9 February 2013

{'Pride and Prejudice' turns 200}

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Magic of Austen continues, 200 years on!Elizabeth Bennett may not have been a gold digger but fast forward 200 years and if Jane Austen were alive today she would want to be in possession of a good fortune. On January 27, 1813, 38-year-old Austen received the first volumes of Pride and Prejudice delivered to her from her publisher and from there female-friendly literature and Colin Firth's career was born.

     I still remember the first time I readed Jane. I was only 12 and not fond of reading in that time. As most children of that age I was required to read in school. But one morning, I discovered a dusty book, with pages yellowed and a blue cracked cover. I opened it, the date was 1925 and the "ex libris" was the name of my great grandmother Lola. It was "Pride and Prejudice". I started to readed the first pages and... well, you know what always happend with Jane, i couldn´t stop. When i was finishing the book on the sofa, mom came to me and said: "Where have you find that book? I thought i had lost it" - It was on the armchair, I answer. Mom told me that "Pride and Prejudice" was her favourite book when she was young and she also had readed at the same age as me. Moreover, granny Elsa readed when she was a teenager. So that book had belong to four generation of women: Lola, Elsa, Carolina and me. It is magic!

Portrait of Jane

Jane Austen was born on December 16 1775 at Steventon in the county of Hampshire in Southern England. She was the seventh of eight children, and the second of two daughters. As her family were members of the upper middle class of English Society – her father, George, was a minister of the Church of England (Anglican Church) – she enjoyed a comfortable, though by no means opulent lifestyle.

     In 1800 George Austen, at the age of 70, suddenly decided to retire to Bath, and the family moved there the following year. They lifestyle that his family enjoyed here is very accurately portrayed in Jane's novels, which quite apart from the marvellous plots, contain finely observed and recorded snapshots of the particular stratum of English society in which the Austen family lived.

     In 1805 George Austen died. As the majority of the family income had derived from his various livings, which lapsed at his death, the family became very largely dependent on his sons – Jane's brothers – among whom were two naval officers and two church ministers.

Austen Family Tree 

     The family moved away from Bath in 1806, first to Clifton, and then to Southampton on the south coast of England. They remained less than three years in Southampton before moving to Chawton, near Alton in Hampshire, where Jane was to spend the rest of her life.

Austen family house

     Shortly after the move to Chawton, Jane resumed her literary work, and in October 1811 "Sense and Sensibility", the first of her novels to be published appeared anonymously, bearing only the intriguing attribution "By A Lady". "Pride and Prejudice" was published in January 1813, followed by "Mansfield Park" in May 1814. "Emma", the fifth of her six novels, and the last to appear during her lifetime, appeared in December 1815. 

     During 1816 Jane, who suffered from Addison's disease, became increasingly unwell, and though she continued to work on her novels, it was clear that she did not have much time remaining to her. She died on 18 July 1817, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral six days later.

     Jane's brother Henry prepared "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion", the last of her novels, for publication, and they appeared posthumously at the end of 1817.


Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Mansfield Park (1814)
Emma (1815)
Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous)
Persuasion (1818, posthumous)

Links for fans:
The Republic of Pemberley and their fabulous shop
Jane Austen Collection of Goucher College
Jane´s works in Proyect Gutenberg

Documentaries online:
Jane Austen Revised (BBC)

If you are in England do not forget to visit the following Jane´s places:

And remember dear friends: "Keep Calm and Read Jane Austen"