The History Makers: Jane Austen |

Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 300+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 26000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for $9.99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

The History Makers: Jane Austen

Her novels have come to define Regency England, and she is now remembered as one of history’s wittiest writers. But Jane Austen hasn’t always known success. On the bicentenary of her death, Sandra Lawrence tells her story.

Published anonymously and poorly known during her lifetime, by the early Victorian period Jane Austen was hopelessly outdated. Charlotte Brontë, admittedly Austen’s literary polar opposite, spent several letters describing her dislike of a world she saw as prim, proper and up-tight, “shrewd and observant” but whose “carefully fenced and highly cultivated gardens” saw “no glimpse of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air”.

Austen’s detractors remain, yet this summer, exactly 200 years since her death, hers will be the publicly endorsed face of the new ten-pound note. Subject of movies, books, TV, radio, graphic novels, apps, tourist trails, games, Bollywood-style reboots – even soft porn and zombies – she is more popular than ever and, unusually, as much for herself as her work.

Born in Steventon, Hampshire, on 16 December 1775, Jane was the seventh of eight children. Her father, George Austen, was rector of Steventon church. He had married Cassandra Leigh, from a considerably better-o background, and was bestowed the Steventon living by a cousin, omas Knight, just as things became financially precarious.

“I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am” Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister Cassandra

Tom Lefroy, an Irish barrister with whom Jane exchanged many letters, but was prevented from marrying by their parents

Jane was inseparable from her older sister Cassandra (named for her mother). When Cassandra was sent to a schoolmistress in Oxford, Jane insisted on going too. They moved with their teacher to Southampton, but the school closed after an outbreak of infectious disease (possibly typhus). It was a close thing; Jane nearly died. On their recovery, the girls went to boarding school, but the fees proved too much for the Reverend Austen, and the rest of Jane’s education came mainly from free access to her father’s considerable library. She read pretty much anything she could lay her hands on, from scholarly works to popular novels. Her father indulged her obvious passion for writing, supplying Jane with paper and ink. The whole family listened to her many short stories, satires and poems, including the novella Lady Susan, a caustic portrait of a scheming society woman.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - July 2017
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - July 2017
Or 399 points
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.15 per issue
Or 4099 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.15 per issue
Or 2699 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.61 per issue
Or 499 points

View Issues

About BBC History Revealed Magazine

Follow the rise and fall of France's most infamous dictator, Napoleon, all the way from emperor to exile. Also inside, celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen and discover what life was really like for Ancient Greeks living in Sparta, the civilisation's most brutal city-state. We've also lined up ten of the greatest partnerships in history, from Marks and Spencer to Rolls and Royce, plus meet the man who inspired 007 – Elizabeth I's forgotten spy, John Dee.