Was author Jane Austen poisoned by arsenic
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A new study has indicated that the classic novelist may have died due to the arsenic in her medication.

Famed for such titles as 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Sense and Sensibility', the celebrated 19th century author died at the age of just 41 following a prolonged period of ill-health.

Exactly what illness she had been suffering from however has long remained a topic of debate.

Now in a renewed attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery, researchers in the UK have conducted a detailed analysis of three pairs of glasses that she had kept in her writing desk.

The findings indicated that her eyesight had deteriorated significantly before she died, meaning that she must have struggled to read or write during the final months of her life.

This, coupled with the fact that she was known to suffer from rheumatism, suggested that Austen might have actually been poisoned by the very substance that was supposed to be helping her.

"There's the possibility of her being poisoned accidentally with a heavy metal such as arsenic," said British Library curator Sandra Tuppen. "We know now that arsenic poisoning can cause cataracts."

"Arsenic was often put into medication for other types of illness, potentially for rheumatism, which we know Jane Austen suffered from.