Slide show: Catherine Morland
Slide Show - Isabella Thorpe
Biography of Jane Austen
Rather than give an extensive biography of Austen, the most important events in her life that shaped this novel will be summarised.
- Early life: Austen was born in 1775 as the 7th of 8 children from Steventon, bear Basingstoke in Hampshire. She was very close to her family, but in particular with her older sister Cassandra. Her father, who was a Reverend owned an extensive library which Jane loved to spend her time in.
- At the age of 14 she wrote Love and Friendship and later A History of England by a Partial, Ignorant Historian - as you can tell solely by the names, that her ironic and witty writing style was already present in this early writing. She wrote these texts mainly to entertain her family.
- Austen fell in love with Tom Lefroy, a neighbor of her family. The two youths (she was twenty at the time) were not able to marry however, as neither family had any money and there was little to be gained for either family through a marriage. Lefroy went on to become Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.
- Two years later in 1798, Austen wrote Northanger Abbey, she sold the copy write to Benjamin Crosby - but later bought it back as he never published it.
- Six years later Harris Big-Wither, the brother of an old friend, proposed to Austen. Though she initially accepted the proposal, Austen later rejected Big-Wither. This was due to the fact that she did not love him, therefore believed they were not compatible to marry.
- At age 40 (in 1816), Austen became unwell and though she originally continued to write, her sickness soon became to much for her and she discontinued writing. In 1817, Jane Austen died at the age of 41. The exact disease she suffered is still unknown, and a subject of debate among academics; with some of the most likely options being: bovine tuberculosis or Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
- Northanger Abbey was published posthumously only months after her death by her sister Cassandra, with a biographical note from her brother Henry. It is important to note that Austen's tombstone did not make mention of the fact that she was an author, despite the fact that it was the major influence in her life. This is widely believed to be due to social pressures which rarely allowed for a female writer.
Below is the first part of a BBC documentary called 'The Real Jane Austen' which gives a more in depth summary of her life.
- Gender equality
- Societal Pressure
- Gothic contrasting with romanticism
- Folly of love
- Satire of the stereotypical novel
- The fine line between love and lunacy
Quotes on Catherine's appearance:
Social Class Quotes
- "She is almost pretty.”
- “She began to curl her hair.”
- “Her features were softened by plumpness and colour.”
- "Her hair was cut and dressed by the best hands.”
- "Appeared to much advantage."
- "It is this delightful habit of journalizing which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is particularly female."
- "No young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her."
Social Class Quotes
- "Catherine began to feel something of disappointment - she was tired of being continually pressed against by people, the generality of whose faces possessed nothing to interest, and with all of whom she was so wholly unacquainted."
- "I hate the idea of one great fortune looking out for another. And to marry for money I think the wickedest thing in existence."
- "There is no doing without money." (Isabella)