How much do you know about the life of Jane Austen?
In this post I am going to share a list of interesting facts about Jane Austen. Read through them all and see how many of them you already knew, and which ones taught you something new about this beloved author. If you have any to add, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
1. Jane Austen’s Books Were Published Anonymously
This might sound a bit absurd, but Jane Austen’s books were originally published anonymously! In a time when it was considered improper for a lady to be writing books, Jane Austen decided to keep her name out of the books she wrote.
If you take a look at the images below, which are the original titles pages for the novels Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, you can see that Jane Austen’s name is not there. Instead, the works are credited to ‘by a lady’ and ‘the author of Sense and Sensibility’.
2. Some of Her Novels Had Different Titles Originally
Previous to publishing, some of Jane Austen’s novels had different titles to the ones we now have come to know so well. For example, Sense and Sensibility was originally going to be called ‘Elinor and Marianne.’ Similarly, the working title for Pride and Prejudice was ‘First Impressions,‘ and Northanger Abbey was going to be called ‘Susan.’ Do you prefer any of these names to the ones we are now so familiar with?
3. Only Four of Her Novels Were Published During Her Lifetime
Due to difficulties with publishers, during her lifetime from 1775 to 1817, only four out of her seven novels were published for her to witness. Those four novels were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815).
4. Years Passed Between Original Writing & Publishing
Jane Austen wrote an early draft of Sense and Sensibility in the early 1790’s and then revised it heavily before it was finally published in 1811.
Similarly, sixteen years passed between the time that her father first tried to get ‘First Impressions‘ published and the time that the novel appeared as Pride and Prejudice in 1813.
5. Jane Austen Should Have Seen Another Book Published in her Lifetime
Jane Austen should have seen another one of her novels published during her lifetime. Her novel Northanger Abbey was sold to a publisher in 1803, fourteen years before Austen’s death. Unfortunately, however, the publisher decided not to print the book. It was later bought back by one of Jane Austen’s brothers after her death for £10, the same amount of money it was sold for in 1803.
6. Jane Austen’s Unfinished Watsons
When Jane Austen’s father George Austen died in the year 1805, she was working on a novel entitled ‘The Watsons.’ Her father’s death, however, is believed to have caused her to stop writing for a time. She never finished writing ‘The Watsons.’ Instead, once she felt she could start writing again, she worked on a novella she had started a while before. This is known as Lady Susan upon which the fairly recent film Love and Friendship was based.
7. Jane Austen Died Young & No one knows why
Jane Austen died at the very young age of 41. The cause of her death is to this day still unknown, though there have been many speculations made. Some believe she suffered from various diseases, while others think she may have been poisoned.
At any rate, she died on July 18, 1817 at the young age of 41. She was out-lived by all of her siblings and even her mother, who all lived to be over the age of seventy. One of her brothers in fact, lived to be 91 years old!
Care to Share? If you like this post, then please pass it along
That’s All For Now Folks!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that you have perhaps learned something new about this most beloved English author. If you would like to learn even more about Jane Austen and you haven’t already, you could consider watching the film Becoming Jane with actress Anne Hathaway portraying Miss Austen herself.
If you know anything interesting about Jane Austen’s life or work as a novelist, please don’t hesitate to mention those in the comment section below. I love hearing from my readers.