December 16, 2011
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
by Melville House
Jane Austen was born on the 16th of December in 1775 in Hampshire, England, and quickly began a lifelong relationship with books, becoming a voracious reader and then, as we all know by now, a prolific writer of novels and Juvenilia.
In our Art of the Novella series, we featured Austen’s story, titled Lady Susan, which featured a wicked, coquettish heroine who leaves a trail of broken hearts in her wake. This is the only surviving complete draft of any of Austen’s manuscripts, which was likely written from 1794-95. You can see a copy of the original manuscript at the Morgan Library here, or visit Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition, a three-year project by Kathryn Sutherland at the University of Oxford that made its online debut last year.
In honor of her birthday, we suggest that you try the Jane Austen Drinking Game, which some bored Canadians probably came up with one frosty evening when they were faced with an abundance of Labatt Blue in the fridge. The rules are simple. Just remember: two drinks for loss of countenance, and three for its retention. Enjoy!