A Contemporary's Description of JA
Posted by Carolyn B on January 11, 1998 at 22:31:16:
After cruising around the JA info pages, I didn't see this (which doesn't mean it wasn't there) so I thought I'd post it here.
Found this in a book called They Looked Like This compiled by Grant Uden (Basil Blackwell & Mott Ltd, 1966) which contains contemporary descriptions of famous persons:
".... a friend of mine, who visits [Jane Austen] now, says that she has stiffened into the most perpendicular, precise, taciturn piece of single-blessedness that ever existed, and that, till Pride and Prejudice showed what a precious gem was hidden in that unbending case, she was no more regarded in society than a poker or a fire-screen. . . She is still a poker -- but a poker of whom everyone is afraid."
Source: Mary Russell Mitford; Life of Mary Russell Mitford Related in a Selection from her Letters to her Friends
My question for the JA experts:
How well known in her society was JA's career as an author?
I read that the biographical notice that her brother Henry wrote for the posthumous publication of Northanger Abbey was the first public announcement of her identity as an author, but how wide a circle outside her friends and family knew before that?
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