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Jane Austen was born at the parsonage of Steventon, in Hampshire, England, on December 16, 1775. The seventh of eight children of the Reverend George Austen and his wife, Cassandra, she was educated mainly at home and never lived apart from her family. In 1801 the Austens moved to Bath, where Mr. Austen died in 1805. In 1805 the Austen women moved to Southampton to share the home of Jane's brother Frank and his wife Mary. In 1809, Jane's brother Edward offered the Austen women a permanent home on his Chawton estate, in their native Hampshire.
Jane died of Addison's Disease on July 18, 1817, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
The reading that Jane did in her father's extensive library provided material for the short satirical sketches she wrote as a girl. Most of her early writings were done in jest, primarily for family entertainment. She wrote her first novel, Love and Freindship (sic), at the age of 14. This was followed up by A History of England by a partial, prejudiced and ignorant Historian. Neither of these works, however, were ever sold to the general public.
Austen's best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, was written between October 1796 and August 1797, but was not published until 1813.
Sense and Sensibility, which was written between 1797 and 1798, was actually published before Pride and Prejudice, in 1811.
Northanger Abbey, written in 1798, was not published until after her death, in 1818.
All of the above books were written while the Austens lived in Hampshire. The family's move to Bath left Jane quite unhappy, for she disliked the confines of the busy town and found it difficult to write. She was even more unhappy living in Southampton, and wrote nothing at all while living there. She found her muse again after returning to Hampshire, resulting in her final three books: Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), and Persuasion (1818).
None of the books published in her lifetime had Jane Austen's name on them -- they were described as being written "By a Lady."
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Literature >> 1640-1770
This page was last updated on 10/25/2017.