Portal:Jane Austen

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Introduction

Watercolour-and-pencil portrait of Jane Austen

Jane Austen (/ˈɒstɪn, ˈɔːs-/; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 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. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. 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 use of biting irony, along with her realism, humour, and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim among critics, scholars, and popular audiences alike.

With the publications 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 another, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. She also left behind three volumes of juvenile writings in manuscript, a short epistolary novel Lady Susan, and another unfinished novel, The Watsons. Her six full-length novels have rarely been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her moderate success and little fame during her lifetime.

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

Eliza de Feuillide.JPG
Eliza Hancock (22 December 1761 - April 1813), then Eliza de Feuillide after her first marriage, to a French nobleman in 1781, and later Eliza Austen after her second marriage in 1797, was the cousin of novelist Jane Austen.

Fourteen years older than her sister Jane, Eliza was the daughter of George Austen’s sister Philadelphia, who had gone to India to marry Tysoe Saul Hancock in 1753.

With her glamorous personality, Eliza Hancock is believed to have been inspirational for a number of Austen's works, such as Love and Freindship (sic), Henry and Eliza, Lady Susan and Mansfield Park, and she may have been the model from whom the character of Mary Crawford is derived. (more...)

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