One of the most perpetually popular writers, Jane Austen used her wit, scathing social commentary, and sense of romance to captivate a largely female audience during the rise of the modern novel. Today marks the 200th anniversary of her death, and Austen fans the world over are marking the occasion with celebrations of her life and work.
An exhibition is on view at Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral detailing Austen’s childhood, life in Bath and Hampshire, and death in Winchester. The cathedral will also hold an evensong service to honor the famous author.
Jane Austen’s House Museum is celebrating Austen’s 41 years with a special exhibit of 41 objects that explore a different aspect of her life or work.
The Jane Austen Society of Australia will be organizing a choral evensong service to commemorate their favorite author, and the Jane Austen Society of North America has three memorial services/events planned across the US.
For those who fancy a more festive celebration of Austen, there is the Winchester Grand Jane Austen Ball hosted by the Hampshire Regency Dancers.
The Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens in Hampshire is offering an Austen-themed getaway complete with a full English breakfast, traditional afternoon tea, and tickets to the Jane Austen House Museum.
As evidenced by this wealth of commemoration, Austen’s literary influence reaches well beyond the boundaries of her relatively confined and ordinary life, which speaks to her essential charm. Austen turns the commonplace into wit, and wit into romance.