- For a mystery it is, thanks to the lack of biographical data from the bulk of her twenties and the discreteness with which Jane Austen handled her personal feelings in her letters.
I am sure that all fans of Jane Austen are intrigued to know if Jane Austen was ever in love, and why she never married. What inspired her to write 5 such influential novels about love and marriage? No one knows for sure, but all her biographers seem to have their own ideas about Jane’s romantic leanings.
You must have seen the heavily dramatised, fictional film, Becoming Jane, based on Jon Spence’s biography, which portrays Jane Austen madly in love with Tom Lefroy in her early twenties, up to the point of nearly eloping with him. And the slightly more biographical, yet fictional Miss Austen Regrets, which assumes that later in life, Jane probably regretted having never married and secured a safe future for her and the ladies in her family.
Why did Jane Austen decide not to marry? Did she ever love a man enough to marry him, and lose him? Or was she simply not a romantic person at all?
In this series of articles I will now discuss some of Jane’s romantic connections and how they might have influenced the choices she made in life.
Before I begin, can you identify any of these 5 people thought to have been Jane’s lovers? And who – if any - do you think was Jane’s great love?