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Jane Austen

Publicado por rosarioa.biblioteca el 7 Abril 2008

“Jane Austen was an English novelist whose books, set amongst the English middle and upper classes, are notable for their wit, social observation and insights into the lives of early 19th century women.”

Jane Austen was born in December 16th, 1775, in Hampshire, England. Her father, George Austen, worked as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon. Her mother, Cassandra, was a member of the prominent Leigh family. She had six sisters but Cassandra was Austen’s closest friend and confidante throughout her life.

Austen acquired most part of her education by reading books, guided by her father and her brothers James and Henry.

Between 1782 and 1784, the Austen family performed plays in Steventon’s parsonage.

During the period between 1793 and 1795, Austen wrote Lady Susan, a short epistolary novel, usually described as her most ambitious and sophisticated early work. She also began to write the first versions of the novels that then would be published by the titles of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger’s Abbey.

After finishing Lady Susan, Austen attempted her first full-length novel, Elinor and Marianne. Austen fell in love at the age of twenty one. Tom Lefroy, a nephew of her neighbours, visited Steventon from December 1795 to January 1796. He had just finished a university degree and was moving to London to train as a barrister. Their feelings for each other were strong and visible to their friends and neighbours. The Lefroy family intervened and sent him away at the end of January. If Tom Lefroy later visited Hampshire, he was carefully kept away from the Austens, and Jane Austen never saw him again.

Neither Jane nor Cassandra Austen ever got married. Her father died in 1805

Jane’s brother Henry helped her negotiate with a publisher and her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, appeared in 1811. Her next novel Pride and Prejudice, which she described as her “own darling child” received highly favourable reviews. Mansfield Park was published in 1814, then Emma, in 1816. Emma was dedicated to the Prince Regent, an admirer of her work. All Jane Austen’s novels were published anonymously.

In 1816, Jane began to suffer from ill-health, probably due to Addison’s disease. She travelled to Winchester to receive treatment, and died there on 18th July, 1817. Two more novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously and a final novel was left incomplete.

                           Jane Austen

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