And Then They Murdered Jane Austen

Kristen Twardowski


When I say that they murdered Jane Austen, I’m not speaking metaphorically. Some person in the distant past didn’t simply eviscerate her work. No, I mean that a few scholars believe that someone poisoned Jane Austen. With arsenic.

According to research from the British Library, Jane Austen’s death at the age of 41, her early cataracts, and her strange facial pigmentation are all consistent with the effects of arsenic poisoning.

Some scholars say this sounds like murder. Others remind us that arsenic was often used in medicine; even Austen’s death resulted from the chemical, there may not have been anything nefarious about it. And still other scholars grumble that these claims are nothing more than academic click bait.

Whatever the truth is, the subject is a fascinating one. I suggest you read all of the British Library’s blog post on the subject before coming to your own conclusions. We always…

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