Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist, who was born December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire. Her works of romantic fiction, set amongst the gentry, made her one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Austen spent the first 25 years of her life in the Parsonage House, in Stevento, Hampshire. Her father, the Reverend George Austen, the rector of Steventon, and her mother, Cassandra Austen, were both members of the lower gentry. Though by no means wealthy, the Austens enjoyed a comfortable, social life, that is reflected in the tone of her works. During her lifetime, Austen experienced the effects of war, the American and French revolutions, industrializations, but did not make them center pieces of her work, preferring to instead focus on the effects of her immediate surroundings - the gentry lifestyle.
Life of Jane Austen
For the first 25 years of her life, Jane Austen lived in the town of Steventon, with her family, and parents. Following her father's retirement in 1801, however, she moved with her family to Bath. In Bath, she was immersed in a wide array of culture and life, far removed from the quite country life she lived previously. It was from there, that inspiration for characters were acquired. Later, Austen moved to Southampton, with her mother, after the death of her father in 1805. After that, she settled in Chawton Cottage, in Hampshire, where she remained until her death. At Chawton, she began working in earnest to publish, and wrote Sense and Sensibility (published 1811) and then Pride and Prejudice (published 1813). She also completed four other novels, in the sitting room at Chawton. Despite work she put into the novels, she insisted on keeping her work secret from anyone outside the family, and thus, her works were published anonymously. The final years of her life were quiet and comfortable. Her last work, Sanditon, was interrupted in the spring of 1817, when her health declined. She died in Winchester and was buried there on the 18th of July that year.
In Pride and Prejudice, the two antagonists are the immensely wealthy Mr. Darcy and the middle-class Elizabeth Bennet. Her prejudice against his pride and disdain is gradually broken down by his kindness.
In Emma, the protagonist, Emma Woodhouse, is a comically incompetent matchmaker who almost misses her own true love.
Novels by Jane Austen
- Sense and Sensibility
- Pride and Prejudice
- Mansfield Park
- Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen's likeness appears to be poised to replace that of Charles Darwin on the upcoming £10 bill.
- Southam, "Criticism, 1870–1940", The Jane Austen Companion, 102.
- Howard, Carol. "Note on Jane Austen." Feb. 2003: 13. Print.