I recently discovered this wonderful blog on everything Jane Austen. This post is particularly interesting!
It is a truth universally known that during her lifetime, Jane Austen published her novels as “a lady.” While some in the family knew about her writing success – her brother Henry and sister Cassandra swiftly come to mind – many did not, including the cousins. When a genteel woman like Jane was described as being at “work”, the phrase meant needlework and sewing clothes for the poor basket. A lady simply did not sully her hands by toiling at a trade. Jane did not want it bandied about that she was the author of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, but her proud siblings, Henry in particular, couldn’t restrain themselves and bragged about their talented sister. The word got out and the least well-kept secret was the name of the lady who wrote those delightful novels.
James Edward Austen, the son of Jane’s eldest brother James…
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