On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death today, I was struck by the similarities between her and Edgar Allan Poe, inspiration for The Tell-Tale Tarte, my latest mystery.
1. Mark Twain dissed them both, and in a single sentence. Twain said of Poe: “To me his prose is unreadable—like Jane Austen’s.”
2. Both are honored with action figures, as is Shakespeare, but not Mark Twain (only a bobble head).
3. Both died young: Austen at 41, Poe at 40.
4. Both published in the first half of the 19th century: Jane Austen’s major works came out in the 1810s, Poe’s in the 1830s and 1840s.
5. Both had difficulty getting published and earning a living from their writing. Poe needed money more desperately than Austen, whose poverty was genteel.