Where history happened: Jane Austen

Charlotte Hodgman speaks to Paula Byrne, author of The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, a book about the life and loves of the great novelist, and examines eight related places

Jane Austen

Jane Austen: shy, genteel country girl, happy to pen her romantic novels in the peace and quiet of the family home? Or independent go-getting business woman, determined to achieve literary fame? The answer to this question has provoked much debate over past decades.

Frustratingly little is known about Austen, who died tragically young, at the age of 41. Much of the evidence we have of her life is in the form of the many letters she wrote to family and friends, which offer a unique insight into the daily life of the novelist, but little about her thoughts and feelings.

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now