Jane Austen and Her Works

Jane Austen and Her Works

Jane Austen was born in 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, a small town in southwest England, where she spent the majority of her life. She was the seventh of eight children of her father, a clergyman and was raised in the middle class society. Like other young women of her social class, Jane and her sister Cassandra were educated mostly at home in subjects of music, drawing, painting, needlework, and social behavior. Her father’s encouragement and her own enjoyment in reading led Jane to became very well read.

Jane’s middle class existence greatly influenced her writing. In her novels, Jane expressed her contempt for the superficiality of the upper class and usually made them her most comical characters. Most of Jane’s writing was done during social engagements. Jane would spend the majority of the evening in the corner of the room with her manuscript and blotter observing the world surrounding her. She would write when the room was quiet and if she were interrupted, she would cover her manuscript with a blotter and continued when the room was silent again. Pride and Prejudice, one of Jane’s earlier novels was written in this manner.

The most famous event of Jane Austen’s life would have occurred in 1815 when she become known everywhere for her books which had one the favor of the Prince of Wale. This led Jane to dedicate her next novel, Emma, to the Prince. Other then this, there is little evidence of influence in Jane’s work by events happening in England. As her brother, Henry Austen, once said in a "Biographical Notice" of Jane, "A life of usefulness, literature, and religion, was not by any means a life of events." The significant events in England during this time included the American Revolution of 1775, the Napoleonic Wars, and the industrial revolution. The remoteness of Jane’s village also contributed to Jane’s isolated life.

Before Jane Austen died of cancer in 1817 at Winchester, she had already published six successful novels: Sense and...

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