200 years later, Jane Austen continues to give pleasure to millions worldwide.
Jane's novels have been translated into 35 languages, sold millions of copies worldwide, and inspired countless adaptations, biographies, documentaries and re-imaginings.
Having long been enjoyed by classical readers and scholars, Jane Austen has been propelled to international stardom in the last decades starting in 1995 with Colin Firth’s iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy, Emma Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility and Clueless, a modern adaptation of Emma. Since then, there have been over 70 films and mini-series inspired by Jane's work including Bridget Jones's Diary, The Jane Austen Book Club and, most recently, Love and Friendship based on Jane's novella Lady Susan.
Each year thousands of ‘Janeites’ attend festivals and events to celebrate Jane Austen’s life and times and Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton attracts visitors from around the world.
On 7th July 1809, Jane Austen moved to a cottage in the middle of the village of Chawton, her brother Edward Austen Knight's Hampshire estate.
Jane's brother Edward had been adopted by fourth cousin Thomas Knight to become heir to Chawton and Steventon in Hampshire, where Jane grew up, and Godmersham Park in Kent.
Jane was 33 years old and, despite her best efforts, was unpublished. Chawton Cottage gave Jane the security, time and privacy she needed to focus on her writing and within two years Sense & Sensibility was published. Next, Jane revised an earlier manuscript to create Pride & Prejudice, her most famous and best loved novel, published in 1813. Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion were conceived and written in Chawton, the latter of which was published after Jane's untimely death on 18th July 1817, along with an early novel, Northanger Abbey.
On 18th July 2017 the world commemorates the bi-centennial of Jane Austen's death.
In the highest of honours, Jane Austen will become the face of the Bank of England ten pound note.
"Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature,"
Mr Carney, Governor of the Bank of England