On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, we take a look at some little-known facts about Austen’s life and her most famous work, Pride and Prejudice, ahead of the Courtyard Production of the novel.
1. Like Elizabeth and Jane in Pride and Prejudice, Austen was close to her sister, writing her letters every day when they were apart. When Jane died, Cassandra wrote:
“She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow.”
2. Austen received a marriage proposal from childhood friend Harris Bigg-Wither, who was heir to a considerable estate. Austen said yes, but changed her answer the next day.
3. Austen may have used John Parker, Earl of Morley, as the inspiration for her brooding, handsome hero Mr Darcy. Parker was a supposedly “intense” owner of an estate where Austen spent time writing Pride and Prejudice.
4. Jane Austen thought of her novels as children. In letters to her sister, Jane described Pride and Prejudice as her “darling child”.
5. Pride and Prejudice was a long time in the making – Austen started the first draft in October 1796 but the book wasn’t published until January 1813.
6. Austen continued to imagine how her characters lived long after she finished a novel. After the close of Pride and Prejudice, Kitty Bennet eventually married a clergyman near Pemberley, while Mary ended up with a clerk who worked for her Uncle Philips.
8. Pride and Prejudice was published anonymously. Austen didn’t put her name on her novels, instead writing “By a Lady.” The title page of Pride and Prejudice said, “by the author of Sense and Sensibility.” It wasn’t until after her death that her brother revealed her name to the public.
9. Pride and Prejudice has been adapted hundreds of times, with at least 11 film and TV versions of the book. It was also the premise for the Bridget Jones films. The Courtyard’s production has been adapted by Simon Reade and will be a pro-am production featuring professional actors alongside The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre, and directed by Courtyard Associate Director David Durant.
10. Today only, get 10% off The Courtyard’s production of Pride and Prejudice with promo code: AUS10.
Valid until 10am Wednesday 19 July.