Visiting Jane Austen

You’ve read the books. You’ve read about the author. But still, you want more. If you travel to England there are three choice places that any Jane Austen fan needs to add to their list of experiences.

Jane Austen’s House Museum

The building that houses the museum was once Jane Austen’s home. Walk through the halls, see her writing desk, sit in the garden and peruse the well stock gift shop. During the last eight years of her life she wrote and edited some of our favorite works here. The building is located in Chawton, England and has a reasonably price entry fee ranging from four to seven pounds depending on the time of the year.

The website had event information and links to other Austen related websites worth checking out. If you can’t make it to England they have a short flash image tour you can watch online; not as impressive as being there in person but a beautiful sentiment.

Visit the Jane Austen’s House Museum online.

Winchester Cathedral

To say cathedrals from the 11th century are beautiful is an understatement. In many cases they are breath taking and one does not need to be from a religious background to enjoy their history. The Winchester Cathedral is located in Hampshire, England and is the resting place of Jane Austen. She is buried in the nave “close to familiar acquaintances”.

The website makes two small mentions of her. First, that there is a tomb where she lies; and second, that there is a special tour: “Jane Austen – Her Life and Times” which “offers visitors an intimate and often amusing insight into her life.” You will also find notable historical information about the church, other public tours and directions. Be sure to check out the photo gallery for amazing photos of this architectural beauty.

Visit Winchester Cathedral’s official website.

Jane Austen Center

She lived in Bath, England for five years and many of her novels mention or describe it. While she did not live in residence in this building, it seems most logical that there would be a center dedicated to her. The Center was “created with the guidance of local members of the Jane Austen Society and authorities”. The exhibition’s main focus is the five years that Austen spent here. The gift shop offers all the usual Jane Austen paraphernalia including period costumes (or patterns to make your own).

The website offers the latest tourist information (including tours), a monthly newsletter that can be read online or delivered by email, and a bit of historical information like famous people from Regency society.

Visit the Jane Austen Center online.

Have a look at these locations on the Google map:
View Jane Austen Architecture in a larger map

This piece was originally posted on 5/13/2009 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.

Jane Austen Basics

Beloved for almost two hundred years, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the afterlife of this classic novelist. New editions of her literary works are being released every year gaining new fans and delighting die-hards.

Portrait of Novelist Jane AustenJane Austen was born December 16, 1775 in Hampshire, England. She was born into an educated family with some grounding in society because her father was a priest. She grew up in a household of seven siblings (George, Edward, Henry, Cassandra, and Frank) all of whom were encouraged to develop a hardiness for reading. Her childhood was divided between the rectory and boarding school. Like most women of her time writing was encouraged in the form of journaling and letters but she took it one step further and began to write stories in her early teens as gifts for family members. With their encouragement she began her profession as a writer creating novels filled with deception, love, acceptance, and of course wit.

Jane Austen published four novels in her lifetime. Two were published after her death by her brother. The novels include: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1817), and Persuasion (1817). Her novels were published anonymously. All of her novels have been developed into screenplays for television and some for movies. The most loved tends to be Pride and Prejudice both in print and on the screen.

Jane Austen died at the age of forty-one (July 18, 1817) from what is now surmised to be Addison’s disease. Her sister Cassandra was by her side. Jane had never married. Her body is interred at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England.

During Jane Austen’s life she witnessed some success from her novels but she never could have imagined the longevity and eventual cult following that exists today. She is readily studied by scholars in colleges and universities while the general public continues to scrumptiously devour her Regency works.

Test your knowledge of Jane Austen.

This piece was initially published 4/29/2009 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.