1809: Jane Austen rewrites Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice in Chawton, England

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Chawton, Alton
Hampshire GU34 1SD
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1809 - Jane Austen‘s brother, Edward buys a house in Chawton, Hampshire, in order to offer his mother and sisters a quiet life.

Jane, 34, wrote a few manuscripts but is still unpublished. She has been struggling to publish her novel Susan for more than six years – she tries to pursue a publisher one more time under a pseudonym, without success. At the same time, a novel by the same name is published – a sign that she needs to change her approach.

1811 – Surrounded by her mother, sisters and friend Martha, Jane rewrites an old manuscript, Elinor and Marianne. Written in 1795 at age 19, the novel takes the form of a series of letters.

She renames it Sense and Sensibility and changes it to a more conventional narrative. The effort pays off, as the book is published in three volumes by Thomas Egerton in October 1811… at the author’s expense. The investment will be rewarded as the first edition of a thousand copies priced at 15 shillings will be sold out a few months later.

1812 – Galvanized by the revision process that gave birth to Sense and Sensibility, she revises a novel written in 1796, First Impressions.

She finds a new name for the manuscript: Pride and Prejudice.

Unaware of Pride and Prejudice‘s upcoming success, she gives copyright to Thomas Egerton, who publishes it on January 1813.

By November, the first edition is sold out and her literary legacy firmly secured.

movie_icon&16As Jane Austen‘s novels came back into fashion during the second part of the 20th century, a few adaptations were made.

In 1995, Ang Lee adapted Sense and Sensibility into a feature film from a screenplay written by actress Emma Thompson, who played the main character. Two television series were created in 1981 and 2008.


Pride and Prejudice, on the other hand, became a staple of british film culture in the 40’s, when it was adapted as a feature film. Numerous miniseries for television followed, including the acclaimed 1995 BBC series starring Colin Firth and written by Andrew Davies who specialized in Austen adaptations: BBC’s 2008 Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Northanger Abbey, a posthumous novel formerly known as… Susan.

Inspired by the cult surrounding the works of Jane Austen, novelist Shannon Hale co-wrote the adaptation of her book Austenland with director Jerusha Hess for the 2013 feature film starring Keri Russell & Jane Seymour and produced by Stephenie Meyer’s company Fickle Fish Films.

Discover the initiative The Storytellers – New Voices Of The Twilight Saga launched by Fickle Fish Films on our sister website Hollywomen

Visit Hollywomen to find the focus on the female authors featured on LibrAdventures

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© LibrAdventures, Fabien Hurelle

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Posted: August 14, 2014

Author: Fabien Hurelle

Category: Authors

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