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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.
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.
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.
Jane writes a short novel, Lady Susan but does not submit it for publication.
Jane, about 19, writes Elinor and Marianne as a series of letters between characters.
Jane begins writing First Impressions.
Jane finishes First Impressions.
- Jane’s father offers First Impressions to a publisher but is rejected.
- Jane revises Elinor and Marianne. It eventually becomes Sense and Sensibility.
Jane begins writing Susan.
Jane completes Susan.
Jane completes Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man, a comedy in 6 acts.
Reverend Austen, Jane’s father, moves to Bath with his wife and daughter.
- 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.
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.
Jane Austen writes The Watsons but does not complete it.
Jane’s father dies in Bath.
Jane, Cassandra and their mother move to another residence in Bath.
The Austens move to Southampton.
Jane encourages the publisher that has the copyright to Susan (Northanger Abbey) to publish it but is unsuccessful.
The Austen family moves to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire.
After a few years away from her writing desk, Jane gets back to work.
Sense and Sensibility is accepted for publication.
Jane begins work on Mansfield Park.
October 30, 1811
Sense and Sensibility is published anonymously. The first edition lists “a lady” as the author.
Jane revises First Impressions which eventually becomes Pride and Prejudice.
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.
Jane finishes Mansfield Park. It is accepted for publication later that year.
Jane begins working on Emma.
May 9, 1814
Mansfield Park is published anonymously.
Jane finishes writing Emma.
Jane begins writing Persuasion.
Emma is published anonymously.
- 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.
Jane completes Persuasion.
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.
Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are published together.
Lady Susan, the first novel Jane ever wrote, is published.
Sanditon, an unfinished novel Jane was working on in early 1817, is published.
The first major motion picture adaptation of Pride and Prejudice hits theatres. Laurence Olivier stars as Mr. Darcy.
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.
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.
Sense and Sensibility debuts. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star.
Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow debuts.
Mansfield Park, starring Frances O’Connor, debuts.
The first annual Jane Austen Festival is held in Bath.
Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, hits the big screen.
- 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.
The BBC debuts a four-part mini-series based on Emma. (I love this series.)
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.)
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.