Jane Austen

Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 – July 18, 1817), the renowned British author, led a writing life of the inimitable artist. Despite the popular portrayal of her as all charm and modesty, she was a writer and observer with full mastery of her gifts. She cared deeply about getting published and being read, despite myths to the contrary.

Born in Steventon, Hampshire (England), Austen was part of a convivial middle-class family consisting of five brothers and an elder sister, Cassandra, with whom she was very close. The Austen family valued education and sent the two girls briefly to boarding school in addition to receiving further education at home.

Austen’s talent was recognized early on and taken seriously by her entire family. The male members of her family, particularly her father (George Austen, a country rector), played key roles in getting her works published. Austen longed to see her work in print, regardless of whether or not it would gain her fame or fortune — but getting it published was important to her, contrary to the myth about her extreme modesty.

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Jane Austen
Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Unsuccessful First Attempts at Publication
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In pursuit of publication

Her father and brothers took it upon themselves to seek publication for Jane’s first works, and it wasn’t easy. It was clear that she didn’t write merely for her own amusement, but was deeply invested in having her work published and read. An avid reader herself, she was aware of contemporary authors, and took for role models Maria Edgeworth, Read More→