I have commenced a wonderful journey into the world of Jane Austen and, along with Ariel from BooksUnbound, will be reading all of her novels in the order they were written. While starting Northanger Abbey, I realized I knew nothing about Jane Austen and pulled up Discovery Education and YouTube until I found a documentary that looked interesting on her life. I ended up watching on on YouTube.
I found part 1 of the documentary quite interesting because it tells that Jane Austen came from a large, middle class family and her father was a minister. Northanger Abbey starts off the same. Typical writing advice for newbs is to write what you know and it’s clear that Jane did just that. Later in the documentary, I found out that she was only 16 when she wrote it!
Part 2 starts to talk more about childhood. It states that Jane’s mother kept her to nurse for a few months and then sent her away to live with someone in the town until she was 2 or 3 years old. This was done for all her children and, in fact, one of the children had tantrums and was a late talker so he never returned home. Instead, he was sent away to be adopted by an aunt. It seemed he had a developmental delay and it’s clear that children with special needs were not integrated into society. Furthermore, Jane was sent again when she was seven because her father needed her room for some students that he took on for extra money. She went to a boarding school in Oxford and stayed there for four years until her education was determined to be compete. It was at age eleven that she started to devour books at home from her father’s library.
In Part 3 and 4, we learn that marriage during this time period was how a woman gained money. Since she couldn’t work many jobs, money either came from you father or through marriage. For this reason, there was a lot of pressure to marry well and quickly. Jane constantly had to attend social events to find a husband however she never did. She became very close to her sister.
In part 5, we see that Jane wrote 3 books within 4 years. Her father tried to get the books published for her at a time when writing was seen as a hobby for women, not a career. At age 25, she had 3 books published before she suddenly stopped writing. Her family left her childhood home to move to Bath, England and Jane… freaked out. She hated the city.
At 29, Jane’s father died and her brothers had to take care of the women.
Jane may have suffered from lymphoma or another illness. She finally died from a seizure at the age of 41. Two books were published after her death.