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Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated of English writers known mainly for her six major novels. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion.
Her books make interesting reading to those who enjoy historical novels as they give an insight into the British middle and upper classes at the end of the 18th century and are particularly noted for their wit, social observation and the documentation of lives of women of that era.
Born on 16 December 1775 in the rural village of Steventon in north Hampshire, England. Her father was a clergyman and she was one of eight children.
In 1801 the family moved to Bath. After the death of her father Jane, moved several times with her mother and sister eventually settling in Chawton Cottage, a cottage on the Chawton estate in Chawton, Hampshire where she spent the last eight years of her life.
Interestingly Chawton is close to Steventon where she was born.
Jane began writing as a teenager. Her brother Edward is thought to be the inspiration of her writing and helped to get her works published.
Her first novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, was published in 1811with the author being titled “A Lady”. All subsequent novels were attributed to the author of “Sense and Sensibility” Her novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was initially entitled “First Impressions”, which Jane described as her “own darling child” and ‘Emma’ was dedicated to the prince regent (George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales), who was said to be an admirer of her work.
All of Jane Austen’s novels were published anonymously allowing Jane the ability to observe people, and transform them into the characters in her novels.
In 1816, Jane began to suffer from ill-health, She travelled to Winchester to receive treatment physician where she eventually took lodgings and died a few months later on 18 July 1817. Jane Austen was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Two more novels, ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’ were published posthumously and a final novel was left incomplete.