Hillcroft LRC

Austentatious ideas – About Jane Austen

Posted on: March 12, 2015

Jane Austen booksFor our display for International Women’s Day, we had to narrow down our selection of inspirational women to just ten. We had a science theme so many of the women who made waves in the arts and humanities were left out. With a couple of students commenting on the absence of the author Jane Austen, it made us think about this inspirational woman in particular.

According to the website Biography.com Jane didn’t receive much recognition during her lifetime and that it was only in the 1920s that people began to see her six works of fiction as genius. In Tomalin’s biography of Austen (2000 p. 11) she informs us that “Jane Austen’s novels do not ramble”. Her wit and observations into society are remarkable as well as her tightly-woven plots. You can find her writing and adaptations of her work in the LRC by searching the catalogue for “Jane Austen”. The BBC’s TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is one of the most loved of all. The novel was originally titled “First Impressions” whilst Northanger Abbey was first called ‘Susan’.

December 16th is Jane Austen Day in celebration of her lasting influence. Most events take place in Bath, where she once lived. If you can’t wait that long to start finding out about Jane and her world, you can also read the online magazine about all things regency (food, fashion, history).

Jane Austen has been in the news recently as a picture of Jane will replace that of Charles Darwin on the £10 note. This was after a campaign led by journalist and feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez which brought the lack of women on bank notes to the attention of the Bank of England (and the world). The irony is that Jane sold Northanger Abbey to the publisher for £10 in 1803 (see entry for Jane Austen in Encyclopaedia Britannica) which according to the National Archives currency converter would be about £330 in the modern day. Not very much money at all! If only we could go back in time and let her know how priceless her work is.

Which other women do you feel should have made our inspirational women poster or feature more in our everyday lives?

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