Jane, We Barely Knew You!

This is a family tree of Jane Austen’s immediate family — another image from Jane  Austen’s Chawton Cottage.  There are a lot of interesting things about her family.  She had two brothers who became naval officers and one who was adopted into a noble family and inherited a very nice estate.  But what strikes me the most about the family tree is how long some of her siblings lived.  She had one brother who lived until 1865 and her only sister, Cassandra, died in 1845 — deep into the reign of Queen Victoria.  Poor Jane, of course, died in 1817.

It’s astounding to think of how many novels she wrote during her short time on earth (all without Microsoft Word!).  But then imagine what she could have written if she’d lived as long as most of her brothers or her sister.  It makes me sad to think about what could have been.  Scholars are not sure what killed her, but it would probably be curable today.  Just think about all the works of art which wouldn’t be created today without the benefits of modern medicine!





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