Jane Austin: A Short Biography

Jane Austen was a major early 19th century British novelist, and important in the transition of the British novel from neo-classicism to romanticism.

Jane Austen was born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was the seventh of eight children born to a country clergyman. Austen was educated at home and encouraged to write by her reverend father.

She had written her first novel, Love and Friendship, by the time she was fourteen, though it was not published. In her twenties, Austen wrote the material that she would later rework into her most successful novels, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

As in her novels, Jane Austen’s world was full of financial insecurity, particularly for women. Austen was forced to move around England based on the financial needs of the family rather than her own desires. Austen enjoyed Hampshire society and made many friends there. It is this setting that is most reminiscent of the world she created with her novels.

But in 1801 her father and mother abruptly decided to move to Bath. Jane missed the Hampshire countryside and had difficulty adjusting to life in the busy town. Her father died in 1805, and she, her mother and sisters were forced to move Southampton home of one of her brothers. While on holiday in the West country, Jane met a young man and fell in love, though he unfortunately died before they had a chance to marry. Jane was later proposed to by a wealthy landowner, but she turned the offer down the next day.

In 1809, another of Jane’s brothers offered Jane, her mother and sisters lodging at an estate in Hampshire, and Jane was very glad to return to the area. The years she stayed there were the most productive for her writing, revising Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice(1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), Persuasion, and Northanger Alley (posthumously 1811).

Jane Austen began another novel Sandition in 1816, but the onset of Addisons Disease prevented its completion. She died in 1817 at forty-one and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Click here for my review of Pride and Prejudice
Click here for a post about Pride and Prejudice and the Bildungsroman Genre
Click here for my review of Pride and Prejudice the graphic novel

Fullerton, Susannah. jasa.net.au. Jane Austen Society of Australia. 09 March 2008. Web. 25 Janurary 2011.


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