Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Facts: Jane Austen Edition

10 Facts: Jane Austen Edition

1. Jane was a member of a large family of 8 children. Jane had six brothers; James, George, Edward, Henry Thomas, Francis William, and Charles John. And one sister: Cassandra.

2. Out of all her siblings, Jane was closest to Cassandra who was her lifelong companion and Henry, an Angilican clergyman & Jane's literary agent.

3. Jane was accomplished by the ripe old age of 23. By this age she had completed her versions of Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Pride & Prejudice.

4. Mark Twain was a critic of Austen's works. Twain even went as far to say that an ideal library is one, "that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book.” (Ouch)

5. When we think of Austen, we often think of Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, etc. However, these titles are not original. Pride & Prejudice was once "First Impressions", Northanger Abbey was "Susan", Sense and Sensibility was "Elinor and Marianne", and The Elliots became Persuasion.

6. Jane Austen died in 1817 at the age of 41. We do not know exactly how she died, however there is some speculation. In 1964, Dr. Vincent Cope diagnosed and listed Jane's cause of death as Addison's Disease. But more recently, Britain's Addison Disease Self Help Group wrote that Jane probably died of Bovine Tuberculosis, now commonly associated with drinking unpasteurized milk. 

7. Modern day fans of Jane's works, like myself, often refer to ourselves as Janeites.

8. In her lifetime, four of Jane's novels were published, but none of them were published under her name. Rather they were published using the pen name, By a Lady.

9. Both of Jane's brothers served in the British Royal Navy and Jane modeled the character of Captain Wentworth after them.

10. Jane spent the last eight years of her life at Chawton House, where Jane spent much of her time writing in private. She lived a quiet life while at Chawton House and rarely entertained, except for when family came to visit. Jane's niece, Anna, had described Jane's family's life:  "It was a very quiet life, according to our ideas, but they were great readers, and besides the housekeeping our aunts occupied themselves in working with the poor and in teaching some girl or boy to read or write."

The new wax figure of Jane Austen revealed in Bath, England, 2014.

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