The Jane Austen Center
Let’s take a trip to England in 1775, when one of the best romance novelists was born: Jane Austen! She began to write novels when she was thirteen, and her first book, Northanger Abbey, was based on a trip she experienced to Bath. Over the years she completed six novels and left another two unfinished. Unlike her female protagonists, Jane Austen and her only sister never married. She live her life under the care of first her parents, and then various brothers. Miss Austen often claimed that her novels were her children, and she was extremely fond of them all. Four of her books would be published during her lifetime (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma), though they were published anonymously. Her last two books (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey) would be published using her name after she died. One of her brothers, Henry Austen, later gave Jane the credit for the previous four books. Her books have been exceedingly popular and never out of print since 1832. Jane Austen died in 1817 after her health failed her. She was 42.
Jane Austen has to be one of my favorite authors for a number of reasons:
- Her novels beautifully showcase the late 18th and early 19th century and the difficulties for women during this time period
- She was extremely dedicated to her work, sometimes taking decades to edit and revise her novels
- Her own life was so different from the lives of her characters. She was engaged twice; her own true love died before they could get married; she lived her adult life relying on the kindness of her parents and brothers
Her hardships and experiences are imbedded in her novels. This woman is such an inspiration to me that of course I had to visit her museum in Bath, England.
The Jane Austen Center is a fabulous experience for those who love her work and anyone looking for something to do. The employees are all dressed up as characters from the novels. A ticket to the museum includes a talk about her life, learning about the history of Bath and how it influenced her writing, and seeing a wax figure of Jane Austen herself. My favorite parts of the tour included discussing where Jane had lived during her time in Bath and her experiences there, and dressing up in 18th century garb and taking photos with a Mr. Darcy wax model.
Tickets to the museum cost £12 ($16.85) for an adult, though they do accept international student ID cards. Other parts to the museum include a tea room, where you can eat traditional finger sandwiches while drinking tea, and a walking tour through Bath to all the signification places Jane Austen visited during her life. For more information, please visit their website.
(I take all of my own pictures. I do not get paid to advertise)