Celebrating Jane Austen's Birthday: Austen Behind the Novels
Mon, April 19, 2021

Celebrating Jane Austen's Birthday: Austen Behind the Novels

When people talk about classic literature novels, it is inevitable that the famous author Jane Austen is brought up / Photo by: Eymery via Wikimedia Commons

 

When people talk about classic literature novels, it is inevitable that the famous author Jane Austen is brought up. Her works are not only great for scholarly reading, but are also perfect for those who are looking for comfort in the pages of a novel. She is well-known for her beautifully-crafted prose, and little antics to laugh at, but most importantly, her collection of extraordinary heroines challenging the ideal for the women of her time.

Austen was one of the most revered authors of her time for different reasons. However, not everyone knows that behind the lines of her brilliant words and comedic prose lay a life plagued with hardship. There are different myths and misconceptions that surround her life, only adding to the already inaccurate representation of the late author’s persona. 

Now that her 224th’s birth anniversary is coming, let us take a journey through Austen’s controversial yet meaningful life. 

The Life of Austen

Austen was an English author born on December 16, 1775. She was the famous writer of several novels including 'Northanger Abbey,' 'Pride and Prejudice,' 'Sense & Sensibility,' 'Mansfield Park,' 'Emma,' and 'Persuasion.' Bubok, a leading independent publishing platform, mentioned in their article that Austen was also one of the most historic authors who succeeded in self-publishing. 

Far from the fate of her famous heroines, Austen remained unmarried. In an article published by Independent UK, a British online publisher of news that was established in 1986, they stated that author Helen Amy demolished a few assumptions about the author’s life in her new book, "The Austen Girls."

Austen was an English author born on December 16, 1775. She was the famous writer of several novels including 'Northanger Abbey,' 'Pride and Prejudice,' 'Sense & Sensibility,' 'Mansfield Park,' 'Emma,' and 'Persuasion' / Photo by: Charlotta Wasteson via Flickr

 

“Another myth about Jane Austen, which was started by some of her early biographers including her nephew, was that she led a calm and troubled life. The Austen family, like most others, had their share of bereavement and tragedy,” Amy wrote. 

Austen's life was not always sunshine and rainbows because most of her beloved family members suffered from diseases, which eventually caused their untimely deaths. This included the sudden premature death of her elder sister’s fiance from yellow fever. Aside from that, the women in her family also suffered from a myriad of struggles related to childbirth. 

Jane Austen’s Spinsterhood

Austen’s novels are filled with great stories of romance set in her era. Her present-day popularity derives from the fact that her heroines, although two centuries old, remain a romantic beacon for the modern age. Her works tell the stories of the universal message of marrying for love rather than for money, and women choosing the one they love rather than the one that their family prefers.

However, if the old adage ‘write what you know’ is to be applied to her writings, then she should be the happiest woman in the history of marriages. In an article published by the History Magazine, a British publication devoted to history articles, they shared that Austen never experienced walking down the aisle. 

The reason remains unclear up to now, but one thing is for sure: the whitewashing of her public persona started immediately after her death in 1817 when her brother Henry Austen wrote an autobiographical note in the preface of the publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. 

Her fate as a virtuous Christian ‘spinster’ generated Victorian curiosity during her time. But by the middle of the 20th century, literary critic QD Leavis protested against the “conventional account of Miss Austen as prim, demure, sedate, prudish, and so on, the typical Victorian maiden lady.” The public continued to speculate on her true demeanor, including an alleged lesbian love affair and a devoted love for her literary works which swayed her from the idea of getting married. 

Emma, Today

Despite the mystery that will probably always surround Austen, her works are reinterpreted and remade everyday. The fresh adaptation for Austen’s Emma has recently arrived, and the remake looks incredibly promising. Vogue UK, a fashion magazine, reported in their article that the forthcoming movie is in the good hands of stylist fashion photographer Autumn de Wilde. 

This movie is going to be de Wilde’s feature debut, but the 48-year-old’s previous works are impressive enough to say that the Emma adaptation might just be a good film. Anya Taylor-Joy will assume the titular role after she proved that her charm is a perfect fit for period dramas in the BBC adaptation of The Miniaturist. 

She will be joined by Josh O’Connor, who recently became part of Netflix’s The Crown, as he will play the social-climbing Mr. Elton. Johnny Flynn, from Vanity Fair and Les Miserables, is set to be part of the cast as the honorable Mr. Knightley. 

The Focus Features production is producing the upcoming period movie from Jane Austen. It is set for release on February 14, 2020. The trailer sees the romantic comedy reimagined; Focus Features calls it a “glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up.”

Despite the mystery that will probably always surround Austen, her works are reinterpreted and remade everyday. The fresh adaptation for Austen’s Emma has recently arrived, and the remake looks incredibly promising / Photo by: Leah Kelley via Pexels