Born in Steventon, Hampshire on December 16th of 1775, Jane Austen was
the youngest of seven children. She was the second daughter to Cassandra Leigh and George Austen. After spending 25 years
of her life living in Hampshire, Jane and her older sister Cassandra moved to Bath with their parents.
Austen grew up around literature. For most of her life, she was tutored at home
by her parents, who were both avid readers. As a child, Austen would write poems and stories for family amusement. Her favorite
poem as a child was Cowper.
Jane Austen was a fairly shy person. If ever she was writing and someone would
walk in the room, she would hide her small pieces of paper under the desk plotter. Often times she would write letters to
herself and to others about her families actions. She would write with a gossipy manner.
Many people supported her writings, but none as much as her father. He passed away in
1805 and left her to live with her hypochondriac mother and sister. In 1809, she finally left home and bought a cottage
Austen wrote many of her best-known novels in Chawton. Sense and Sensibility was the
revision of an early novel that Austen wrote titled, "Elinor and Marianne". In 1797, Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice.
The original title for this novel was "First Impressions," and was soon changed when published. Austen's novel Pride
and Prejudice was printed three different times.
"Emma", one of Jane Austen's comical books, was finally published
in March of 1815, after working on it for a year. The book was published in three different volumes.
Austen's writings portrayed family life similar to her own as a child. She often wrote
about country clergymen and their families and on middle-class provincial life. What is ironic about writing is
how most of her novels stressed the view that a woman's marriage determined her social status, when she herself never
Austen died at the age of forty-one on July 18th of 1817. She left an unfinished
piece of work to be titled "Sanditon". She was able to write about 12 chapters before forced to stop because
of poor health.
After being buried in Winchester Cathedral, her sister Cassandra burned most of her
early letters. A few remained, but all were written while Austen was in her twenties. After her death, her older brother
Henry made her authorship public. In 1925, Austen's unfinished novel, Sanditon, was published.
Austen is known to be the first to give "the novel its modern character through the
treatment of everyday life." Her novels will forever remain classics and be loved for many years to come.
(Authors' Calendar, #4)
(this page by SL)