Jane Austen

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JA 's unequalled reputation has led academic canon-makers to set her on a pedestal and scholars of early women's writing to use her as an epoch. For generations she was the first—or the only—woman to be adjudged major. Recent attention has shifted: her balance, good sense, and humour are more taken for granted, and critics have been scanning her six mature novels for traces of the boldness and irreverence which mark her juvenilia. Her two unfinished novels, her letters (which some consider an important literary text in themselves), and her poems and prayers have also received some attention.
Photograph of a colourized print of Jane Austen, from a drawing by a Mr Andrews commissioned by Austen's nephew James Edward Austen Leigh as frontispiece to his "Memoir of Jane Austen", 1870 (fifty years after she died). She is shown seated, with a book on her lap, wearing a blue dress and light brown bonnet.
"Jane Austen" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Jane_Austen_coloured_version.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Milestones

16 December 1775
JA was born at Steventon in Hampshire, a month after her mother had calculated that the birth was due.
This, coincidentally, was the birthday of Elizabeth Carter . Austen's birthplace no longer survives, though her father's church in Steventon is much visited.
Dow, Gillian. “Places of our own: In search of literary treasure”. Mslexia, No. 2, pp. 8 - 11.
10
Le Faye, Deirdre. “Chronology of Jane Austen’s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 1 - 11.
2
Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
21
1787
The eleven-year-old JAbegan to devote her spare time to writing.
Austen-Leigh, William, and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh. Jane Austen: A Family Record. Le Faye, DeirdreEditor , British Library, 1989.
63
28 January 1813
JA 's second completed novel was published: Pride and Prejudice, finally revised from First Impressions in 1811-1812.
Margaret Holford the elder had used the title First Impressions; or, The Portrait in 1801.
Le Faye, Deirdre. “Chronology of Jane Austen’s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 1 - 11.
9
15 July 1817
On St Swithin 's day, three days before she died, JA wrote a comic but also potentially serious poem which imagines the saint cursing the fashionable occasion of Winchester races with rain.
Austen, Jane. Minor Works. Chapman, Robert WilliamEditor , Oxford University Press, 1965.
451-2
18 July 1817
JA died at Winchester. The unusual symptoms of her illness have been read as suggesting Addison's Disease, or more recently cancer or tuberculosis. An article in Lupus: Science & Medicine in April 2021 argues persuasively that she died of lupus.
Biographer Claire Tomalin noted that the diagnosis of Addison's (a glandular disease causing muscular weakness and exhaustion) was not made until 1964; she suggested cancer. Lupus would be consistent with alternate recovery and relapse, with temporary skin discoloration, rheumatoid pain, and fatigue.
Tomalin, Claire. Jane Austen: A Life. Penguin Viking, 1997.
287
Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
392
Le Faye, Deirdre. “Chronology of Jane Austen’s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 1 - 11.
11
Tomalin, Claire. Jane Austen: A Life. Penguin Viking, 1997.
287
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Biography

Birth and Family

16 December 1775
JA was born at Steventon in Hampshire, a month after her mother had calculated that the birth was due.
This, coincidentally, was the birthday of Elizabeth Carter . Austen's birthplace no longer survives, though her father's church in Steventon is much visited.
Dow, Gillian. “Places of our own: In search of literary treasure”. Mslexia, No. 2, pp. 8 - 11.
10
Le Faye, Deirdre. “Chronology of Jane Austen’s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 1 - 11.
2
Honan, Park. Jane Austen: Her Life. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
21