one sister. Neither Jane nor her sister Cassandra ever married. Jane Austen thought of her novels as children.

Her brothers Charles and Frank both served in the navy and became admirals.

When her first novel,' Sense And Sensibility' came out in 1811, the title page simply said 'By a Lady'.

None of her novels published in her lifetime revealed her name. Even Pride And Prejudice only said by: “The Author of Sense And Sensibility”.

The Oxford English Dictionary credits Jane Austen as the first recorded author of over 40 words including door-bell, double-bed, spongecake and dinner-party.

Jane Austen’s life was saved by her cousin. Jane and Cassandra, and cousin Jane Cooper went to Oxford to be tutored by a Mrs Ann Cawley. Jane fell ill that she nearly died, but Mrs Cawley did not inform her parents, so Jane Cooper wrote to Jane's mother herself.

Jane Austen was partial to a Bath bun. The large, rich cakes, which were similar to French brioche bread, were served warm and soaked in butter. She clearly enjoyed her food.

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

"I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal."

"A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of."

"It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do."

"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."

"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature."

"Why not seize pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!"

"Time will explain."

"Better be without sense than misapply it as you do."

"Good opinion once lost, is lost forever."


Jane Austen, one of England’s greatest novelists, died at the age of 41, on the 18 July, 1817. She had a modest funeral with only four people attending, and it took place early in the morning before services began. She was buried in the Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire in England.

Jane Austen's original memorial stone made no mention of her books. But, in 1870, Jane's nephew, Edward erected a brass plaque on the wall next to her grave with an inscription ...'Jane Austen, known to many by her writings.' On 17 December, 1967, a small tablet was unveiled to her memory in Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey.

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