Jane Austen was an English novelist whose books, set among the English middle and upper classes, are notable for their wit, social observation and insights into the lives of early 19th century women.
Jane Austen was
born on 16th December 1775 in the
She was educated at home by her father and irregularly at school, but she received a broader education than many women of her time Immediately showed an interest in literature. Austen's own favorite poet was Cowper. She began to write as a teenager, for family amusement. From 1787 she produced a large output of prose and between 1795 and 1796, she completly "Elionor and Marianne" which would become "Sense and Sensibility."
In 1801 the family moved to
Infact in 1816, Jane began to suffer from
ill-health, probably due to Addison's disease. She travelled to
Jane Austen wrote her novels in the romantic period, but she isn't at all romantic, in fact her concepts are more associated to classicism. She detested gothic fictions so she was able to elaborate a personal and original style.
In particular she deals with love in a very classical way, without romance, she uses a simple language and the characters are round characters, while in gothic they were flat.
Jane Austen's novels described scenes as three
of four families in a country village. Her novel are set
in the provincial world of
She can be considered as forerunner of psychoanalytic analysis because of her interest into self-awareness. We can see this aspect in her works where the main characters make a process of grow and development during the course of the novel so at the end of a novel it is impossible see the same character we have seen at its beginning.
characterized by the age, income, marital situation and prospect and social
position. With irony, wit and keen she explores human emotion and behaviour.
This was the world which characterized
DIALOGUE AND IRONY:
Austen's descriptions of life depend on dialogue and irony. It does not illustrate a moral. She uses an omniscient third-person narrator. Her irony is always gentle, expressed in nicely balanced and acute observation. Jane Austen smiles gently at human fragilities. From a stylistically point of view we can say that she makes a frequent use of irony which permits her to critic the aspects of society she hates.
NOVEL OF MANNERS:
Jane Austen contributed to what has been called as the NOVEL OF MANNERS, a kind of fiction focused on everyday routine life and events.
Her novels are based on the premise that there is a vital relationship between manners, social behaviour and character. They are usually set in those levels of society where people do not ha-
ve to struggle for survival and where they are free to develop more or less elaborate RULES, CODES and CONVENTIONS of daily behaviour. Given this kind of situation, the novel of
manners explores character, personal relationships, class distinctions and their effect on cha-
racter and behaviour; the role of MONEY and PROPERTY in the way people treat each other;
the complications of LOVE and FRIENDSHIP within this social world. CONVERSATION plays a central role in these novels and PASSIONS and EMOTIONS are not expressed directly but mo-
re subtly and obliquely.
Her novels also focus on the issue of gaining a suitable marriage. Marriage was a big issue facing women and men of her time; often financial considerations were paramount in deciding marriages. As an author, Jane used to satirise these financial motivations, for example, in Pride and Prejudice the mother is ridiculed for her ambitions to marry her daughters for maximum financial remuneration. Jane, herself remained single throughout her life. Very little we know about his sentimental life. Maybe, she had a romantic love story with a young man Tom Lefroy, who had no money, but he was compelled to go abroad to seek fortune. This experience inspired the story of Ann Elliot in Persuasion.
The strength of Jane's novels was her ability to gain penetrating insights into the character and nature of human relationships, from even a fairly limited range of environments and characters. In particular, she helped to redefine the role and aspirations of middle class women like herself. Through providing a witty satire of social conventions, she helped to liberate contemporary ideas of what women could strive for. He soon developed the qualities of a keen observer of human society: she possessed a great ability to read right inside people. With irony, she explores human emotion and behaviour.
The DEBT to the 18th century NOVEL:
Jane Austen owes much to the 18th century novelists:
from Richardson and the epistolary novel she learned the endless possibilities offered by the insight into the psychology of the characters and the subtleties of the ordinary events of life, like balls, walks, tea-parties and visits to friends and neighbours;
from Fielding she derived the OMNISCIENT NARRATOR and the technique of bringing the character into existence through dialogue.
Unlike the Augustan writers, however, she restricted her view to the world of the COUNTRY GENTRY she knew best.
The traditional values of the families of the landed gentry and upper middle class ( PROPERTY, DECORUM, MONEY and MARRIAGE ) provided the basis of the plots and settings of her novels.
Jane Austen's preoccupation was with people, and the analysis of character and conduct. She remai-ned committed to the common sense and moral principles of the previous generation but checked
them through her own direct observation and spontaneous feeling.
Her work is amusing and, at the same time, deals with the serious matters of LOVE, MARRIAGE and PARENTHOOD. The happy ending is a common element to her novels: they all end in the marriage of hero and heroine. What makes them interesting is the concentration on the steps through which the protagonists successfully reach this stage in their lives.
The author treats love and sexual attraction according to her general view that strong impulses and intensely emotional states should be regulated, CONTROLLED and BROUGHT TO ORDER by private reflection, not in favour of some abstract standard of reason but to fulfill a social obligation.
The heroine's reflection after a crisis or climax is a usual feature of J. Austen's novels because understanding and coming to terms with her private feelings allows her personal judgement to establish itself and secures her own moral autonomy.
Women weren't great considered by the people, and when
Because of the rigid divisions between classes women could climb the social ladder only with the marriage.
Women hadn't the same rights of men, if a father had a propriety, he would not leave it to his daughter but only to his sons, and if he had no male children, he would have to leave it to the closer male heir.
A woman who didn't get married would have a bad future.
In the upper middle class mothers had an important rule in their families; they had to give a good education to their children and to search a good husband for their daughters (in Pride and Prejudice Mrs. Bennet was worried about his sons- in- low, also because his daughters couldn't receive their father propriety because all of them was females). They also decided where her children had to study and what, they choose the most prestigious university.
They used to write letters, diaries; to read a lot of books, to sing, to make philanthropy and to organize party.
Women of the upper class didn't want to change the lows but they believed in the personal help for poor people.
In the lower middle class also women had to work hardly, so they had no time to take care of their children.
The story follows the
main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of
manners, upbringing, moral rightness, education and marriage in her
aristocratic society of early 19th century England.
2) The story revolves around Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne find a balance between sense (or pure logic) and sensibility (or pure emotion) in life and love.
3) Northanger Abbey follows seventeen-year-old
Gothic novel aficionado Catherine Morland and family friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen
as they visit Bath, England.
Catherine is in
4) The main character, Fanny Price,
is a young girl from a relatively poor family, raised by her rich uncle and
aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, at
5) Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; and she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives and is often mistaken about the meanings of others' actions.
6) More than seven years prior to the events in the novel, Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome young naval officer named Frederick Wentworth, who is intelligent and ambitious, but poor. Anne's father and her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's deceased mother, persuade her to break off the match. Now, aged 27 and still unmarried, Anne re-encounters her former fiancé. However, he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection of him.
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