“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” — Jane Austen. The first line of Pride and Prejudice.
On January 28, 1813, Thomas Egerton published the first edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Jane sold Egerton the copyright for £110 (Austen had asked for £150). The one-time payment to Austen meant Egerton took all the risks and the profits. Sold in a three-volume set, the title page states it is written by the “Author of Sense and Sensibility,” and Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, was written, “By a Lady.” The first edition of Pride and Prejudice sold out, and Egerton published a second edition in October 1813 and the third edition in 1817.
It is easy to see the parallels between Jane’s position in a social setting that dictated she build a “secret” writing career and the novel’s theme that a woman must marry well to avoid destitution. I think part of the reason for this story’s continued success and frequent adaptations is that although it is now commonplace for a woman to have a career, there is still significant social pressure for women to marry. It represents another box on a long list society wants women to complete.
Today, I intend to honor Jane’s bold path and carve out time to write.
Did you write yesterday? Are you writing today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer