It is a truth universally acknowledged that…..we have celebrated the first ever Jane Austen Day. Yes, I know it was Jane Austen Day yesterday – she was born on December 16th 1775. So sorry for the delay!
I was introduced to the comedy and romance of Jane Austen when I was at school – Pride and Prejudice was an exam text and far from putting me off, I developed a life long love of this author! And of course, there was Colin Firth in the BBC drama version swimming the lake and coming out dripping. I think that is still, by far, the best version I have seen and I defy anyone to find a better one!
Her most famous novel is, of course, Pride and Prejudice but she was quite a writer! She wrote six novels, two of which were published after her death in 1817:
- 1811 – Sense and Sensibility
- 1813 – Pride and Prejudice
- 1814 – Mansfield Park
- 1815 – Emma
- 1818 – Northanger Abbey (posthumous)
- 1818 – Persuasion (posthumous)
and has a long list of poetry and other work to her name.
The cottaage at Chawton, where Austen lived for eight years up to her death. It is now the Jane Austen House Museum
Jane was a close of observer of humanity and its many, many foibles; these observations that she has put forward in her novel have stood the test of time and are still relevant today. Not only an acute observer, but a woman thinking way beyond her time, as the first quote shows:
Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody. —Mansfield Park (1814)
I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. – Emma (1815)
The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.—Pride and Prejudice (1813)
For more quotes see:
For the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton:
For the Jane Austen Centre: