Maiden Aunt Takes Up Expensive, Time-Consuming Hobby


“How did a woman from a small village in Hampshire come to write six of the most beloved novels in the English language?”

Humanities seeks to answer that question with a thorough sketch of Jane Austen’s life as she worked to become a writer. Read it to learn about her family’s struggles with money, her obsession with guarding the secret of her authorial identity, and “everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together” with an Irish boy.

Unexpected bit of trivia: Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, came to the world through a process that looks to the modern eye a lot like self-publishing.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →