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среда, 4 января 2012 г.

10 greatest "failures" of Jane Austen's life as a writer

Jane Austen,
image from
It's only the beginning of the year, yet everybody has been incessantly talking about their New Year's resolutions. New Year's resolutions are essentially your plans to accomplish certain things in the new year. The pressure to succeed makes a lot of us restless as time goes by and we seem to want and desire to achieve more than we did last year. That's what's called "a rat race." I hope that you will try to stay out of it as much as possible, whether you enjoy your current job or would like to take the plunge and venture into the unknown. Wherever you are in your career, I thought there're some lessons we all can learn from Jane Austen, now a famous writer, but in the 19th century - a struggling author, fighting for her very survival and never receiving the acknowledgement she deserved directly. Yet, none of the circumstances seemed to have broken her. So, here're 10 of her major "life failures" that still produced such an accomplished writer:

  1. She didn't get full education as her parents could not afford to send her back to boarding school after she spent 1 year there, so starting at the age of 10, she worked on her education at home, learning through books and guided by her father.
  2. Ever since she returned home from her one year at boarding school she had never lived apart from her family, until the day she died. She never married.
  3. She was particularly proud of her exceptional dancing and sewing skills.
  4. She completed Pride and Prejudice when she was only 21, but the publisher refused to publish it.
  5. Following her father's death, Jane Austen, her sister and mother remained homeless for several years as the father had not gained much wealth to provide for his family's comfortable retirement. 
  6. In her attempts to publish her books, Jane Austen exhausted her finances, put herself in a bind by selling the copyright to a male publisher who never published the book and then demanded that she pay 10 pounds to repurchase it again from him. She did not have the money to do that.
  7. Invited to live with her brother, the Austen clan moved to a new place, and Jane spent time doing charity work and teaching some poor boys and girls to read and write.
  8. Her four well-known novels were published when she was 36. They were published anonymously (see the image above).
  9. Though her novels sold well, the bank where she had invested all her money went down leaving their entire family in debt.
  10. She died at the age of 41 of an unknown disease. The epitaph on her grave mentioned her devotion to God and her faith in Christ, but never reflected anything about her as a writer.
Despite all the odds, Jane Austen continued writing. She polished her works and re-wrote her novels multiple times leaving behind a rich legacy to be enjoyed by many.