Jane Austen’s birthday was actually December 16, 1775 (okay, that was yesterday, but that wasn’t my post day). So I will honor her a day late. Jane Austen is arguably one of the most important modern literary voices. Her works of romantic fiction provide a lasting social commentary of English society in the early 1800s. She showed the flaws and foibles of people with humor and charm and, while considered a romance novelist by most, can also be viewed as a humanist for her realistic portraits of society. Four of her novels were published in her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published posthumously in 1818.
Here are some interesting tidbits about Jane Austen (and her fan base) that you may or may not already know:
- Her books were originally published anonymously.
- She hid her writing from servants, visitors and non-family members but for several years when she wrote several of her novels, she had no separate space to write in so she wrote in the sitting room which had a creaking door that warned her if someone was coming.
- She was a senior officer in the 4th Women’s Battalion, King’s Royal Hussars during the Napoleonic Wars.
- The cause of her death is a bit of a mystery and has been attributed to Addison’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bovine tuberculosis, breast cancer, and Brill-Zinsser disease.
- Extreme devotees of the works of Jane Austen (i.e., trekkie-like followers) are called Janeites. According to scholar Claudia Johnson, Janeitism is “the self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for ‘Jane’ ” and all thing related to her and her writings.
I googled ‘Jane Austen’ and found some other interesting stuff. Would you like a Jane Austen desktop wallpaper? How about a tattoo? I found this funny blog post about Austen Quotes That Would Make Great Tattoos. On a more serious note, this blog post has 9 New Books Jane Austen Fans Will Love so now I have more books on my TBR list. One of the good things about this post is the “For the fan who . . .” so I can immediately discard books that I’m not a fan of (i.e., fan of opposites-attract angle of Pride and Prejudice and not a fan of magic).
Princess Charlotte was a big fan. I wonder if the new Princess Charlotte will be as well? Are you a Jane Austen fan? What is your favorite Austen novel? Have you read any good Jane Austen fan fiction?