Jane Austen

From ArticleWorld

Jane Austen was a great British writer and her best work is said to be “Emma”. Her deep understanding of women’s lives, besides her command over form and irony resulted in her books becoming a major influence on the western culture.


Jane Austen came from large family. She had seven siblings, six of whom were brothers. Her father was a rector and served the parish of Steventon, Hampshire. She spent most of her life nearby. The reverend and his wife had only other daughter, Cassandra, who was older than Jane. She was also one of the few people who were very close to Jane. Had it not been for Cassandra, there would be no authentic portrait of Jane Austen. This happens to be a colored sketch, and now can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London. While Jane did not receive education on par with the boys her parents ensured that she was better educated than most of the girls of her time. At the age of eight, she was educated for a short time by a relative in Oxford, followed by Southampton. By the time she was ten, she was at the Reading Ladies boarding school. Born on Dec 16th, 1775, Jane Austen began working on her first story at the tender age of 15. Jane Austen led a tranquil and happy life with the exception of a disappointment in love. Bath, the scene for many an episode in her writings, was where the family moved to when she was twenty-six. The next year, she received a proposal from young man of wealth, Mr. Biggs-Wither. Ms.Austen turned down the proposal from Harris Biggs -Wither the very next day because else did not love him, which was unheard of in her times. Does this sound like a character from Pride and Prejudice? Jane remained a spinster. Jane, her older sister and her mother lived with her brother Frank, who, along with Charles, was an admiral. They lived with her brother’s family for 4 years, till 1805. They then moved to Chawton, where Edward, her wealthy brother gave her mother, sister and herself a cottage. This cottage is open to the public today. Ms.Austen died at 41 of Addison’s disease. In those days very little was know about this malady. The disease progressed very quickly. Though she sought medical attention in Winchester, she died within two months of her getting there and was buried in the cathedral.


Jane Austen was influenced by William Cowper, Fanny Burney and Samuel Johnson to name a few. The norm for female literary figures those days was to publish their novels anonymously. Her novels were popular, and were praised by literary stalwarts of her times like Macaulay and Sir William Scott. In fact, according Macaulay, nothing could approach perfection like Jane’s compositions. However, in spite of her novels being in the category of romance, Jane was no romantic. On the other hand, she always was on the side of the heroine who was level-headed, moderate and rational. Her heroines are not swayed by riches or social status. The impulsive girl who gives herself to emotion has always landed in trouble in her novels. It’s obvious from her writings that she was much ahead of her times. While she did not receive as much attention that was her due, today her works are generating millions of dollars in the Hollywood today and of course have been made a part of the prescribed reading in the academia.