Did you know that one of the most famous authors of romantic novels never got married? Who do you think is at the centre of today's WallpaperStory? She was from England and her first books were published under the pseudonym "By a Lady". Correct! We are of course referring to Jane Austen. This very strong personality came from a close-knit family from the lower ranks of English landed gentry. Her father was a clergyman, which accounts for her religious upbringing. She loved literature more than anything else in the world, and began to write at an early age.
Jane often described her protagonists' character quirks in her books, and as a result her works were frequently a combination of complicated love story and instruction manual for the interaction with those quirky characters we meet daily. Her aim seems to have been to show that love alone does not necessarily lead to a happy ending. And she was fully aware of the fact that we all need more than just love to lead a happy life, as she never achieved that great romantic amour fou.
Tom Lefroy, whom she met when he was a young student of the law, descended from a poor Irish family, but had grown up in the care of a rich, influential relative. He was meant to step into his warden's footsteps and become a lawyer. Unfortunately, Tom didn't take his studies as seriously as his guardian would have liked. So the young man was sent to quiet Steventon for the summer. He was hoping that the placid rural environment would make his ward finally see sense. But when he met a young Jane, the beginning of their love was almost as absurd as the one described in "Pride and Prejudice".
Tom, slightly arrogant and prejudiced, showed her the cold shoulder and talked in deprecating terms about her, which acutely hurt her pride. But just like in one of her stories, they overcame this initial situation and eventually found each other. Alas, family backgrounds and the societal pressures of the time meant that a happy life together was never to be. Tom later married a woman befitting his social standing and called his first daughter Jane. Jane never got over this first love, but it provided ample material for what were to become works of world literature.
Her tomes were full of intrigue, prejudice, and the constraints of society, as in the previously mentioned "Pride and Prejudice" - the love story of rich and somewhat haughty Darcy and proud Elizabeth. And works like "Emma" or "Sense and Sensibility" also hint at parallels to the author's own life.
Jane had a strong sense of romance and a knack for romantic writing. She was a dreamer and enjoyed long strolls through the woods around Steventon. Her appearance was very much in line with the style of the England of the time - long skirts, hats and subtle floral patterns. And as a result of her family's limited fiscal means, her home was also quite simple and modest.
Indubitably, she would often have pictured herself in the most beautiful and lush gardens with an abundance of roses, or a mysterious forest with mossy trees. Perhaps Jane longed to live in a grand manor house like the one she described in "Pride and Prejudice", waltzing through a huge hall with her beloved.
Why not explore Jane Austen’s dreamworlds yourself? After all, they could turn into reality for you - with these magnificent wallpapers:
But dreams are not enough - books are important, too, and Jane needed them like the air that she breathed.
Until the next WallpaperStory...