Pride and Prejudice
Near and dear to my heart, Jane Austen has been my favorite literary author for an innumerable number of years. My favorite book by her? Pride and Prejudice of course.
While perusing the various literary works associated with Jane Austen in the Internet Archive, desperately scanning them for something to share, I realized that her name wasn’t listed as the author on the title page of the 1st edition of Pride and Prejudice.
Indeed, as I continued to scan through the title pages of the other editions of this book, as well as of her others, the fact that her name wasn’t on some of the earlier editions struck me as being a bit odd. What was up with that?
Of course I thought it probably had to do with the time period in which she wrote her stories and the tendency of society to frown on a woman with talents outside of the domestic sphere. Curious as to when her name began to appear, I decided to investigate.
I found that those works published while she lived, did not have her name as author on the title page. Sense and Sensibility (1811) was authored “By a Lady”; Pride and Prejudice (1813), was authored “By the Author of Sense and Sensibility.” It wasn’t until after her death in July of 1817, that her brother, Henry, wrote a short biography on her to be included in the dual publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in 1818. After that, Jane was finally given credit where credit was due such as seen above on the title page in the 1894 edition of Pride and Prejudice.
While I didn’t find out exactly why she didn’t put her name on her works during her lifetime, I did learn something new and interesting about my favorite author. If you should get the chance, I recommend reading Henry’s touching tribute to his sister–a truly remarkable and talented woman.