Jane Austen

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Austen, Jane

(ô`stən), 1775–1817, English novelist. The daughter of a clergyman, she spent the first 25 years of her life at "Steventon," her father's Hampshire vicarage. Here her first novels, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey, were written, although they were not published until much later. On her father's retirement in 1801, the family moved to Bath for several years and then to Southampton, settling finally at Chawton Cottage, near Alton, Hampshire, which was Jane's home for the rest of her life.

Northanger Abbey, a satire on the Gothic romanceGothic romance,
type of novel that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th cent. in England. Gothic romances were mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and haunted
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, was sold to a publisher for £10 in 1803, but as it was not published, was bought back by members of the family and was finally issued posthumously. The novels published in Austen's lifetime were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Persuasion was issued in 1818 with Northanger Abbey. The author's name did not appear on any of her title pages, and although her own friends knew of her authorship, she received little public recognition in her lifetime.

Jane Austen's novels are comedies of manners that depict the self-contained world of provincial ladies and gentlemen. Most of her works revolve around the delicate business of providing husbands for marriageable daughters. She is particularly noted for her vivid delineations and lively interplay of character, her superb sense of comic irony, and her moral firmness. She ridicules the silly, the affected, and the stupid, ranging in her satire from light portraiture in her early works to more scornful exposures in her later novels. Her writing was subjected to the most careful polishing. She was quite aware of her special excellences and limitations, comparing herself to a miniaturist. Today she is regarded as one of the great masters of the English novel. Her minor works include her Juvenilia, the novel Lady Susan, and the fragments The Watsons and Sanditon.


See her letters (4th ed., ed. by D. La Faye, 2011); biographies by J. A. Hodge (1972), J. Halperin (1986), P. Honan (1988), V. G. Myer (1997), D. Nokes (1997), C. Tomalin (1997), C. Shields (2001), and P. Byrne (2013); studies by A. W. Litz (1965), F. W. Bradbook (1966), A. M. Duckworth (1971), K. Kroeber (1971), F. B. Pinion (1973), S. M. Tave (1973), C. Johnson (1988), C. Harman (2010), R. M. Brownstein (2011), R. and L. Adkins (2013), and J. Barchas (2013).

Austen, Jane


Born Dec. 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire; died July 18, 1817, in Winchester. English writer. Daughter of a country pastor.

Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey (1797–98; published 1818) is a parody of the Gothic novel. In the novels Sense and Sensibility (vols. 1–3, 1811) and Pride and Prejudice (vols. 1–3, 1813; Russian translation, 1967) the way of life and manners of the provincial gentry and clergy are depicted realistically, without any moralizing. The broad range of humor and profound psychologism in her novels, including the later works Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (vols. 1–3, 1816), and Persuasion (published 1818), make her a forerunner of critical realism in English literature.


The Works. [Bristol, 1968.]
Letters. London-New York, 1955.


Kettl, A. Vvedenie v istoriiu angliiskogo romana. Moscow, 1966.
Bel’skii, A. A. Angliiskii roman 1800–1810-kh godov. Perm’, 1968. Pages 47–107.
Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage. Edited by B. C. Southam. London-New York, 1969.
Mansell, D. The Novels of Jane Austen. London, 1973.
Chapman, R. W. Jane Austen: A Critical Bibliography, 2nd ed. London, 1969.
Hardwick, M. The Osprey Guide to Jane Austen. [Reading] 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
The Pleasures of Virtue: Political Thought in the Novels of Jane Austen.
Miles is also aware that Jane Austen was fully cognizant of her position as one of the newly emerging women novelists.
Foibles and youthful influences will not suffice to prove that Jane Austen was on the side of Bentham and Condorcet, Gibbon and Voltaire.
But he fails to make any consistently coherent or enlightening point about what makes Jane Austen so popularly filmable.
Even regardless of Jane Austen, Wilton is one of Britain's finest stately homes and has earned a share in 20th-century history.
The only young man she is known to have loved, Tom Lefroy, had a family dependent on his ability to win a rich wife, and he was briskly hustled away when he showed signs of attachment to the portionless Jane Austen.
Well, the truth is--and here is the great appeal of sensible, accepting Jane Austen today--that the "liberated" life of the independent woman, as the marketplace economy has fashioned it, is not, as a friend of mine is fond of reminding me, all it's cracked up to be.
It is a pity that Professor Sulloway was unable to find any reliable modern biography of Jane Austen when planning her own work, because the inadequacy of her information in this respect, plus some odd misconstructions of available facts (pp.
They will also be releasing a limited number of Jane Austen coins into circulation on July 18 at key locations around Winchester and Basingstoke that have connections with the author And yesterday a life-size statue of Jane Austen was unveiled in the Market Square in Basingstoke, where the author attended social gatherings.
Jane Austen is remembered primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century.
Devoney Looser's fascinating The Making of Jane Austen excavates the trends, politics, and tastes that shaped Austen's legacy.
The book also includes four appendices, which contain lists of the attested and unattested letters (appendices one and two), the transcription of one letter (appendix three) and the network of people Jane Austen corresponded with (appendix four).