Interesting Literature

A very short biography of Jane Austen told in five pieces of great trivia

1. Many writers have hated her. D. H. Lawrence called Jane Austen a ‘narrow gutted spinster’, while Mark Twain didn’t pull any punches: ‘Everytime I read “Pride and Prejudice” I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone,’ he wrote in a letter to Joseph Twichell in 1898. (Twain’s attitude to Austen is a little more complicated than this line suggestions, however.) Virginia Woolf later wrote that ‘I’d give all she ever wrote for half what the Brontës wrote—if my reason did not compel me to see that she is a magnificent artist.’ She had a difficult time getting her novels into print: Pride and Prejudice was eventually published in 1813, but its earlier incarnation (as First Impressions) had been turned down by a leading London publisher when Austen’s…

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