English novelist Jane Austen was born on this day (16 December) in 1775, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England.
Jane concealed her writing from most of her acquaintances, slipping her writing paper under a blotter when someone entered the room. Though she avoided society, she was charming, intelligent, and funny, and had several admirers. She actually accepted the marriage proposal of a well-off friend of her family's, but the next day withdrew her acceptance, having decided she could only marry for love. Her novels include Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). She died at age 42, of what may have been Addison's disease. She is one of a handful of authors to have found enduring popularity with both academic and popular readers.
Here are some amusing Austen quotes in honour of the anniversary of her birthday:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
“You have delighted us long enough.”
“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”
“A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”
“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.”