Jane Austen: Write short notes on Jane Austen, it is the most important question for the BA English Students of Semester IV. These notes help the students of BBMKU and VBU university.
Jane Austen Life.
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775. Her father, Reverend George Austen came from a Kentish family. Jane was born at Steventon. Later, the family shifted to Bath and then to Chawton. Jane and her sister, Cassandra remained life-long companions. They also love their brother, Henry, very much who was very fond of Jane in particular and took a special interest in the publication of her novels. Jane belonged to a conservative, happy and lively upper-class family.
The members had great love, affection, and regard for each other. Jane and her sister were sent to the Abbey School. But she got a real education at home under the guidance of her father. As a young girl, Jane was a voracious reader. Her favorite authors were Dr. Johnson, Goldsmith, Fielding, Fanny Burney, and Scott. Although Romanticism was now becoming the rage as Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey were her companions, she preferred to align herself with the classical writers of the eighteenth century.
In fiction, Gothic novels were very popular in those days. But Jane satirized them and this was one of the reasons for her being ignored by the people of her own age. It seems a bit surprising that when she herself remained a spinster, she wrote a length about love and marriage. As a matter of fact, the women in her period, particularly the girls of the upper-middle-class family had nothing to do except participate in dinners, parties, and bells and in loving and marrying and Jane depicted the realistic life of her period as she saw it.
It is, however, said that Jane had a romance in her life. Unfortunately, her lover whose name is not known, died before he could propose to her. Later, a close friend, Harris Bigg-Wither by name proposed to her. She accepted the proposal, but she broke off the engagement the very next morning, saying that she actually did not love the gentleman. It is stated that someone among her contemporaries called her the “prettiest, silliest, most affected, husband-hunting butterfly.” There is nothing on record to show that she met any of the literary celebrities of her period. She just remained aloof and sidelined. But, then, she wrote for the pleasure of writing, which is neither for money nor fame. She died of consumption at the early age of 41 in 1817.
Jane Austen Works.
Jane Austen’s Earliest Works-
Her earliest works are included in three note-books which are entitled
(i) Volume the First;
(ii) Volume the Second; and
(iii) Volume the Third
These volumes comprise parodies or ironic comments or Gothic or sentimental novels of the period.
Jane Austen’s Novels
(i) Novels of the Early (or first) Phase:
They are- (a) Sense and Sensibility: it was earlier captioned, Elinor and Marianne. It was written in 1795 and published in 1811. It was written in Epistolatory form.
(b) Pride and Prejudice: It was earlier captioned First Impressions. It was written in 1796, but published in 1814.
(c) Northanger Abbey: It was a satire on Gothic novels. It is well-known that it was published in 1803. But it was actually published posthumously in 1818.
(ii) Novels of the Later (or second) Phase:
They are (a) Mansfield Park: It was published in 1814. Unlike her earlier novels, this novel proved quite a success, and all of its published copies were sold within six months of publication.
(b) Emma: It was a mature work that appeared in 1816. Although Pride and Prejudice is Jane’s most popular work, many regard Emma to be her greatest novel.
(c) Persuasion: It was her last complete novel which was begun in 1815, but published in 1818 after her death.
Jane Austen’s fame as one of the greatest novelists in English rests on the six novels mentioned above. Before her death, she left an incomplete novel entitled “Sandition.” Southey wrote after her death: “Her novels are true to nature, and love for my sympathies passages of finer feeling than any other of this age.”