Watercolour of Jane Austen by her sister (1804)
Today is Jane Austen's birthday. From Biography.com,
The seventh child and second daughter of Cassandra and George Austen, Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Jane's parents were well-respected community members. Her father served as the Oxford-educated rector for a nearby Anglican parish. The family was close and the children grew up in an environment that stressed learning and creative thinking. When Jane was young, she and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father's extensive library. The children also authored and put on plays and charades.
In 1801, Jane moved to Bath with her father, mother and Cassandra. Then, in 1805, her father died after a short illness. As a result, the family was thrust into financial straits; the three women moved from place to place, skipping between the homes of various family members to rented flats. It was not until 1809 that they were able to settle into a stable living situation at Jane's brother Edward's cottage in Chawton.
Now in her 30s, Jane started to anonymously publish her works. In the period spanning 1811-16, she pseudonymously published Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (a work she referred to as her "darling child," which also received critical acclaim), Mansfield Park and Emma.
I did not read Jane Austen in high school .... but I certainly fell in love with the BBC mini series of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Sigh. What's not to love about the gorgeous scenery, costumes, and language. It was not only a romantic story but an action adventure with social commentary. The cable network A&E broadcast PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in 1996 - the summer before my wedding. Since we were honeymooning in England, I thought it appropriate to take along a print copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I bought Austen's other novels in London.
Jane Austen set the stage for me to fall in love with historical romances .... do you have a favorite Jane Austen book, movie, or inspired story? What drew you into Romanceland? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, December 18, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Monday, December 19.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Lyme Park served as Pemberley in P&P