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George and Cassandra exchanged miniatures in and probably were engaged around that time. They left for Hampshire the same day. Their income was modest, with George's small per annum living; Cassandra brought to the marriage the expectation of a small inheritance at the time of her mother's death. Cassandra gave birth to three children while living at Deane: James in , George in , and Edward in In the family finally took up residence in Steventon.

Henry was the first child to be born there, in He was subject to seizures, may have been deaf and dumb, and she chose to send him out to be fostered. According to Honan, the atmosphere of the Austen home was an "open, amused, easy intellectual" one, where the ideas of those with whom the Austens might disagree politically or socially were considered and discussed.

Cassandra Austen's cousin Thomas Leigh visited a number of times in the s and s, inviting young Cassie to visit them in Bath in The first mention of Jane occurs in family documents on her return, " Never were sisters more to each other than Cassandra and Jane; while in a particularly affectionate family, there seems to have been a special link between Cassandra and Edward on the one hand, and between Henry and Jane on the other.

From until , George Austen supplemented his income by farming and by teaching three or four boys at a time, who boarded at his home. During this period of her life, Austen attended church regularly, socialised with friends and neighbours, [f] and read novels — often of her own composition — aloud with her family in the evenings. Socialising with the neighbours often meant dancing, either impromptu in someone's home after supper or at the balls held regularly at the assembly rooms in the town hall.

In , Austen and her sister Cassandra were sent to Oxford to be educated by Mrs Ann Cawley who took them with her to Southampton when she moved there later in the year. In the autumn both girls were sent home when they caught typhus and Austen nearly died. The sisters returned home before December because the school fees for the two girls were too high for the Austen family.

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The remainder of her education came from reading, guided by her father and brothers James and Henry. Together these collections amounted to a large and varied library. Private theatricals were an essential part of Austen's education.

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From her early childhood, the family and friends staged a series of plays in the rectory barn, including Richard Sheridan 's The Rivals and David Garrick 's Bon Ton. Austen's eldest brother James wrote the prologues and epilogues and she probably joined in these activities, first as a spectator and later as a participant. From the age of eleven, and perhaps earlier, Austen wrote poems and stories for her own and her family's amusement.

She called the three notebooks "Volume the First", "Volume the Second" and "Volume the Third", and they preserve 90, words she wrote during those years. Among these works are a satirical novel in letters titled Love and Freindship [ sic ], written at age fourteen in , [52] in which she mocked popular novels of sensibility.

Austen's History parodied popular historical writing, particularly Oliver Goldsmith 's History of England When she was around eighteen years old Austen began to write longer, more sophisticated works. In August , aged seventeen, Austen started writing Catharine or the Bower , which presaged her mature work, especially Northanger Abbey ; it was left unfinished and the story picked up in Lady Susan , which Todd describes as less prefiguring than Catharine.

This was a short parody of various school textbook abridgements of Austen's favourite contemporary novel, The History of Sir Charles Grandison , by Samuel Richardson. When Austen became an aunt for the first time at age eighteen, she sent new-born niece Fanny-Catherine Austen-Knight "five short pieces of For niece Jane-Anna-Elizabeth Austen also born in Jane Austen wrote "two more 'Miscellanious [sic] Morsels', dedicating them to [Anna] on 2 June , 'convinced that if you seriously attend to them, You will derive from them very important Instructions, with regard to your Conduct in Life.

Between and aged eighteen to twenty Austen wrote Lady Susan , a short epistolary novel , usually described as her most ambitious and sophisticated early work. Austen biographer Claire Tomalin describes the novella's heroine as a sexual predator who uses her intelligence and charm to manipulate, betray and abuse her lovers, friends and family. Told in letters, it is as neatly plotted as a play, and as cynical in tone as any of the most outrageous of the Restoration dramatists who may have provided some of her inspiration It stands alone in Austen's work as a study of an adult woman whose intelligence and force of character are greater than those of anyone she encounters.


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According to Janet Todd, the model for the title character may have been Eliza de Feuillide, who inspired Austen with stories of her glamorous life and various adventures. Eliza's French husband was guillotined in ; she married Jane's brother Henry Austen in He had just finished a university degree and was moving to London for training as a barrister. Lefroy and Austen would have been introduced at a ball or other neighbourhood social gathering, and it is clear from Austen's letters to Cassandra that they spent considerable time together: Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.

Austen wrote in her first surviving letter to her sister Cassandra that Lefroy was a "very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man". My tears flow as I write at this melancholy idea". Halperin cautioned that Austen often satirised popular sentimental romantic fiction in her letters, and some of the statements about Lefroy may have been ironic.

However, it is clear that Austen was genuinely attracted to Lefroy and subsequently none of her other suitors ever quite measured up to him. Marriage was impractical as both Lefroy and Austen must have known. Neither had any money, and he was dependent on a great-uncle in Ireland to finance his education and establish his legal career. If Tom Lefroy later visited Hampshire, he was carefully kept away from the Austens, and Jane Austen never saw him again. Her sister remembered that it was read to the family "before " and was told through a series of letters.

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Without surviving original manuscripts, there is no way to know how much of the original draft survived in the novel published anonymously in as Sense and Sensibility. Austen began a second novel, First Impressions later published as Pride and Prejudice , in She completed the initial draft in August , aged 21; as with all of her novels, Austen read the work aloud to her family as she was working on it and it became an "established favourite".

Austen's letter, marking it "Declined by Return of Post". Austen may not have known of her father's efforts. During the middle of , after finishing revisions of Elinor and Marianne , Austen began writing a third novel with the working title Susan — later Northanger Abbey — a satire on the popular Gothic novel. Crosby promised early publication and went so far as to advertise the book publicly as being "in the press", but did nothing more. In December George Austen unexpectedly announced his decision to retire from the ministry, leave Steventon, and move the family to 4, Sydney Place in Bath.

She was able to make some revisions to Susan , and she began and then abandoned a new novel, The Watsons , but there was nothing like the productivity of the years — The years from to are something of a blank space for Austen scholars as Cassandra destroyed all of her letters from her sister in this period for unknown reasons. She and her sister visited Alethea and Catherine Bigg, old friends who lived near Basingstoke. Their younger brother, Harris Bigg-Wither, had recently finished his education at Oxford and was also at home.

Bigg-Wither proposed and Austen accepted. As described by Caroline Austen, Jane's niece, and Reginald Bigg-Wither, a descendant, Harris was not attractive — he was a large, plain-looking man who spoke little, stuttered when he did speak, was aggressive in conversation, and almost completely tactless. However, Austen had known him since both were young and the marriage offered many practical advantages to Austen and her family.

He was the heir to extensive family estates located in the area where the sisters had grown up. With these resources, Austen could provide her parents a comfortable old age, give Cassandra a permanent home and, perhaps, assist her brothers in their careers. By the next morning, Austen realised she had made a mistake and withdrew her acceptance.

Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection". All of her heroines In , while living in Bath, Austen started but did not complete her novel, The Watsons. The story centres on an invalid and impoverished clergyman and his four unmarried daughters. Sutherland describes the novel as "a study in the harsh economic realities of dependent women's lives". Her father's relatively sudden death left Jane, Cassandra, and their mother in a precarious financial situation.

Edward, James, Henry, and Francis Austen known as Frank pledged to make annual contributions to support their mother and sisters. They spent part of the time in rented quarters in Bath before leaving the city in June for a family visit to Steventon and Godmersham. They moved for the autumn months to the newly fashionable seaside resort of Worthing , on the Sussex coast, where they resided at Stanford Cottage.

In the family moved to Southampton , where they shared a house with Frank Austen and his new wife. A large part of this time they spent visiting various branches of the family. On 5 April , about three months before the family's move to Chawton, Austen wrote an angry letter to Richard Crosby, offering him a new manuscript of Susan if needed to secure the immediate publication of the novel, and requesting the return of the original so she could find another publisher. She did not have the resources to buy the copyright back at that time, [92] but was able to purchase it in Around early Austen's brother Edward offered his mother and sisters a more settled life — the use of a large cottage in Chawton village [i] that was part of Edward's nearby estate, Chawton House.

Jane, Cassandra and their mother moved into Chawton cottage on 7 July The Austens did not socialise with gentry and entertained only when family visited.

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Her niece Anna described the family's life in Chawton as "a very quiet life, according to our ideas, but they were great readers, and besides the housekeeping our aunts occupied themselves in working with the poor and in teaching some girl or boy to read or write. At the time, married British women did not have the legal power to sign contracts, and it was common for a woman wishing to publish to have a male relative represent her to sign the contract. During her time at Chawton, Jane Austen published four generally well-received novels.

Through her brother Henry, the publisher Thomas Egerton agreed to publish Sense and Sensibility , which, like all of Jane Austen's novels except Pride and Prejudice , was published "on commission", that is, at the author's financial risk. If a novel did not recover its costs through sales, the author was responsible for them. Reviews were favourable and the novel became fashionable among young aristocratic opinion-makers; [] the edition sold out by mid Austen's novels were published in larger editions than was normal for this period. The small size of the novel-reading public and the large costs associated with hand production particularly the cost of handmade paper meant that most novels were published in editions of copies or less to reduce the risks to the publisher and the novelist.

Even some of the most successful titles during this period were issued in editions of not more than or copies and later reprinted if demand continued. Austen's novels were published in larger editions, ranging from about copies of Sense and Sensibility to about 2, copies of Emma. It is not clear whether the decision to print more copies than usual of Austen's novels was driven by the publishers or the author.

Since all but one of Austen's books were originally published "on commission", the risks of overproduction were largely hers or Cassandra's after her death and publishers may have been more willing to produce larger editions than was normal practice when their own funds were at risk. Editions of popular works of non-fiction were often much larger. While Mansfield Park was ignored by reviewers, it was very popular with readers.

All copies were sold within six months, and Austen's earnings on this novel were larger than for any of her other novels. Unknown to Austen, her novels were translated into French and published in cheaply produced, pirated editions in France. Austen learned that the Prince Regent admired her novels and kept a set at each of his residences. Though Austen disliked the Prince Regent, she could scarcely refuse the request. In mid Austen moved her work from Egerton to John Murray , a better known London publisher, [k] who published Emma in December and a second edition of Mansfield Park in February Emma sold well but the new edition of Mansfield Park did poorly, and this failure offset most of the income from Emma.

These were the last of Austen's novels to be published during her lifetime.

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She completed her first draft in July In addition, shortly after the publication of Emma , Henry Austen repurchased the copyright for Susan from Crosby. Austen was forced to postpone publishing either of these completed novels by family financial troubles. Henry Austen's bank failed in March , depriving him of all of his assets, leaving him deeply in debt and losing Edward, James, and Frank Austen large sums.

Henry and Frank could no longer afford the contributions they had made to support their mother and sisters. Austen was feeling unwell by early , but ignored the warning signs. By the middle of that year, her decline was unmistakable, and she began a slow, irregular deterioration. Vincent Cope's retrospective diagnosis and list her cause of death as Addison's disease , although her final illness has also been described as resulting from Hodgkin's lymphoma. She continued to work in spite of her illness. Dissatisfied with the ending of The Elliots , she rewrote the final two chapters, which she finished on 6 August In the novel, Austen mocked hypochondriacs and though she describes the heroine as "bilious", five days after abandoning the novel she wrote of herself that she was turning "every wrong colour" and living "chiefly on the sofa".

Austen made light of her condition, describing it as "bile" and rheumatism. As her illness progressed, she experienced difficulty walking and lacked energy; by mid-April she was confined to bed. In May Cassandra and Henry brought her to Winchester for treatment, by which time she suffered agonising pain and welcomed death. Henry, through his clerical connections, arranged for his sister to be buried in the north aisle of the nave of Winchester Cathedral. The epitaph composed by her brother James praises Austen's personal qualities, expresses hope for her salvation and mentions the "extraordinary endowments of her mind", but does not explicitly mention her achievements as a writer.

Tomalin describes it as "a loving and polished eulogy". In Richard Bentley purchased the remaining copyrights to all of her novels, and over the following winter published five illustrated volumes as part of his Standard Novels series. In October , Bentley released the first collected edition of her works. Since then, Austen's novels have been continuously in print. Austen's works critique the sentimental novels of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism.

Leavis and Ian Watt placed her in the tradition of Richardson and Fielding; both believe that she used their tradition of "irony, realism and satire to form an author superior to both". Walter Scott noted Austen's "resistance to the trashy sensationalism of much of modern fiction — 'the ephemeral productions which supply the regular demand of watering places and circulating libraries'".


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  4. Yet in Northanger Abbey she alludes to the trope, with the heroine, Catherine, anticipating a move to a remote locale. Rather than full-scale rejection or parody, Austen transforms the genre, juxtaposing reality, with descriptions of elegant rooms and modern comforts, against the heroine's "novel-fueled" desires. Richardson's Pamela , the prototype for the sentimental novel, is a didactic love story with a happy ending, written at a time women were beginning to have the right to choose husbands and yet were restricted by social conventions. The narrative style utilises free indirect speech — she was the first English novelist to do so extensively — through which she had the ability to present a character's thoughts directly to the reader and yet still retain narrative control.

    The style allows an author to vary discourse between the narrator's voice and values and those of the characters. Austen had a natural ear for speech and dialogue, according to scholar Mary Lascelles "Few novelists can be more scrupulous than Jane Austen as to the phrasing and thoughts of their characters. When Elizabeth Bennett rejects Darcy, her stilted speech and the convoluted sentence structure reveals that he has wounded her: From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that the groundwork of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike.

    And I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry. Austen's plots highlight women's traditional dependence on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. He believes that the well-spring of her wit and irony is her own attitude that comedy "is the saving grace of life". Samuel Johnson 's influence is evident, in that she follows his advice to write "a representation of life as may excite mirth". Her humour comes from her modesty and lack of superiority, allowing her most successful characters, such as Elizabeth Bennet, to transcend the trivialities of life, which the more foolish characters are overly absorbed in.

    Critic Robert Polhemus writes, "To appreciate the drama and achievement of Austen, we need to realize how deep was her passion for both reverence and ridicule As Austen's works were published anonymously, they brought her little personal renown. They were fashionable among opinion-makers, but were rarely reviewed. Using the review as a platform to defend the then-disreputable genre of the novel, he praised Austen's realism.

    However, Whately denied having authored the review, which drew favourable comparisons between Austen and such acknowledged greats as Homer and Shakespeare , and praised the dramatic qualities of her narrative. Scott and Whately set the tone for almost all subsequent 19th-century Austen criticism.

    Because Austen's novels did not conform to Romantic and Victorian expectations that "powerful emotion [be] authenticated by an egregious display of sound and colour in the writing", [] 19th-century critics and audiences preferred the works of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Austen had many admiring readers in the 19th century, who considered themselves part of a literary elite.

    Philosopher and literary critic George Henry Lewes expressed this viewpoint in a series of enthusiastic articles published in the s and s. Publication of the Memoir spurred the reissue of Austen's novels — the first popular editions were released in and fancy illustrated editions and collectors' sets quickly followed. They referred to themselves as Janeites in order to distinguish themselves from the masses who did not properly understand her works. Share or comment on this article: Bing Site Web Enter search term: Barrister reveals how he pulled Duke through roof of Land Rover Boris says Brexit can unite the country, as he makes a dramatic pitch for the Tory leadership by saying Oh no, not again!

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