Jane Austen was born on the 16th of December in 1775, in Stevenson, Hampshire, England. She was an intelligent daughter of George Austen, a famous cleric at one of the Anglican parishes. Her mother, Cassandra Leigh, was a wealthy lady. Jane’s grandfather was an Oxford-educated cleric. The children grew up in an environment that provided them with room for creative thinking and learning. Young Jane, being close to her father, learned many things from him. Moreover, George’s extensive library helped her polish her reading and analytical skills. Unfortunately, her father died in 1805, and her mother passed away in 1827.
Jane Austen, a great literary figure, belonged to a well-educated and influential family. She began to read and write at a very young age. Sharing a close relationship with her father, she learned the basic skills at home. To get a formal education, Jane, along with her sister, was sent to Oxford in 1783 to be educated by Miss Ann Cowley, where they stayed for a short time. Facing an acute illness, both siblings returned home and stayed with the family. Later, in 1875, Jane and her sister were sent to Reading Abbey Girls School, where they were exposed to needlework, dancing, French, music, and drama. Unfortunately, due to the financial strains, the sisters returned home in 1876. After her return, her father and brothers guided her in the educational field. The private theatre had always been an essential part for Austen as her friends and family staged a series of plays, including The Rivals by Richard Sheridan. Inspired with the literary efforts of her family and friends, she started writing herself at the age of eleven.
Jane led a successful life, and at the age of forty-one, her health began to decline. Despite facing illness, she made efforts to continue to write and edited older works as well as started a new piece called The Brothers, which published after her death under the title of Senditon. The world lost this precious gem on the 18th of July in 1877 in Winchester, England.
Some Important Facts of Her Life
- Her transformation from little-known to internationally acclaimed writers started in the 1920s when critics reevaluated her literary pieces.
- She enjoyed unprecedented fame in her life, but she never got married.
- The popularity of her works speaks in many TV adaptations and films of Mansfield Park, Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride, and Prejudice
Jane Austen, a towering figure of the seventeenth century, started writing literary pieces at a very young. With the compositions of plays and short stories, she laid the foundation of her long literary career. At first, she wrote pieces for her own and her family’s amusements with the subjects of anarchic fantasies of female power or feminism and illicit behavior. Later, in 1970, she started writing novels and came up with Love and Friendship followed by The History of England, presenting the historical and romantic fiction. Using the framework of letter writing in these fictions, she unveiled her wit and disliked for romantic hysteria and sensibility, which remained evident in her other writings, too. Later, she produced an epistolary story, Lady Susan, presenting the life of a female who manipulates others using her sexuality and intelligence. Marked with the techniques of letter writing, her other major work, Elinor and Marianne, which was later drafted as Sense and Sensibility, appeared in 1811. She produced many masterpieces throughout her life including, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma.
Jane Austen stands among the most influential figures of world literature. With the help of her unique style, she beautifully portrayed her ideas in her literary pieces. Her distinctive literary style relies mainly on a blend of parody, free indirect speech, irony, and presentation of literary realism. Jane used burlesque and parody in her writings to critique the portrayal of women in the 18th century. Her pieces are far from the world of imagination as she focused on presenting the ordinary people realistically. Moreover, her ironic style presents a keen insight into the English culture. Concerning characterization, she focused on the conversation allow the characters to develop themselves. The recurring themes in most of her literary pieces are cultural, identity, love, marriage, and pride.
Jane Austen’s Influence on Future Literature
Jane Austen, with her unique abilities, left a profound impact on global literature, and even after 200 hundred years of her demise, she continues to win love for her biting approach on diverse tangles of this passion. Her witty ideas, along with distinct literary qualities, won applause from the audience, critics, and other fellow writers. Her impact resonates strongly inside as well as outside England. Her masterpieces provided the principles for the writers of succeeding generations. She successfully documented her ideas about marriage, power, and love in her writings that even today, writers try to imitate her unique style, considering her a beacon for writing prose.
Some Important Works of Jane Austen
- Best Novels: She was an outstanding writer, some of her best novels, which include Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.
- Other Works: Besides novels, she also tried her hands on shorter and non-fiction too. Some of them include Plan of Novel, Juvenilia- Volume the First, Juvenilia- V0lume the Second, Juvenilia- Volume the Third, Letters, and Poems.
- “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.” (Pride and Prejudice)
- “There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison.” (Persuasion)
- A woman, especially if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” (Northanger Abbey)
- Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” (Mansfield Park)