Jane Austen


Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Her novels have gained immense popularity and are considered classics of English literature.

Early Life: Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, into a large and close-knit family. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers and through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer.

Career: Austen’s works include “Sense and Sensibility” (1811), “Pride and Prejudice” (1813), “Mansfield Park” (1814), and “Emma” (1815). She wrote two additional novels, “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion,” both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled “Sanditon,” but died before its completion. Her biting social commentary and masterful use of irony have earned her a place among the greatest novelists in the English language.

Legacy: Jane Austen’s novels are notable for their realism, biting social commentary, and masterful use of free indirect speech, burlesque, irony, and realism. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security.


Major Novels:

  • Sense and Sensibility (1811)
  • Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  • Mansfield Park (1814)
  • Emma (1815)
  • Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous)
  • Persuasion (1818, posthumous)

Juvenilia and Other Works:

  • Love and Freindship
  • The History of England
  • Lady Susan
  • The Watsons (unfinished)
  • Sanditon (unfinished)

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