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Jane Austen started writing her novel ‘Mansfield Park’ in 1811 and was published three years before her death, while some claim it was published in May 1814 others argue it was July of the same year. Mansfield Park focuses on the life of Fanny Price; a poor girl who is brought to live at Mansfield Park with her relative Sir Thomas Bertram and raised with his children. Fanny is an upright character who puts her dignity above everything else but she is a character that has divided readers, while some understand Fanny’s emotions and thoughts others disliked her dishonest nature.
Just as readers were divided on the novel, the reviews that book received were of mixed nature; mainly unfavourable ones though, Austen’s own mother did not like Mansfield Park and told her daughter that the novel was not as good as Pride and Prejudice – Austen’s most successful novel – she also disliked the character of Fanny Price. Austen’s mother was not the only one from the family who had strong view against Mansfield Park, her niece, Anna Lefroy who actually liked the book in general but hated the character of Fanny. Not everyone had such a dim view of the novel, Austen’s sister Cassandra thought Mansfield Park was “quite clever” though admitted to her Austen that it is not as “brilliant’ as Pride and Prejudice and unlike others Cassandra liked the character of Fanny. Despite the negative feedback that Austen received from her close circle Mansfield Park was sold out within six months of its publication.
Born in 1775 at Steventon, south of England, Jane Austen was the daughter of the parish rector, and in 1801 she moved to Bath with her father, her mother, and her only sister, Cassandra. After the Reverend Austen’s death in 1805, the three women moved to Southampton and in 1809 to the village of Chawton, where Jane Austen lived for the rest of her life. She never married, but received at least one proposal and led an active and happy life, surrounded by her sister and brothers and their families.
There has been much speculation about the death of Jane Austen, which occurred when she was 41 years old. Over the years academics claimed that she died either of Cancer or tuberculosis. Others have thought that she suffered from Addison’s disease but in the last few years research from the British Library have suggesed that the author died of arsenic poisoning.
This claim is based on the examination of three pairs of eyeglasses believed to have been owned by Austen. The library had these glasses, which were found in a desk belonging to Austen, tested for the first time, and the results suggest that her vision severely deteriorated before her death, possibly due to cataracts.