Today would have been Jane Austen's 236th birthday, if she had only drunk more deeply of the life-prolonging elixir known as Bath waters during her youth, and if she had kept away from those pesky arsenic-based medicines. ;)
One of the points noted every year on JA's birthday is the elegy JA wrote on her birthday in 1808, four years to the day after the accidental death of the woman many (but _not_ including myself) consider to have been a mentor to the young Jane Austen, Madam Lefroy. Madam Lefroy was, among other things, the aunt of Tom Lefroy, with whom JA flirted so famously at age 21 in 1796.
The following is a link to my post of March 2, 2011 in which, by pointing to a few earlier posts of mine, and then adding more details, I laid out a comprehensive case for why that famous 1808 elegy that JA wrote to Madam Lefroy was actually a biting and bawdy satire of Madam Lefroy, her brother Samuel Egerton Brydges, and, for good measure, Samuel Johnson, who had died and been similarly eulogized in 1784.
In my post, I also explain how James Edward Austen Leigh, the nephew of Jane Austen and author of the 1870 Memoir of JA that marked the true beginning of Austenmania, successfully obscured evidence of the satirical nature of that 1808 elegy, so as to Bowdlerize the public image of Jane Austen:
In the above post, please note that a link to what I call "the Lefroy Book" was unable to be included in the blog post itself, so I added it in the first Comment to the post.
If you're interested in the above, and are willing to invest the time to follow the trail I lay out, I am confident you will not be disappointed.
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- August Wayne Booth in Once Upon A Time: Jane Austen Really IS Everywhere in 2012!
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