Although the domain of Jane Austen’s novels was as circumscribed as her entire life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equivalent of the best novelists in almost any language. Born the eldest child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At a young age she started writing sketches and satires of popular books for her family’s amusement. As a clergyman’s girl out of a well-connected household, she had an ample opportunity to examine the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty six, she started a novel called “The First Impressions” an early version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1801, on her father’s retirement, the family proceeded into the fashionable resort of Bath. 2 decades later she sold the very first version of Northanger Abby to a London publication, but the first of her books to show had been Sense and Sensibility, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this comparative retirement, Jane Austen was still connected with a broader world, mainly through her brothers; you had become an extremely rich country gentleman, yet another a London banker, and 2 were Nazi officers. Although her most novels were published anonymously, she had several ancient and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last job, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death July 18, 1817. She had been buried at Winchester Cathedral. Austen’s identity as a writer was announced to the entire world posthumously with her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.
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