Portal:Jane Austen

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Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it. (more...)

Selected article

Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Produced by Sue Birtwistle and directed by Simon Langton, the serial was a BBC production with additional funding from the American A&E Network. BBC One originally broadcast the 55-minute episodes from 24 September to 29 October in 1995. The A&E Network aired the serial in double episodes on three consecutive nights beginning 14 January 1996.

Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's (Benjamin Whitrow and Alison Steadman) five unmarried daughters (Susannah Harker, Jennifer Ehle, Lucy Briers, Polly Maberly, Julia Sawalha) after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley (Crispin Bonham-Carter) and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. The New York Times called the adaptation "a witty mix of love stories and social conniving, cleverly wrapped in the ambitions and illusions of a provincial gentry". (more...)

Selected biography

Anne Elliot is the protagonist of Jane Austen's sixth and last completed novel, Persuasion (1818). She is the overlooked middle daughter of a narcissistic and extravagant baronet, Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall. Unique among Jane Austen heroines, she is 27 years old and seemingly a confirmed spinster. With few to appreciate her sweet nature and refined, elegant mind, Anne is somewhat isolated, living in a narrow social sphere where she "was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight; her convenience was always to give way; she was only Anne."

Persuasion manifests a significant shift in Austen's attitude toward inherited wealth and rank. Elsewhere in her writing, salvation for the heroine comes in the form of marriage to a well-born gentleman, preferably wealthy and at least her equal in social consequence. Elizabeth Bennet, for example, who has little money of her own, marries Mr. Darcy, who has a great estate, a Norman-sounding name, and ₤10,000 a year. Anne Elliot's "true attachment and constancy" to Captain Wentworth, a dashing, self-made young outsider, distinguishes her from all her sister Austen heroines. (more...)

Selected picture

Jane Austen coloured version.jpg
Coloured version of Jane Austen, c. 1873, author unknown

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