The Rivalry between Jane Austen’s Sister and Sister-Friend – Something Rhymed
However, on closer inspection, it is not only Austen's work but also that of her sister Cassandra. Jane Austen's close relationship with her sister. Cassandra Austen, Jane's beloved sister If Cassandra were going to have her head cut off, Jane would insist on sharing her fate.” Mrs. Austen. View a 'Letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, 25 April ' on the British In April Jane Austen, who was staying in London with her brother .. and considers the relationship between these early works and her adult novels.
Austen worked away in the rectory and also tried his hand at farming on the side to earn more money for the growing family."Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen - Chapter 32
Additionally, he would take on teaching roles within the home to outside children for additional funds. The Austen children would all grow within this close-knit family with Jane herself forming an exceptional bond with her father.
Inat the age of 8, Jane and her sister Cassandra were sent off to boarding school for their formal educations. Education would consist of the appropriate teachings of the time, which included foreign language mainly Frenchmusic and dancing. Returning home, the rest of Jane's education centered mainly around what her father and brothers could teach her and, of course, what she could learn from her own reading.
Austen was part of the church, he kept a large collection of literature in his home library. This library was open to Jane and Cassandra as well and the two made extensive use of it in both reading and writing endeavors, with Jane taking the lead in both. Austen fed Jane's interest in writing by supplying his books, paper and writing tools to allow her to explore her creative side.
By all accounts, life inside the Austen homestead was a casual environment where many an attempt at humor was made with some very good debating going on on the side. It became quite common for the family to invest time and energy into making home-based productions of existing plays or writing and acting out their own creations.
One can only assume that it was in these exercises that the true talent of Jane Austen was being nurtured - through observation, improvisation, acting and participation.
These collections consisted of stories and poems that allowed Jane to touch upon topics of interest and reflect the times. Collectively, these works became the Juvenilia and made up three whole notebooks. ByJane penned the dark, satirical comedy Love and Friendship, and began to lean towards writing seriously.
Four years time would see her delve into play writing in the form of Sir Charles Garandison or the Happy Man, a comedy centered around the works she was forced to read in schools and consisted of six full acts. Unfortunately, the idea fell to naught and was abandoned for another idea that later became Susan, a novel told in the epistolary format - that is, a story told as a series of letters.
Cassandra Austen: Jane Austen's Beloved Older Sister
Sometime beforemembers of the Austen family recalled Jane completing the work entitled Elinor and Marianne to which she would then read aloud for the amusement of the Austen family.
Tom Lefroy In December ofa nephew of nearby neighbors began placing several visits to Steventon. His name was Tom Lefroy, a student studying in London to be a barrister. Jane and Tom began spending much time with one another and it was noticed by both families. This marks the one documented instance of Jane Austen admitting to falling in love and spent a great deal of energy in writing to her sister Cassandra about their relationship.
Unfortunately for the pair, the family of Tom Lefroy reviewed any forthcoming engagement as highly impractical as Tom was being supported externally by family members whilst he was in school and planning for his own practice. Jane herself, and her family for that matter, had no more to offer in the pairing. As such, Lefroy's family intervened and sent Tom away.
Even when in town again, every effort to keep Tom from Jane was made and Jane was never to see her love again for the rest of her life. First Impressions and Advancing a Writing Career With their formal educations completed at the boarding school, Jane and Cassandra return home permanently and Jane sets out to pen the work First Impressions.
The first draft was completed sometime in Always the supportive father, Mr.
Cassandra Austen: Jane Austen’s Beloved Older Sister
Austen takes a serious step to help his talented daughter succeed. With one of her works, he attempted to have the piece published through Thomas Cadell, a publisher based in London.
The attempt fell flat as Cadell was quick to reject the work, not even bothering to open the package. It remains unknown if Jane knew of her father's attempt at assisting her in her career. Jane returned to work on Elinor and Marianne, completing all revisions to the story by The revisions are quite substantial in that she removed the epistolary point of view of the storytelling and instituted a more traditional 3rd person.
With the work up to her new standard now, she began serious work on Susan. Susan is the work that would go on to become Northanger Abbey. But before work on Susan was completed, Jane decided to revisit the short play she had attempted all those years before - Sir Charles Grandison or the Happy Man.
In this go-round, Jane saw her first play to completion all while finding time to finish Susan. Jane's father George announced that he was retiring from the clergy, an announcement that seems to take the Austen family by complete surprise. This meant that their stay in Steventon was all but over, much to the dismay of Jane, whom had formed an attachment to the one and only home she has known her entire life.
Now at age 27, she and the entire Austen family moved to the town of Bath for the Austen parent's retirement life. A Proposal of Marriage Now we come to the part of the story where Jane's novels meet real life. Enter the real life character in the form of Harris Bigg-Wither, a childhood friend of the family and of Jane's. Once again in the month of December - this time in - Jane receives her one and only known proposal of marriage from Mr. Sensing the practical measure of both their situations, Jane agrees to the marriage.
Bigg-Withers is due to inherit a sizeable amount of real estate and is well off. His one negative seems to be Jane's indifference to the man as a whole. She expressed no true love for him, no affection whatsoever, but the convenience of being provided for and for her family's future as well seemed to have dictated her acceptance of the proposal. In a turn very much like one of her penned characters, however, Jane revoked her acceptance the next day.
In a letter to her niece some years later, a family member seeking relationship advice from Jane, Jane makes a pivotal comment in her writing that is a summary of many of her stories - her advice to the niece is simply not to wed if the affection is not there. This revelation is a shining insight into the mind of Ms. Austen, seemingly taken out of the very pages of one of her novels, where her heroines did not to marry for money or power, but for love.
Inbrother Henry visited a London publisher by the name of Benjamin Crosby to help push the Susan novel into publication. The copyright for the work is sold for 10 pounds to Crosby with the promise that the piece will be published. Unfortunately, Crosby never fulfilled his end of the bargain in any acceptable timeframe and a tug-of-war over control of the copyright will go on for some time. Nevertheless, Jane continued working, this time on a piece entitled The Watsons. Chawton Cottage January 21st of brought about startling changes to the landscape of the Austen world.
Beloved father George Austen - already falling quickly ill - died to the shock of the family. This period of time forced Jane to put off work on The Watsons indefinitely as the Austen family is thrown into a kind of crisis. The Austen brothers all agree to help support Mrs. Written at the beginning of the many hundreds of letters that she wrote to her sister over the years, years when they were frequently parted owing to family duties elsewhere.
Jane Austen Biography
Either Cassandra or Jane often went to stay with their brothers in Kent or London, leaving the other behind, and so the letters were a lifeline between the sisters; they imparted news, relayed gossip, reflected on events, and sometimes, although these letters have not survived, we can be sure that they shared secrets with each other too.
On 16th December,the wife of a Hampshire clergyman gave birth to her seventh child. The sisters grew up together at the parsonage in Steventon, sharing a bedroom, a practice that continued all their lives. We can be sure that they played together too, very probably rolling down the grassy slope that lay at the back of the house and which you can still see if you visit the site of their birthplace today the house no longer exists. They went to school together too, sent away from home at a young age to schools in Oxford, Southampton and then Reading.
Years later, Mrs Austen recalled that Jane was so attached to her older sister that she insisted on going away with her, even though at the time she was considered too young to go. One of her early works was entitled A History of England — a parody of the rather boring and earnest histories of England that could be found on the shelves of the circulating libraries that were so popular then.
The work was dedicated to Cassandra, as was another early work; Catherine, or The Bower.
And then, inwhen Jane Austen was nineteen, she started work on a novel called Elinor and Marianne, later to become her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. It tells the story of two sisters who are without money and ready to fall in love. It is very tempting to see reflections of the Austen sisters in their fictional counterparts. Elinor, the older, quieter, more sensible sister, and Marianne, the younger, more impulsive artistic one who flirts inappropriately with a man in public.
But Jane was not rich and Tom Lefroy needed to marry money; he left the neighbourhood and she never saw him again. Meanwhile, Cassandra had also fallen in love, with a neighbour called Tom Fowle. Neither of them was rich, and they postponed their marriage while he went away to the West Indies to work as a chaplain. Over a year later, news came of his death, of yellow-fever.
- Jane Austen Biography
- Cassandra Austen
Although no letters survive from this period, we can be sure that Jane supported her sister at this sad time. After what must have been an agonising night, Jane Austen retracted her acceptance. And so the two sisters settled down to spinsterhood and a life shared with each other rather than with a husband. And the letters continue.
Whenever they are apart, they write to each other. It is thought she did this to protect the memory of her sister; it is likely these were the letters that were the most intimate and revealing.
We can also presume that she destroyed the letters that she wrote to Jane as none of these survive either. But we do have a couple of letters written by Cassandra. They survive because they are letters she wrote not to Jane, but to one of their favourite nieces, Fanny Knight, daughter of their brother Edward.
These letters are perhaps the best proof of the very close bond that the sisters shared. And in these letters, Cassandra comes out of the shadows and we hear her voice at last.
Her health had been indifferent for some months and Cassandra had accompanied her to Cheltenham, to take the waters there in the hope she would regain strength. But eventually, Jane moved to Winchester, to be nearer to her doctor.