Jane Austen: Life and works
April 2nd, 2009
Jane Austen: life and work.
The following essay will address the life of Jane Austen and will also describe her work. But first, this author thinks that it is important to introduce Jane Austen: she was one of the most prolific female English writers of the United Kingdom. According to BritanniaInternet Magazine (1999), she first gave the novel its modern character through the treatment of everyday life. Her stories, 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 (p. 1).Although Austen was widely read in her lifetime, she published her works anonymously. “The most urgent preoccupationof her bright and young heroines is courtship and finally marriage, even though Austen herself never married.” (Janeite, 2002). Two of her greatest novels have been taken to the big screen and have also been the product of TV series.
Jane Austen was born on 16 December, 1775 in the village of Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was a rector. She was the second daughter and seventh childin a family of eight. The first 25 years of her life she spent them in Hampshire. BBC, London (2005) states that she was mostly tutored at home, and irregularly at school. Her parents were avid readers and she received a broader education than many women of her time. (p. 1).
“Austen started to write for family amusement as a child. Her earliest-known writings date from about 1787. She wasvery shy about her writing, so she wrote on small pieces of paper that she slipped under the desk plotter if anyone came into the room. In her letters she observed the daily life of her family and friends” (The Literature Network, 2006).
Janeite (2002) argues that as a young woman Jane enjoyed dancing and she attended balls in many of the great houses of the neighbourhood. She loved thecountry, enjoyed long country walks and had many Hampshire friends. In 1801 the family moved to Bath. Mr. Austen gave the Steventon living to his son James and retired to Bath with his wife and two daughters. Jane disliked the confines of a busy town and missed her Steventon life. (p. 1).
Austen's father supported his daughter's writing aspirations and tried to help her get a publisher. After hisdeath in 1805, she lived with her sister and hypochondriac mother in Southampton and moved in 1809 to a large cottage in the village of Chawton. “Austen never married, but her social life was active and she had suitors and romantic dreams” (Britannia Internet Magazine, 1999).
Austen was well connected with the middling-rich landed gentry that she portrayed in her novels. In Chawton shestarted to write her major works, among them Sense and Sensibility (1811), “the story of the impoverished Dashwood sisters, Marianne and Elinor, who try to find proper husbands to secure their social position.” (BBC, London 2005).The novel was composed when the author was 20.
Austen's protagonists are determined to marry wisely and well, but romantic Marianne is a character who feels intenselyabout everything and loses her heart to an irresponsible seducer. Elinor, who is the critical thinker of the story, falls in love with a gentleman already engaged. According to Britannia Internet Magazine (1999), when Marianne likes to read and express her feelings, Elinor prefers to draw and design and be silent of his desires. (p. 2).
After Mr. Dashwood death, his son John inherits theNorland estate in Sussex where the sisters live. John's wife, the greedy and selfish Fanny, insists that they move to Norland. The impoverished widow and her daughters move to Barton Cottage in Devonshire. There Marianne is surrounded by Mister Willoughby, who has already loved another woman and cheats on poor Marianne.
Elinor becomes interested in Edward Ferrars. Colonel Brandon, an older...