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...)

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Jane Austen's (1775–1817) distinctive literary style relies on a combination of parody, burlesque, irony, free indirect speech, and a degree of realism. She uses parody and burlesque for comic effect and to critique the portrayal of women in 18th-century sentimental and gothic novels. Austen's irony is used similarly, but extends her critique, highlighting social hypocrisy. She often creates an ironic tone through free indirect speech, in which the thoughts and words of the characters mix with the voice of the narrator. The degree to which critics believe Austen's characters have psychological depth informs their views regarding her realism. While some scholars argue that Austen falls into a tradition of realism because of her diligent, finely executed portrayal of individual characters and her emphasis on "the everyday", others contend that her characters lack depth of feelings compared with earlier works, and that this, combined with Austen's polemical tone, places her outside the realist tradition.

Austen's novels have often been characterized as "country house novels" or as "comedies of manners", however they also include fairy tale elements. Compared to other early 19th-century novels, Austen's have little narrative or scenic description—they contain much more dialogue. Within the many conversations that her characters have, Austen shapes a distinctive and subtlety-constructed voice for each of them. (more...)

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Edward Ferrars is a fictional character in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. He is the elder of Fanny Dashwood's two brothers and forms an attachment to Elinor Dashwood.

As first described in Sense and Sensibility: "Edward Ferrars was not recommended to their good opinion by any peculiar graces of person or address. He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself; but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour gave every indication of an open, affectionate heart. His understanding was good, and his education had given it solid improvement. But he was neither fitted by abilities nor disposition to answer the wishes of his mother and sister, who longed to see him distinguished—as—they hardly knew what." (more...)

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Jane Austen (House in Chawton).jpg
Jane Austen's House Museum in Hampshire, where she spent the last eight years of her life.

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