Cathedral celebrating Jane Austen in style

1 September 2013

 
WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL IS CELEBRATING the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's most famous novel, by hosting a series of special events throughout the year.

As part of the wider national and international events marking this important literary milestone, on Tuesday 26 January there will be a Special Tour with Cream Tea, led by some of the Cathedral's Voluntary Guides. The tour will include a short walk from the Cathedral itself to the small house in nearby College Street where Jane and her sister Cassandra lived during the final weeks of the author's life. This event will run continuously on the first Tuesday of each month until September.

On Saturday 16 March, there will be 'Tea with Miss Austen', which includes afternoon tea in the refectory, followed by a performance entitled Jane Austen: a woman of her time – and ours? staged by Chapter & Verse.

Looking ahead to Spring, on the 18 April the Cathedral will host ‘Jane Austen and the Navy’, a fascinating look at Austen's life beyond the confines of her small family circle. The event will include lunch, followed by a lecture which will focus on letters between Jane and two of brothers, to discover how that correspondence found its way into her novels in the post lunch talk.

Background to the events

Jane Austen’s connections with Winchester, Hampshire and indeed the Church of England, are well known. All three had a considerable influence on her writing. Born at Steventon in 1775, the daughter of a Hampshire rector, Jane Austen spent most of her short life in the county.

Aside from occasional trips to fashionable London and Bath, Jane settled at Chawton, near Winchester, where she redrafted the earlier manuscripts of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, while also penning her other great works including Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park. All these novels were published within six years of each other.

In these subtly comic novels, as in her other works, may be found some of the sharpest wit and most scathing satire in the whole of nineteenth century literature. Never enjoying excellent health, she moved to the city to be closer to her doctor. Jane Austen died in the city in July 1817 and was buried in an unostentatious grave in the north aisle of Cathedral, only four years after the publication of her most famous novel.

There has been a permanent exhibition to Jane Austen’s life and work in Winchester Cathedral since 2010, a small but fitting tribute to one of the greatest and best loved writers in the English language.

For more information on Jane Austen and these events, including dates and how to book, please visit > www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk

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