Throughout most of Jane Austen's life, Britain was at war. Although Austen did not often write about war in her novels, it is a subtext to many of the stories and this is particularly true of Persuasion. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in the false peace of 1814, the novel follows the hapless Anne Elliot who finds her life turned upside-down by the return of her former suitor Captain Wentworth from time at sea.
Jane Austen, like Anne Elliot, was familiar with waiting for news of loved ones caught up in conflict. Her knowledge of the Navy was extensive as two of her brothers were enlisted and both achieved high office.
In the second half of 2018, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the displays around the Museum will consider the impact of war on Jane Austen's novels, the life of the Austen family and on the country at large.
Celebrating 200 years of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. These two works were the last of Jane's novels to be published and sadly Jane herself never lived to see them in print. In the months following her death in 1817, Jane's brother Henry orchestrated their publication as a pair.