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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Cause of Jane Austen's Death

In the new edition of Persuasions Online, I strongly recommend the article
by my good friend, Linda Robinson Walker, entitled "Jane Austen’s Death:
The Long Reach of Typhus?":

http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol31no1/walker.html

You will recall that I recommended Linda's article about Tom Lefroy and
Jane Austen last week, and this article speculating in a very informed and
insightful way about the cause of Jane's death is a worthy successor to
LInda's two prior Persuasions Online articles.

Cheers, Arnie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am surprised you do not believe that Jane Austen was poisoned. How do you account for the arsenic discovered in her lock of hair? I believe her symptoms of blotching are the same as for arsenic poisoning, which was widely used at this period.

If she was poisoned, the arsenic would have had to have been administered over a period of time in her food by her sister Cassandra. I believe you mentioned in one of your articles about something in the letters which suggested this. It was extremely convenient that she died just after all of the novels had been completely revised for publication by Jane Austen and her brother Henry in London between 1813 and 1817. In fact it was an extraordinary coincidence that she died just after everything was completed. There is also the extraordinary question of why the author ceased writing any novels in 1813 (Jane Austen's letter to her sister of 29 January 1813 mentions that all of the novels were completed by this date and even gives the prices to be charged for each of them). So, Jane Austen stopped writing any novels by 1813 and devoted the next four years to preparing the existing ones for publication, and just after she had done this, she died. An extraordinary coincidence. How do you explain this?