Jane Austen (1775-1817)

jane austen

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose realism, biting social commentary and masterful use of free indirect speech, burlesque, and irony have earned her a place as one of the most widely read and most beloved writers in English literature.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a small and close-knit family located on the lower fringes of English gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers and through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to Austen's development as a professional writer.

Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the eighteenth century and are part of the transition to nineteenth century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security; and are concerned with moral issues.

Because she chose to publish anonymously, Jane Austen's novels during her lifetime brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews.