Quote Jane


“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

zondag 21 september 2014

Cassandra Austen

Silhouette of Cassandra Austen, Jane's sister and closest friend

Two years after Cassandra’s birth, the Austens were blessed with a second daughter, Jane. Wherever Cassandra went, Jane followed. When 10-year-old Cassandra was sent off to boarding school in 1783, 8-year-old Jane demanded to go, refusing to be separated from her older sister……not because she was thought old enough to profit much by the instruction there imparted, but because she would have been miserable (at home) without her sister.

The sisters went to Mrs. Cawley, their uncle's sister, to be educated in 1783. Cawley lived initially in Oxford, and later in Southampton, and, when an epidemic broke out in Southampton, the Austen sisters returned to Steventon. Between 1785 and 1786 the sisters attended the Reading Ladies boarding school in the Abbey gatehouse in Reading, Berkshire. Jane was originally not to go, as she was considered to be too young for schooling, but ended up going along with Cassandra. In their mother's words, "if Cassandra's head had been going to be cut off, Jane would have hers cut off too".[2]
 

The two Austen girls were  tutored at home in drawing and the piano. In 1791, Cassandra produced a series of circular illustrations of British monarchs for Jane's manuscript The History of England, which are noted to have resembled members of the Austen family more than royalty.[1]

Cassandra Austen is also credited with having created two paintings of her sister. One, painted in 1804, is a back view of Jane seated by a tree. The other, an incomplete frontal portrait dated circa 1810,[3] was described by a family member as being "hideously unlike" Jane Austen's real appearance. This sketch is now housed in the National Portrait Gallery, London.[4] 

George Austen, the father of Cassandra and Jane was not wealthy and had supplemented his income as a country parson "by taking in pupils and tutoring them for Oxford".[5] After graduating from Oxford University, in 1794, one former pupil, Thomas Fowle, became engaged to Cassandra Austen.[5] Fowle needed money to marry and went to the Caribbean with a military expedition as chaplain to his cousin, General Lord Craven.[5] There, Fowle died of yellow fever in 1797. Austen inherited £1000 from him, which gave her a little financial independence but, like her sister, she never married.[5] wiki/Cassandra_Austen Cassandra benefited from an annuity left in his will (she inherited Tom’s savings of £1000 which yielded about £50 per year.)  cassandra-austen
 
 After moving to Chawton Cottage, Cassandra and Mrs. Austen took over most of the duties of the house and garden, allowing Jane to capitalize on the most fruitful period of her writing. Without Cassandra’s physical, mental and emotional support, and her brothers’ contributions to their annual income, Jane would not have had the freedom to actively pursue her career as a writer.

The sisters’ letters are at the heart of what we know—and will never know—about the bond they shared.

Jane died in 1817 in Winchester with her head placed in Cassandra’s lap. Writing to her niece Fanny, Cassandra said: “I have lost a treasure, such a Sister, such a friend as never can be surpassed, - She was the sun of my life….I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part of myself” (Letter, July 20th 1817).
 
The respect that Jane felt for her sister is clear from another quote found in Austen-Leigh’s memoir of his aunt: “even in the maturity of her powers, and in the enjoyment of increasing success, she would still speak of Cassandra as of one wiser and better than herself.” becomingjane

Cassandra was destined to long outlive her sister Jane. She continued on at Chawton with regular visits to her brothers, nieces and nephews. After Jane's death, Cassandra and Henry arranged the publication of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey and with those 1817 publications,

Most of what we know of Jane Austen today, we owe to her sister Cassandra. It was she who filled in gaps in her sister’s life for generations after, leaving an oral record to supplement the written. It was she who gave us the only two authenticated likenesses of her sister. It was she who, while she did destroy many of the letters, preserved the majority of her sister’s extensive writings and most importantly, it was she to whom the letters were written, without which we might never have known the human side of one of the world’s favorite authors. cassandra-austen
In 1827 Mrs. Cassandra Austen, the girls’ mother, died and was buried in the Chawton cemetery.

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Austen werd geboren in Hampshire. Haar vader was een geestelijke. Het grootste deel van haar leven bleef zij in haar geboortestreek. Austen had zes broers en een oudere zuster, Cassandra, met wie zij zeer hecht was. Het enige onbetwiste portret van Jane Austen is een gekleurde schets die door Cassandra werd gemaakt en nu in de National Portrait Gallery in Londen hangt. In 1801 verhuisde de familie naar Bath. In 1802 werd Austen ten huwelijk gevraagd door de rijke Harris Bigg-Wither en zij stemde toe; de volgende dag deelde ze echter mee dat zij haar woord niet kon houden en trok haar instemming in. De reden hiervoor is niet bekend, maar Austen is nooit getrouwd. Na de dood van haar vader in 1805 woonden Jane, haar zuster en haar moeder daar nog verscheidene jaren tot zij in 1809 naar Chawton verhuisden. Hier had haar rijke broer Edward een landgoed met een plattelandshuisje, dat hij aan zijn moeder en zusters schonk (dit huis is tegenwoordig open voor het publiek). Zelfs nadat zij naam gemaakt had als romanschrijfster bleef zij in relatieve stilte leven, maar haar gezondheid ging sterk achteruit. Er wordt nu aangenomen dat zij de ziekte van Addison had, waarvan toen de oorzaak nog onbekend was. Ze reisde naar Winchester om behandeling te zoeken, maar stierf daar en werd begraven in de kathedraal.
Tot Austens beroemdste werk behoort de roman Emma. Het boek wordt vaak aangehaald vanwege de perfectie van vorm. Moderne critici blijven ook nieuwe perspectieven ontdekken op het scherpe commentaar van Austen betreffende de klasse van jonge, ongehuwde, aristocratische Engelse vrouwen in de vroege 19e eeuw.

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