“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” said Caroline Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice”, promptly throwing aside her book after making this statement.
It’s World Book Day and Women’s History month, so we wanted to celebrate one of Britain’s most-loved female authors – Jane Austen. Her iconic wit and humor has made her books timeless classics that continue to inspire authors (“Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”), filmmakers (“Clueless”) and even YouTubers (Lizzie Bennet Diaries) to this day.
Born in 1775 in Steventon, a small village on the outskirts of Basingstoke, Austen grew up in a large family with access to an abundance of books from her father’s library, which no doubt inspired her passion for reading and writing. Over the course of her life, she resided in a number of different places but found herself most productive in the countryside, writing the majority of her works in her houses in Steventon and Chawton.
Explore the map below to find out more about each of the places she lived.
Austen began writing between the ages of 11 and 17 and completed six novels in her lifetime. Commonly following themes of love, marriage and ambition, Austen touched upon topics that retain relevance to this day.
Despite the modern financial success of her novels and their adaptations, Austen didn’t see much financial benefit from her works whilst she was alive. Her highest paid work was “Northanger Abbey & Persuasion”, released posthumously as a double feature novel and negotiated by her brother for £500 – which today equates to £45,639.19. Previously to this, her novel “Emma” paid her just £38.18 – £3,622.21 today.
It is testament to the timelessness of Austen’s work that her writings continue to be adapted into new forms hundreds of years after they were written. Have you watched any of these adaptations?
But don’t just take it from us – over 1,900,000 Goodreads readers have given “Pride and Prejudice” a five-star rating, proving that Austen’s most renowned novel really is a book worth reading.
“Pride and Prejudice” remains one of Austen’s most iconic and successful novels, and the first line of the novel has left an imprint upon many. Click on the highlighted sentence below to learn more!
Jane Austen isn’t the only one to have made an impact on society, the character of Mr Darcy has also been a hit in adaptations of her work – though sometimes for unexpected reasons.
Director Simon Langton planned Mr Darcy’s iconic lake scene in the 1995 BBC adaptation as a display of awkwardness between Elizabeth and Darcy, and yet Colin Firth’s emergence from the lake at Pemberly had audience’s hearts racing with joy as opposed to embarrassment, and a youtube video of the scene has now reached over 9 million views.
I wonder what Miss Austen would think?