Jane Austen Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Ms. Jane Austen
Date of Birth: December 16, 1775
Place of Birth: Steventon, Hampshire, England
Died: July 18, 1817
Place of Death: Winchester, Hampshire, England
Classification: Artists & Entertainers

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Short Biography of Jane Austen

Although not extremely popular or wealthy during her short life, Jane Austen captured the romance in her works that embodied the literary Romance Movement of her time. Not only has she been credited with developing complex characterization, she created novels that mirrored women’s position in society of the time – where marriage was seen as a woman’s only salvation.

Remaining unwed and relying on her parents for most of her life, Jane had two brothers who became clergymen and two others who joined the British Naval Forces. Her sister Cassandra, named after their mother, was a helpful assistant to her sister Jane’s novel ideas. The two would discuss the characters, their roles, their lives, and in turn make them seem as ‘real’ to them as they do to readers of her novels. Austen’s only educational background came from a relative and a brief attendance at the Reading Ladies Boarding School.

Although Austen led a calm and comfortable life, her dislike for the Bath area was reflected in the characters of her novels in which the protagonist lives in Bath and cannot stand her situation. When her father died, Austen, her sister and mother all moved to Southampton and finally to Chawton, where they all lived in a small cottage. Throughout her different living situations, Austen continued to write her novels. And, even though they were published anonymously at that time, some stated her works, and especially her character sketches were brilliant, equivalent to that of any of Shakespeare’s multifarious creations.

Most of Jane Austen’s novels, the most popular being Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma all are love stories about the inner, complex emotions of women of the day. Her novels also lend themselves to themes of tragic fate from overzealous planning of one’s own destiny. Her novels also touch upon a society forcing women to search for security as they received no inheritance according to early English law. And, even though Austen passed away at the early age 41, her novels remain an intricate part of any academic study program of English Literature. And, many of her novels have become successful movies.

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