Portal:Jane Austen

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Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. 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 completing it. (more...)

Selected article

SenseAndSensibilityTitlePage.jpg
Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, is a British romance novel by Jane Austen, her first published work under the pseudonym, "A Lady." Jane Austen is considered a pioneer of the romance genre of novels, and for the realism portrayed in her novels, is one of the most widely read writers in English literature. A work of romantic fiction, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England in 1792 through 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, daughters of their father Henry's second wife, Mrs. Dashwood. The sisters are starkly different from each other; Elinor is the epitome of prudence and self-control while Marianne embodies emotion and enthusiasm. Elinor, Marianne, and their younger sister, Margaret, are left in reduced circumstances when their father dies and his estate is passed onto their half-brother, John. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meager cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak. The philosophical resolution of the novel is ambiguous: the reader must decide whether sense and sensibility have truly merged. (more...)

Selected biography

Elinor Dashwood is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility.

In this novel, Austen analyses the conflict between the opposing temperaments of sense [logic, propriety, and thoughtfulness, as expressed in Austen's time by neo-classicists], and sensibility [emotion, passion, unthinking action, as expressed in Austen's time by romantics]. In this conflict, Elinor, a reserved, practical, and thoughtful young woman who embodies the "sense" of the title, is juxtaposed to her flightly younger sister Marianne who embodies "sensibility". Elinor appears to be vaguely based on the author's older sister, Cassandra Austen.

Elinor is described as possessing a coolness of judgement and strength of understanding which qualifies her to be her mother's frequent counsellor, and sometimes she shows more common sense than her mother, whose judgment is shown to be flawed by her exaggerated notions of romantic delicacy. Her mother is more often preoccupied with Marianne and her problems. Although Austen writes that Elinor's feelings are just as passionate and deep as Marianne's, she knows how to govern them better, as she is more aware of the demands society makes upon women and more prepared to compromise. She is described as having a delicate complexion, regular features, and a remarkably pretty figure—although less striking than Marianne, more "correct"—which Austen uses as a good overall summary of their characters as well as their physical appearance. (more...)

Selected picture

Jane Austen coloured version.jpg
Coloured version of Jane Austen, c. 1873, author unknown

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