Victoriana & Jane Austen
Jane Austen lived through a fascinating period in Western history that continues to shape the contemporary society we live in today. Just imagine, the birth of the United States of America, with the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence from Great Britain (1776), combined with the onset of the French Revolution (1789), which entangled England with France once more–but this time in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815)–all happened within Austen's lifetime. These dramatic events would ultimately impact and inform Queen Victoria's expansive reign. Austen's novels were indeed revolutionary and broke with tradition. Her literary fandom evolved with the times and steadily grew during the Victorian Era, after her nephew, J.E. Austen-Leigh published A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869). Queen Victoria wrote in her journal how she enjoyed reading Northanger Abbey to Prince Albert. Lady Jane Churchill also read Austen's novels to the Queen, among other's works. Lord Alfred Tennyson was an Austen fan who wrote chivalric poems inspired by King Arthur. Sir Walter Scott, Sir Francis Darwin, Winston Churchill, G.K. Chesterton, and Henry James were also well versed in Austen’s novels with their praise. Edith Wharton, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, C.S. Lewis, and E.M. Forster were fans from the Modern Era, in which her novels continued to be of literary influence–into the present day.