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Rationale

Even it has only been relatively recent that her work has become mainstream-thanks in
part to required reading in school, reproductions of her classical works at the bookstores
or television and cinema productions covering her novels-the lure of the romantic period
that Jane Austen created in the minds of men and women alike has reasoned for decades.
Her careful selection of characters placed in ordinary positions of their time, only to
develop into a more dramatic situation by the turn of the last page, has kept readers
revisiting these ageless classics time and again. Having read her works, I was left
wondering who Jane Austen really was- how close were the predicaments in these works
to her real life? What kind of woman was she in the world that she lived in? Did she ever
find the love so elusive in her own novels? With these in mind, when it came the time to
choose the theme for my Atestat Paper, I had no doubts in making a quick decision.
My Atestat Paper contains a presentation of Jane Austen’s life and creative works. The
paper is structured in two chapters, each one with two subchapters, emphasizing Jane
Austen’s personal and professional life. Chapter 1 focuses on her origin, the members of
her family and her relations with them and her romantic and social life. In Chapter 2 are
listed the writer’s main works, classified by their publishing order, with details about
composition, theme and characters.
Her novels center on the lives of young women in middle class Regency England, and
every novel ends with a happy marriage or two. But don't expect simple love stories in all
of Jane Austen's works. As an unmarried woman of very modest financial means, Jane
Austen understood the hopes and fears of women who had to rely on marriage and family
connections to provide them with a home and means to live. Miss Austen was fortunate
in having the support of her family and a successful literary career, but she knew how
easy it would be to become a tedious Miss Bates, a pitiable Jane Fairfax, or a sickly and
forgotten Mrs Smith.
The enormous popularity of Jane Austen's novels has led to many movie and television
adaptations of her novels, beginning with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson in the 1940
version of “Pride and Prejudice”, continuing to the nearly legendary wet shirt of Colin
Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC mini-series, and now including Bollywood musicals
and zombies. In recent years, there has been an explosion of popular novels based on
Jane Austen and her works.
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In her completed novels. her heroines come to see themselves and their conduct more clearly. so it is no surprise that her novels have remained continuously in print from her day to the present.Introduction Jane Austen is generally acknowledged to be one of the great English novelists. Austen's novels have variously been described as politically conservative and progressive. and with varied consequences. being comic novels. Throughout Austen's work there is a tension between the claims of society and the claims of the individual. serious reading is associated with intellectual and moral development. Austen is often considered one of the originators of the modern. Within her exploration of the political issues surrounding the gentry. 2 . irony. She uses parody and burlesque for comic effect and to critique the portrayal of women in 18th-century sentimental and gothic novels. and a degree of realism. Throughout her novels. Austen's plots are fundamentally about education. particularly the arbitrariness of property inheritance and the precarious economic position of women. Jane Austen's literary style relies on a combination of parody. Austen shapes a distinctive and subtlety-constructed voice for each of them. Austen generally explores the same issues or questions. Austen addresses issues relating money and property. free indirect speech. though she explores them from different perspectives. they all end with at least one marriage. Compared to other early 19th-century novels. in which the thoughts and words of the characters mix with the voice of the narrator. Austen's novels have often been characterized as "country house novels" or as "comedies of manners". under different situations. this does not mean that the endings are necessarily different. She often creates an ironic tone through free indirect speech. Within the many conversations that her characters have. highlighting social hypocrisy. Austen's irony is used similarly. Contemporary reviewers found much to praise in them. more moral people. and become better. burlesque. but extends her critique. However. interiorized novel character. Austen's have little narrative or scenic description—they contain much more dialogue.

Edward (1767-1852) was steady and business-like. During Jane Austen's life. George Austen. went away to Oxford University at the age of 14 in 1779. She asked her aunt Jane's advice about several of her unsettled romantic courtships. but was by no means rich. His oldest child Fanny (1793-1882) was (along with Anna). some pieces in Jane Austen's ”Juvenilia” were also dedicated to her in her infancy. 1775 at Steventon. and about whether or not to break them off. was not a favorite of Jane Austen. she worked on a never-completed novel (to be titled “Which is the Heroine?”) with the help of her aunt's advice. England. Henry (1771-1850) was Jane Austen's favorite brother. He had some literary preoccupations and in 1789-1790 edited (with his brother Henry) a university magazine at Oxford called “The Loiterer”. which ran for sixty issues. and was ordained a clergyman in 1787. was Jane Austen's first niece. Jane's eldest brother. He saw Jane Austen's novel ”Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey” through the press after her death. Thomas and Catherine Knight. and his wife Cassandra. He entered Oxford University in 1788. married Eliza de Feuillid (who died in 1813). but eventually destroyed it after Jane Austen's death.Chapter 1: Early life 1. or Church of England clergyman). He was sent by them on the "grand tour" of continental Europe in 1786-1788. 3 . and eventually inherited their estate of and took the last name of "Knight". and (like Mr. She was the seventh child (out of eight) and the second daughter (out of two).1: Family Jane Austen was born on December 16th. supplemented by tutoring pupils who came to live with him. His second wife. He took on the duties of the Steventon parish after his father's retirement. some pieces in “Juvenilia” (written when Anna was an infant) are dedicated to her. Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice”) couldn't have given his daughters much to marry on. one of Jane Austen's favorite nieces. and eventually ended up as a Calvinistleaning minister. Her mother died before she was sixteen. Mary Lloyd. James (1765-1819) was studious. 1739-1827 (born Leigh). 1731-1805 (the local rector. His daughter Anna (1793-1872). but not always successful. and in the early 1780's was adopted by rich childless cousins of the Austens. of the Rev. Hampshire. He had a fairly respectable income of about £600 a year. after a business bankruptcy in 1815. he was witty and enthusiastic in whatever he did.

This naval connection influenced Jane's novels “Mansfield Park” and ”Persuasion”.Cassandra Elizabeth (1773-1845) was Jane Austen's only sister. which apparently bore some resemblance to Mrs. resulting from visits on which they did not both go. Madame D'Arblay). Cassandra (like Jane) frequently visited her brothers and their families. she was very familiar with eighteenth century novels.a. This was Jane Austen's only education outside her family. Cassandra's fiancé Thomas Fowle died of yellow fever in the Caribbean in 1797. at least in part . Austen. one of the subscribers was "Miss J. 4 . They were brought home after an infectious disease broke out in Southampton. and also enjoyed the novels of Fanny Burney (a. Jane Austen did a fair amount of reading. and other relatives and friends (it was the separations between herself and Jane. fought in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. Musgrove and Mrs. Steventon".Catherine enjoys "rolling down the green slope at the back of the house" and prefers cricket and baseball to girls' play. giving us our most intimate look at some of the details of Jane Austen's life. Cawley (the sister of one of their uncles). the two girls learned drawing. Jane and her older sister Cassandra went briefly to be taught by a Mrs. She later got the title for “Pride and Prejudice” from a phrase in Burney's “Cecilia”. Over a hundred letters from Jane Austen to Cassandra have survived.k. She frequently reread Richardson's Sir Charles Grandison. and both eventually rose to become admirals. and her closest confidante. of both the serious and the popular literature of the day. Frank (1774-1865) and Charles (1779-1852) both entered the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth at the age of 12. Possibly Cassandra's experience is reflected in Mrs. However decorous she later chose to be in her own novels. In 1783. Within their family. which were much less inhibited than those of the later (near-)Victorian era. Cassandra never married. and when Burney's ”Camilla” came out in 1796. More than one reader has wondered whether the childhood of the character Catherine Morland in Jane Austen's novel ” Northanger Abbey” might not reflect her own childhood. After this. such as those of Fielding and Richardson. etc. he had gone there as a military chaplain. that necessitated the letters between them). Goddard's casual school in “Emma”. In 1785-1786 Jane and Cassandra went to the Abbey boarding school in Reading. Croft's abomination of "long engagements" and "uncertain engagements" in Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”. playing the piano. who lived first in Oxford and then moved to Southampton.

though she did not love him. near Steventon. In the end. Southampton etc. and also of visits to London. the family went to the sea-side every summer. he confessed to his nephew that he had had a "boyish love" for Jane Austen. In late 1800 her father decided to retire to Bath and the family moved there the next year. In 1795-1796.1. While the family were staying somewhere on the coast (probably in south Devonshire. Cassandra later spoke highly of him. This was socially embarrassing. and thought he would have been a successful suitor. All that is known is what Cassandra told various nieces. Harris Bigg-Wither. However. and her early letters tell of dances and parties she attended in Hampshire. insisting they be taken out of the neighborhood to Bath the next day. and she and Cassandra showed up unexpectedly at Steventon (where their brother James was now the clergyman). Anne Lefroy). however. Bath. with life transmuted into art. During the years in Bath. have been preserved. Jane Austen met a young man who seemed to Cassandra to have quite fallen in love with Jane. but her heart does not seem to have been seriously affected Notoriously. the next day she thought better of it. it was always known that he couldn't afford to marry Jane . and she accepted. she had a mutual flirtation with Thomas Lefroy (an Irish relative of Jane Austen's close older friend Mrs. after he had become Chief Justice of Ireland. According to her:"They parted -but he made it plain he should seek them out again". the heroine) during 1802-1803. Jane Austen would have been 27 (the age of Anne Elliot. 5 .. when Jane Austen and Cassandra were staying with the Bigg family. proposed to Jane. and a crucial scene in “Persuasion” takes place in Lyme.However.Many years later. and it was while on one of those holidays that Jane Austen's most mysterious romantic incident occurred. where she attended plays and such. in which she probably would have alluded to these incidents.2: Social interactions Jane Austen enjoyed social events. Jane Austen never married. A more clearly-known incident occurred on December 1802. none of Jane Austen's letters to Cassandra from June 1801 to August 1804. There is little solid evidence of any serious courtships with men. west of Lyme). shortly afterwards they instead heard of his death! There is no evidence as to how seriously this disappointment affected Jane Austen. but a number of people have wondered whether or not Jane Austen's 1817 novel “Persuasion” might not reflect this experience to some degree. years after Jane Austen's death.

Jane Austen published four of the novels in her lifetime. The book was a success. the novel deals with the misjudgments that often occur at the beginning of an acquaintance and how those misjudgments can change as individuals learn more about each other. and her practical older sister Elinor copes with the family's financial problems while hiding her own frustrated romantic hopes.1: Novels published during life Three of Jane Austen's six novels were written. and the two others were published together soon after her death in 1817. before 1800. identifying her as the author for the first time).Chapter 2: Creative period 2. Originally entitled “First Impressions”. and receives considerable attention from 6 . Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman. education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. a 1995 movie adapted by Emma Thompson and directed by Ang Lee. “Sense and Sensibility” was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be published. upbringing. it retains a fascination for modern readers. continuing near the top of lists of 'most loved books'. The title page said that it was written "By a Lady". including a 1981 serial for TV directed by Rodney Bennett. She began to write it sometime around 1797. at least in their first versions. It is probably the most-read of all of Jane Austen's novels and is a popular favorite among many. and she worked on it for many years before its publication in 1811. Her various minor works were not fully published until the 20th century. and only her immediate family knew that Jane Austen was the author. morality. and it even earned a profit! The book has been adapted for film and television a number of times. none of the books had her name on the title page (though the two posthumous works were published together with a short biographical preface by her brother Henry. Impetuous Marianne Dashwood tumbles into a fairytale romance that goes sour. Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century. “Pride and Prejudice” was first written in the late 1700's. and a 2008 TV series on BBC adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by John Alexander. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners. a version in Tamil called Kandukondain Kandukondain released in 2000. then rewritten in 1811-1812 and finally published in early 1813. while the other three were not started until after “Sense and Sensibility” was accepted for publication in 1811.

During her lifetime." Emma. and the 7 . Jane's funeral was held in Winchester Cathedral and she was buried in the north aisle. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. handsome. and rich. the sweetness of her temper. Just as her novels were published anonymously. 1817 at Winchester. formerly Rector of Steventon in this County. 1814. at Mansfield Park. youngest daughter of the late Revd GEORGE AUSTEN. He is also the most virtuous of the siblings: Maria and Julia are vain and spoiled. only Edmund shows his real kindness. Austen wrote. Maria Bertram and Julia. Before she began the novel. To date. “Emma” was written in 1814-1815. raised by her rich uncle and aunt. from the education of children. Austen took the suggestion as it was intended-as a commandand “Emma” was thus dedicated. while Tom is an irresponsible gambler. "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like. to the differences between appearances and reality. clever. it was attributed only to “The author of” Sense and Sensibility” and” Pride and Prejudice”. Over time. aged 41. Fanny Price. the book has sold about 20 million copies worldwide “Mansfield Park” was written between February. it was suggested to her by a member of the Prince Regents' household that she dedicates it to His Royal Highness. but the dedication itself is rather slyly worded."] In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse. Fanny's gratitude for Edmund's kindness secretly grows into romantic love which finally results in marriage. and while Jane Austen was writing it. “Emma” deals with a young woman's maturation into adulthood and the trouble she gets herself into along the way. is also rather spoiled. however. and she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives and is often mistaken about the meanings of others' actions. Edmund Bertram. 1811 and the summer of 1813. the symptoms seem to suggest that she may have been affected by Addison's disease. the inscription on her tomb makes no mention of her literary talents: “In Memory of JANE AUSTEN. The benevolence of her heart. she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities. She grows up with her four cousins.literary scholars. She departed this Life on the 18th of July 1817. but is always treated inferior to them. It was the third novel Jane Austen had published and it first appeared on May 4. The main character. after a long illness supported with the patience and the hopes of a Christian. 2.2: Works published after death Jane Austen died on July 18. is a young girl from a relatively poor family. and the author's identity was unknown beyond her family and friends. Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. Tom Bertram. Although the cause of her final illness is not known for certain. It is Jane Austen's most complex novel and deals with many different themes.

and renamed it “Persuasion”. and all three volumes in 1954 as “Jane’s Minor Works” .extraordinary endowments of her mind obtained the regard of all who knew her and the warmest love of her intimate connections. and plays into numerous 3-volume notebooks that were distributed to family members. In his biographical note. Volume the Second of the “Juvenilia” was first printed. The book was published in December 1817 with the new ending. histories. was written in 1798-1799. Henry finally got it back from the publisher in 1816. but in their deepest affliction they are consoled by a firm though humble hope that her charity. her brother Henry identified Jane publicly for the first time as the author of her first four published novels. since a book entitled “Susan” had already been published. she described it in a letter as "something ready for publication". her last novel in 1816. but she did not have enough money to repurchase it. In 1809. The firm allowed the manuscript to languish on its shelves for six years.but it remained unfinished. 8 . Henry. The book. Between 1793 and 1794 she began the first draft of a novel entitled “Susan”. It was offered for publication in 1803 and purchased for £10 by Crosby and Company. Jane Austen worked on the first draft of “Sanditon”. Jane renamed the book ”Catherine”. In March of 1816. they know their loss to be irreparable.” After Jane's death. Henry retitled the book to “Northanger Abbey” and published it along with “Persuasion”. Jane fell ill and she stopped working on it. Their grief is in proportion to their affection. When Jane began a new novel in the summer of 1815. recalled that she decided to write professionally in 1789. Jane replaced her first version of the last two chapters of “The Elliots” with a newer. In 1922. more successful ending. Over her lifetime she frequently copied these early stories. her brother. While writing the novel. Jane Austen wrote between 1787-1793 short pieces in a collection known as the “Juvenilia”. The fragment was published in 1871 as “The last Work”. a parody of the gothic novel. faith and purity have rendered her soul acceptable in the sight of her REDEEMER. devotion. or 13 years after it was first published. she named it “The Elliots”. Jane Austen unsuccessfully tried to get the manuscript back from the publisher. After Jane's death in 1817.

and an analogue for the simpler. 9 . Jane Austen was a strong woman in a world that needed changes. economically uncertain. with an unfathomable world. But human emotions are the same whether they are played out in exotic locations or in a country village. when vast social changes were already encroaching on the way of life she so loved and rendered with such exquisite artistry. The truth of the description and the sentiment: this is what connects us with her works and surely why we continue to read them and to wish there were more. technologically complex. Austen wrote her books at the dawn of the nineteenth century. itself passing quickly away into history. Like most of her characters. The time in which Jane Austen wrote her novels was a period of great stability just about to give way to a time of unimagined changes. more circumscribed world of our own childhoods. but unlike her heroines who in the end find their happiness. While writing this Atestat Paper I reached the conclusion that circumstances play a more important role than intention in a human’s life. We read her books today on the cusp of a new century. one globally interconnected. she was hardly ever happy. insular society the same peace and pleasure she found there. even if not in appeal.Conclusion Because Jane Austen does not deal with adventure and action in exotic places. Perhaps we find on Austen's rural estates and in her charming. but exclusively with the ‘ 3 or 4 families in a country village’ which she once described as the perfect subject for a novelist – it is sometimes asserted that her works are limited in scope.

Jane Austen and the Fiction of Her Time. Janet Todd. Mary Lascelles. Barnes & Noble. Margaret Anne Doody and Douglas Murray. 1975 2. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Catharine and Other Writings. 1926 6. Jane Austen. A Memoir of Jane Austen. 1870-1940 11. NJ: Prentice Hall. Jane Austen in Context 1970 10 . Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Jane Austen and Her Art. Critical Responses. Englewood Cliffs. Southam. 1817 4. "Biographical Notice of the Author". Oxford University Press. Original publication 1939 10. Mary Waldron. Honan Trott. Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. 1983 8. Ed. Jan Fergus. James Edward Austen-Leigh. John Murray. Criticism.Bibliography 1. Cambridge University Press. 1999 9. Jane Austen In Context. 2005 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1963 5. Jane Austen and the Didactic Novel. Henry Thomas Austen. 1993 3. The Jane Austen Companion.