My sweeties, those of you who know me a little bit, know that the reason I decided to become an author is one: Jane Austen!

Jane Austen is not only one of the most popular writers in the world, but also one of the most beloved of book lovers out there. You will find it hard to find anyone who has not read even one of her books. It’s just as hard to find someone who hasn’t seen one of their transfers to the cinema or television.

She has created heroes that cover a wide range—social, spiritual and cultural. Her characters are realistic and convincing, her heroines are bold, dynamic and determined, as opposed to the usual type of lady of that time.

Probably because Austen herself refused to fit into the context that society had placed women—being a writer was, in itself, a bold innovation. Her books portray realistically the whole of English society at the beginning of the 19th century.

A lot has been said and written about Jane Austen. However, little is known about who Jane really was…

I’m glad to have the opportunity to write a little bit about this unbelievably great author. Are you with me, my dearie? 😉

The Well-known Unknown Jane

Born on December 16, 1775, in a small hamlet in Hampshire County, Steventon, she was the seventh child of English priest George Austen and Cassandra Lee. Her family, though prosperous, were not considered wealthy. Despite that, she grew up in a happy home that she never wanted to leave.

Jane, like every girl of her time, helped out at home, played the piano for half an hour before breakfast and devoured her father’s library. She loved reading novels, something she wrote later in her books!

Unlike her heroines, she never married and lived most of her life without experiencing many surprises.

Something Very Interesting about Austen’s Work

Austen’s work began with Eleanor and Marianne—the heroines of a book that later took one of the most iconic titles in English literature and became a blockbuster, with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant. “Sense and Sensibility” was first released on October 1811, without the author’s name on the cover…just with a neat and fuzzy “By A Lady” to add extra mystery to the fact that another female voice made her appearance in English literature.

After that one,  other novels followed: “Emma”, ​​”Mansfield Park”, “Persuasion”, “Northanger Abbey” and perhaps the most famous of all, “Pride and Prejudice”—one of the most iconic love stories ever told. 

I Blame Mr. Darcy for my High Expectations on Men

And that is how the most characteristic model of the ideal man in world literature was born. By this woman who lived her life without intense emotions and experiences, and without discovering the magic of great love herself.

The imposing and rigorous Mr. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet, almost from the first moment he set his eyes on her. Mr. Darcy wants for himself, like a crazy man, what he advised his best friend (who was in love with Elizabeth’s sister) to avoid at all costs. To relate to her simplistic, coarse, unkempt on several occasions, family.

Her books are full of the daily life of a society far from us, yet they make us experience the era in such an alive and true way.

It is not absurd that the slogan “I blame Mr. Darcy for my high expectations on men” remains one of the most beloved in t-shirts and mugs in the UK.

She Wrote about Love while She was a Virgin!

We know little about Jane Austen’s love life. Although, since she was never married, she probably died a virgin, yet love was not missing from her life.

We know that in 1796 she had scandalized the small community of Steventon by flirting openly with Irishman Tom Lefroy, who had visited relatives and friends of the Austen family. Although his stay was short and their love convicted—since neither of them had the means to marry—we can say that Tom was the first love affair in Jane’s heart.

The movie “Becoming Jane” refers, with a Hollywood glance, to this incomplete bond. Her sister Cassandra, too, referred to her great love for a young Englishman around 1801, who eventually died.

Late Life 

Unfortunately on July 18, 1817, after a year of living with a painful illness (possibly some form of cancer), she died in Winchester, where she had relocated to be close to her beloved sister. 

However, she did not stop writing throughout her illness. Even when she was too weak to hold the pen, she wrote in pencil. She left her final novel, Sanditon, unfinished; a book that included a satirical depiction of the fashionable seaside resort.

Her tomb is located at Winchester Cathedral with no mention of her authorship.

Jane Austen was, in her short but creative life, a talented writer who, in stubbornness to her family and the rigid social conventions of the Regency era, left us with six ‘classic’ novels.

Well, my sweetie, this is the end of my first article!

I hope you enjoyed it—I certainly did while writing it!

Thank you for accompanying me on my writing journey!

It would be lovely if you could share your thoughts with me! Or whatever you like…Surprise me!

Written by Violet Hamers

58 COMMENTS

  1. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on Jane Austen. I grew up in the country and the Bookmobile woudl bring me novels to escape into other times. Jane Austen as well as Charlotte Bronte (Jane Ayre, has always been one of my favorites) and then when I was 12 read was Sir Pagan, written by Sarah Zimmerman under the name Henry John Colyton in 1947. I appreciate your books and all the women authors.

  2. Thank you, dear Violet, for sharing this lovely tidbit about Jane Austen. You have now met someone who has not read any of her works but now I must! I was a super slow reader as a kid (still am, sadly) but it’s OK. I thoroughly enjoy reading these days. Very interesting that she never really was courted except for that brief flirtation with Tom and perhaps another fellow, never married but seems to have “divined” what it was that made women fall in love. Thanks again.

  3. I think I have some of her books, I don’t remember which ones, I have read all my like, true confessions, all those, I come from a small town we as a library , we had a library in town but had to watch what you read it would all over town, I would say I raised some eyebrows for some of the times, but I still read them.

  4. Hi Violet,
    I don’t know very much more about Jane Austen than you, you mentioned Sandton I live in the town were she started writing it although the house were she stayed isn’t there anymore there’s a blue plaque were it was.Jane walked along the seashore here ,she went to stay in Winchester until she died. I didn’t enjoy Sanditon when it was on TV I think because someone else finished it who didn’t have a lot of knowledge of the way things were in the period, for me it was too modern.I wish you a happy Monday. Joyce Dodd

  5. Thank you for the article! It stands to reason that she was an avid reader, but I did not know she was a virgin. That she had no experience with love on the physical le is astonishing! thank you again, and please keep the articles coming!! I enjoy than very much, the add to the pleasures I get from my daily reading.
    Your loyal friend,
    Topelo

  6. Sad Jane died so young, by todays standards. Seems girls often had close relationships with their sisters. A confidant, things you wouldn’t tell or ask your mother you could share with a sister.

  7. I loved learning about Jane Austen, she was remarkable. So sad about her not being able to marry a true love of her own.
    Please keep writing more articles like this.
    It’s enjoyable and definitely interesting to learn more.

  8. Darcy is the epitome of the romantic male hero but I didn’t like him at first because of his aloofness which I regarded as arrogance but soon realised was his way of covering up his abiding love for Elizabeth, in spite of her family. He did become a role model for me in my own romances but surprisingly I married a man just like him in that he is stoic, isn’t very voluble but expresses himself succinctly & to the point after giving the others’ opinions some thought & he is the salt of the earth, a true gentleman who deeply loves his family.

  9. Believe it or not, I first became interested in Jane Austen when seeing the movie 50 shades of grey! Christian asked the heroine in this movie who influenced her to pursue English Literature in college, Austen or Hardy?

  10. Wow!! I have read most of her books and seen those edited into film, but knew next to nothing about her life. Thanks for researching and posting this information, I really enjoyed it.
    I hope you are bringing out a new book soon for us avid historical romance readers ( or should that be rabid- the amount of books I have to read would make this likely). Have a great day and the rapidly arriving new year.

  11. I don’t believe I’ve ever read one of her books. I really thought they would be dull and boring. After reading your comments, I believe I will read at least one of her books. Thank you for enlightening me.

  12. Very good article about a very talented author who tragically, died too soon and likely never had the opportunity to experience real love for herself.

  13. Violet,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your article. If I were alive back then, I would have liked to say to her – “you go girl!”

  14. I love Jane Austen. My personal favorite is Persuasion. I love the Recency period. But, Mr. Darcy is my favorite chareacter. Her books are filled with emotions not normally displayed in this period.

  15. Hi Violet,
    Thanks for the interesting article.
    I just finished reading Northanger Abbey again, and I think it deserves mention along with the other works you referenced. Although it wasn’t published until much later, Jane wrote this first novel as a teenager (about 14). It has been recognized as kind of “bridge” between the sensibility and gothic novel and the novels of realism as Jane points to the real value of a novel being the value and interest of common ordinary life and its realistic drama as opposed to the contrived and artificial drama in those genre that were so popular in her day — and that she enjoyed! By the way, Henry Tilley is, I think, my favorite leading man in her writings. He is well-rounded, humorous, patient, and devoted, grateful for Catherine’s affection, and understanding in the value of building a relationship, as well as honoring it and her. The wisdom and wit of the teenage Jane sheds light on the rest of her work.

  16. Thank you for the informative article. I have not seen “Becoming Jane” so your article have me some new information. I enjoy your writing and hope to read more.

  17. I really enjoyed the article. It was interesting to know some background about such a famous author.
    Amazing someone who wrote about such love was never married or in a committed relationship.
    Thanks for the info.

  18. Dear Violet, I have heard of Jane Austen and several of my friends as I was growing up had spoken of her works, but I must say, I was never allowed to read at home and actually dropped out of school after 9th grade. I finally went back and finished high school and got my formal university education as a wife and mother once I was in my late 20s. But this was a time when I was working in primary education, raising my children, maintaining a home and family, and trying to finish my degree at the same time, so even then, I had no time to read for pleasure. It was not until I was in my late 30s that I finally took the time to begin reading and boy did I devour the books once I discovered the public library! Actually, I went there for my children, to introduce them to the joys of reading and my first novel was a Nancy Drew Mystery. Within months I had read all of them! I moved on to other genres after that and my collection of literature grew by leaps and bounds. I even began an extensive reading for rewards program for my children, and then went on to introduce it at the school I worked at.
    All this to say, I have never read a Jane Austen novel to date. But now, after reading your article, I Have to read her novels. Thank you for introducing her to me.
    ~~kay~~

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