Jane Austen, born on December 16, 1775, was a revolutionary writer, who was described as quiet and happy by some and depressed by others. She had very strong views about her society and found pleasure in expressing her thoughts through her writing. Born into a large family, she enjoyed sharing her writings and entertaining others. She died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1817, but her works live on. This is our way of celebrating the legend.
December 16, 1775
July 18, 1817 (age 41)
Born December 16, 1775, Jane Austen was raised in Steventon, Hampshire. She was the last child in a family of seven children born to George and Cassandra Austen. There was a two-year gap between her and her sister, Cassandra, named after their mother. Both girls were fast friends. Austen had a lot of indirect exposure to the ways of the world, listening to news of the travels and adventures of her distant relatives. According to Le Faye, these conversations and more “helped to widen Jane’s youthful horizon and influence her later life and works.” Austen was a regular attendee at church and socialized with friends and neighbors.
Her father served as the rector of the Anglican Parishes in Steventon and nearby, and eventually took up farming and teaching to supplement his income. Coupled with a small inheritance that her mother would receive, the Austen family managed a modest and comfortable life. Eight years after she was born, Austen and her sister were sent to Oxford where they were educated by a Mrs. Ann Cawley. Following a near-death experience, Austen was home-schooled till 1785 when she was, along with her sister, enrolled at the Reading Abbey Girls’ School. Both girls returned home shortly, however, because their schooling fees were quite high. Austen read widely, absorbing as much as she could from the libraries of her father, and that of a family friend, Warren Hastings. Her father also supported her by providing paper and other materials she needed for writing and drawing. After several eventful years of writing, her father retired from his work in the ministry and moved the whole family to Sydney Place, Bath in 1800. The move had a drastic effect on Austen who was unable to complete any writings during that period. In January 1805, her father died and left the whole family in a worrisome financial state. Her brothers pledged to contribute annually to help the family’s financial situation. They eventually moved to Chawton where they lived quiet lives.
Austen published her books anonymously, as was the norm for many women authors at the time. During her time at Chawton, she published four novels that were well-received and widely read, including “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice,” and “Mansfield Park.” The family ran into financial challenges and Austen was forced to hold off on publishing “The Elliots” [(later known as “Persuasion”) and “Susan,” one of her earliest books.
Austen became unwell in 1816 but ignored the signs. She continued working despite her illness, but eventually put down her pen on March 18, 1817. She died in Winchester exactly three months later. In the months after her death, her siblings arranged for her books, “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey,” to be published as a set. Richard Bentley purchased the remaining copyrights to her novels in 1832 and released the first collected edition of her works in October 1833. Her novels have continuously been in print ever since, and her fame is still widespread, two centuries later.
When she is only 12, she tries her hand at dramatic writing and writes three stage plays.
Austen decides to write for profit, and she starts to write more sophisticated works when she turns 18.
She begins writing “Lady Susan,” her first short novel and completes it in 1795.
“Sense and Sensibility” is published on commission and is sold out in less than two years.
Why We Love Jane Austen
She knew what she wanted
Austen wasn’t easily convinced on matters where her views were defined. She refused to marry Harris Bigg-Wither out of convenience, stating in a letter to her niece, “Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection.”
She loved theatricals
From her early childhood, her family and friends staged several private plays and such. Her satirical gifts were likely cultivated through many comic plays.
Her heroines were strong women
Austen’s characters reflected the kind of image that women are only just beginning to achieve. She could relate to the challenges women faced at that age and chose to be strong.
5 Surprising Facts
She was fond of dancing
As a young lady, Austen often had to dance at social gatherings and according to her brother Henry, she “was fond of dancing, and excelled in it.”
She was born a month late
Her father stated that Austen ought to have been born a month earlier than she was.
She was nameless after birth
She wasn’t baptized and named till four months after she was born, due to the harsh winter in early 1776.
She loved reading
One of her favorite pastimes was reading as many books as she could find, as well as reading out her own writings to her family.
She nearly died at eight
When she was sent to study at Oxford, she caught typhus and nearly died.
Jane Austen FAQs
Who did Jane Austen marry?
Austen was never married. She did have a love interest, however, whose name was Tom Lefroy.
What is Jane Austen’s most popular book?
“Pride and Prejudice” is her most renowned book.
Was Jane Austen feminist?
Based on her views reflected in her books like “Pride and Prejudice,” it would be accurate to say Austen exhibited feminism.
Jane Austen’s birthday dates