(K. Brent Tomer),
SHE has small, unexceptional features and stares blankly into space. A lace bonnet keeps her dark curls in place, save for a few neat strands that frame her face. Behind her is a large country house and an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, her most famous creation. This is the airbrushed image of Jane Austen on the new British £10 note which will be released on July 18th, the bicentenary of her death: just one example of how she has been reshaped and reimagined on her path to becoming a global literary sensation.
Austen was born on December 16th 1775, one of eight children. She briefly attended school, but this proved too expensive for her father. So she educated herself in his library instead, and spent her teenage years scribbling gleeful tales of female drunkenness and violence. It is believed that she received a marriage proposal, yet chose the financially precarious option of remaining single, moving often. She completed six novels—two of which were published posthumously—but…Continue reading