Jane Austen: A Brief Timeline

July 18, 2017 marks 200 years since English novelist Jane Austen passed away at the age 41, leaving behind a collection of witty romance novels that have inspired and entertained readers ever since.

This timeline of Jane’s life is far from exhaustive. I mostly wanted to focus on her writing, her publications and the media based on her work that came after.


December 16, 1775

Jane Austen is born in Hampshire, England.

 

Spring 1783

Jane (age 7) and her sister Cassandra are sent to Oxford to be educated by Ann Crawley.

 

Spring 1785 — December 1786

Jane and Cassandra attend Abbey School in Reading.

 

 

1793

Jane starts to write her first major project, a play that would later be called Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man, a comedy in 6 acts. She sets it aside to be completed later.

 

1794

Jane writes a short novel, Lady Susan but does not submit it for publication.

 

1795

Jane, about 19, writes Elinor and Marianne as a series of letters between characters.

 

October 1796

Jane begins writing First Impressions.

 

August 1797

Jane finishes First Impressions.

 

November 1797

  • Jane’s father offers First Impressions to a publisher but is rejected.
  • Jane revises Elinor and Marianne. It eventually becomes Sense and Sensibility.

 

August 1798

Jane begins writing Susan.

 

Late 1799

Jane completes Susan.

 

1800

Jane completes Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man, a comedy in 6 acts.

 

May 1801

Reverend Austen, Jane’s father, moves to Bath with his wife and daughter.

 

December 1802

  • Jane, age 27, receives a proposal of marriage from Harris Bigg-Wither, the brother of a long-time friend. She accepts… and then changes her mind the following day.
  • Jane revises Susan which eventually becomes Northanger Abbey.

 

Spring 1803

Jane sells the copyright for Susan (Northanger Abbey) to a London publisher for £10. They did not end up publishing the novel but retained the copyright.

 

1804

Jane Austen writes The Watsons but does not complete it.

 

January 1805

Jane’s father dies in Bath.

 

March 1805

Jane, Cassandra and their mother move to another residence in Bath.

 

1807

The Austens move to Southampton.

 

April 1809

Jane encourages the publisher that has the copyright to Susan (Northanger Abbey) to publish it but is unsuccessful.

 

July 1809

The Austen family moves to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire.

 

August 1809

After a few years away from her writing desk, Jane gets back to work.

 

Winter 1810

Sense and Sensibility is accepted for publication.

 

February 1811

Jane begins work on Mansfield Park.

 

October 30, 1811

Sense and Sensibility is published anonymously. The first edition lists “a lady” as the author.

 

Winter 1811

Jane revises First Impressions which eventually becomes Pride and Prejudice.

 

Fall 1812

Pride and Prejudice is sold to the same publisher as Sense and Sensibility, this time for £110.

 

January 28, 1813

Pride and Prejudice is published anonymously.

 

Summer 1813

Jane finishes Mansfield Park. It is accepted for publication later that year.

 

January 1814

Jane begins working on Emma.

 

May 9, 1814

Mansfield Park is published anonymously.

 

March 1815

Jane finishes writing Emma.

 

August 1815

Jane begins writing Persuasion.

 

December 1815

Emma is published anonymously.

 

Spring 1816

  • Jane begins to feel unwell but ignores her symptoms.
  • Jane’s brother buys the copyright for Susan back from the publisher for £10. The publisher doesn’t know Jane is now incredibly successful.
  • Jane revises Susan under the name Catharine with plans to publish it.

 

August 1816

Jane completes Persuasion.

 

Early 1817

Jane works on a novel later titled Sanditon.

 

May 24, 1817

Cassandra takes Jane to Winchester for medical treatment.

 

July 18, 1817

Jane Austen dies at the age of 41, possibly of tuberculosis, cancer, Addison’s disease or lymphoma. She was buried at Winchester Cathedral a few days later.

 

December 1817

Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are published together.

 

1871

Lady Susan, the first novel Jane ever wrote, is published.

 

1925

Sanditon, an unfinished novel Jane was working on in early 1817, is published.

 

July 1940

The first major motion picture adaptation of Pride and Prejudice hits theatres. Laurence Olivier stars as Mr. Darcy.

 

September 1995

BBC releases a six-episode TV mini series based on Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. It continues to be a favorite among Austen enthusiasts.

 

April 1995

Persuasion debuts. Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds star. Another version of Persuasion, starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones, was released by BBC in 2007.

 

December 1995

Sense and Sensibility debuts. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star.

 

August 1996

Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow debuts.

 

November 1999

Mansfield Park, starring Frances O’Connor, debuts.

 

September 2001

The first annual Jane Austen Festival is held in Bath.

 

September 2005

Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, hits the big screen.

 

March 2007

  • Becoming Jane, a film based on a Jane Austen biography Jon Hunter Spence, debuts. American actress Anne Hathaway stars as Jane.
  • Northanger Abbey, starring Felicity Jones, airs on ITV.

 

October 2009

The BBC debuts a four-part mini-series based on Emma. (I love this series.)

 

2011

Death Comes to Pemberley, a murder mystery by P. D. James featuring the characters of Pride and Prejudice, is released. BBC did a TV mini-series based on the novel that aired in December 2013. (So good.)

 

July 2013

The Bank of England announces Jane Austen will be featured on a £10 note. Other than the Queen, Jane Austen is the only woman to appear on a British pound note.

 

July 18, 2017

The final design for the Jane Austen £10 note is announced. The bills are expected to go into circulation in Britain in September.


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jillianne hamilton headshotJillianne Hamilton is an author, history enthusiast, book lover and graphic designer. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. She is currently working on her first non-fiction book. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast.
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