Jane Austen quotes: Best life lessons from the novelist

Famous words to mark the 200th anniversary of the author's death

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death and a host of events are being held around the country to celebrate.

Born in Hampshire in 1775, Austen was not widely known when she was alive, but her reputation soared in the 20th century and her novels are now literary classics. She moved to Bath in 1801 and died in 1817 in Winchester at the age of 41.

Pride and Prejudice

(Image credit: BBC)

Several exhibitions are being held across Hampshire this year to mark the anniversary of her death, including The Mysterious Miss Austen at the Winchester Discovery Centre, which will explore her work, life and relationship to Hampshire.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Austen fans can also visit her grave at Winchester Cathedral, take part in a Jane Austen Ladies Luncheon at Tylney Hall Hotel in Hook or attend a day of talks and tours at Chawton House Library and Jane Austen's House Museum.

Northanger Abbey

In Bath, a costumed parade on Saturday 9 September kicks off a festival in the author's honour.

A new commemorative £2 coin featuring her portrait also goes into circulation today, along with a new £10 note.

Emma - Jane Austen

(Image credit: This content is subject to copyright.)

While Austen's books might conjure up images of women in bonnets and empire-waist gowns, her stories have proved to be timeless - and with them come numerous life lessons that still resonate today. From Pride and Prejudice and Emma to Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, her tales bridge the gap between romance and realism.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma

Even her early work contains suprises, says The Independent. In three surviving notebooks held by the British Library, a teenage Austen documents – according to Kathryn Sutherland, a professor of English at Oxford – the often "absurd adventures" of "confident, wilful, even rebellious young women" in a series of "exuberantly expressionistic tales of sexual misdemeanour, of female drunkenness and violence".

Mansfield Park

The cause of her death at the age of 41 is not well-documented. It had been thought that Austen contracted tuberculosis or possibly even cancer. But in 2011 the British Library had tests carried out on three surviving pairs of spectacles owned by the writer. The three pairs of glasses had varying levels of lens-strength, suggesting Austen might have suffered from cataracts. One cause of cataracts is known to be arsenic poisoning.

Pride and Prejudice

However Austen died, she left the world with a fine set of life lessons that still resonate some 200 years on. Click on the gallery for some of the best.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.