Jane Austen was a major English novelist, whose brilliantly witty, elegantly structured satirical fiction marks the transition in English literature from 18th-century neo-classicism to 19th romanticism.
Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775, at the rectory in the village of Steventon, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire. The seventh of eight children of the Reverend George Austen and his wife, Cassandra, she was educated mainly at home and never lived apart from her family. She had a happy childhood amongst all her brothers and the other boys who lodged with the family and whom Mr.Austen tutored. From her elder sister, Cassandra, she was inseparable. To amuse themselves, the children wrote and performed plays and charades, and even as a little girl Jane was encouraged to write. The reading that she did of the books in her father’s extensive library provided material for the short satirical sketches she writes like a girl.
At the age of 14, she wrote her first novel, Love and Friendship (sic), and then A History of England by a partial, prejudiced and ignorant Historian, together with other very amusing juvenilia. In her early twenties, Jane Austen wrote the novels that were later to be re-worked and published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. She also began a novel called The Watsons which was never completed.
Jane Austen’s life resembles her novels-at first glance they seem to be composed of a series of quiet, unexceptional events. Because her books were published anonymously, Austen never achieved personal recognition for her works outside of her sphere of family and friends. In her early writing, Austen began to define the limits of her fictional world. She deliberately limited what she wrote about, and her work gains intensity and beauty from its narrow focus. Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817 at the age of 41.
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