Born: 16-12-1775, Steventon (GB)
Died: 18-07-1817, Winchester (GB)
When Jane Austen was born, no one would probably have believed she would grow out to become most of the important writers of her time. Her work is now part of the literary canon of Great Britain. She is considered as one of the most important writers and poets ever lived. The work she wrote, contradicts with the life of solitude she lived.
Austen was raised in an aristocrat English family. She received her education from her father and her brothers. Her best educational experiences, she encountered during her many trips. She spent a lot of time reading work of famous writers.
If it wasn’t for the support of her family, Austen would not be able to become a writer. At the time she lived, it wasn’t common for women to become active in the literary world. Her contribution to this world, consisted if many novels and poems. These showed she was capable of use different literary styles.
The work she is most famous for are the novels Sense and sensibility (1811), Pride and prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). After her death in 1817 the books Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published in 1818. One novel was not finished when she died (Sandition). Her work marked the transition into the Realism of the nineteenth century. She was ahead of her time, by giving the women in her book a certain amount of importance. According to Austen, women should not have to settle for the social status they were given. Unfortunately, not many recognized her importance as a writer, when she lived. She decided to publish anonymously. It wasn’t after a publication by her cousin James Edward Austen-Leigh, that people learned more about Jane Austen (Memoir of Jane Austen, 1869).
The kind-of-mythical status of Austen began in the twentieth century. Austen was considered to be a great writer. Her fans started calling themselves Janeites. When the films Becoming Jane, Miss Austen regrets and Love finds you in charm were released, a new audience got to know the work of her.
As for her personal life, the issues regarding her work were not the only troubles she experienced. She never got married, she stayed with her family all of her life. Her story ended in 1817, after she became sick. She ignored the signs of health issues in early 1816. As the year moved on, she was getting worse and it is mostly assumed, she was suffering from Addison’s disease. Others claim, she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. No matter how sick she was, she kept on writing. She could not finish her last work (working title The brothers). She wrote twelve chapters and had to stop writing in March 1817. This work would see its publication in 1925 (the title was changed to Sandition). She then wrote a letter to herself. In this letter, she used the words every wrong colour as she was referring to her skin or she might used this as a metaphor. On March 18, she wrote that she was not able to write any more. She was confined to her sofa and her bed. In the hours before her death, she experienced intense pain. On July 18th she died at the age of 41.