"Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick & wicked"

- Jane Austen
"Jane Austen is weirdly capable of keeping everybody busy. The moralists, the Eros-and-Agape people, the Marxists, the Freudians, the Jungians, the semioticians, the deconstructors - all find an adventure playground in six samey novels about middle-class provincials. And for every generation of critics, and readers, her fiction effortlessly renews itself."

- Martin Amis, in The New Yorker

Monday, September 29, 2008

Steventon: Jane Austen's real "true home"

While we are talking about the "true homes" of Jane Austen, please let us not forget Steventon rectory (shown here as drawn by Jane's niece Anna Austen Lefroy).

It was at Steventon that Jane was born, lived most of her life, and started on her writing career. She lived there until her father retired and the family removed to Bath, whereupon her eldest brother James succeeded to his father's position and the rectory. Jane's brother Edward Knight later considered the house too dilapidated for his own son to occupy, and it was demolished in the early 1820s, and a new rectory was built.

If there is anywhere which was Jane Austen's true home, it would have been Steventon, but probably the absence of the original house doesn't satisfy the marketing and tourism industries. Oh dear, how cynical of me.

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