Persuasion (1817) is the last novel that beloved British author Jane Austen completed. It was published six months after her death. It may well be Austen’s most romantic story, and yet, as with her other works, it’s far from frivolous, exploring themes of lost love, missed opportunity, heartbreak, and becoming one’s own person.
Anne Elliot, who is twenty-seven when the story begins, is a member of a family who suffers the indignity of having to lower their status as a way to get out of debt. At twenty-seven, a woman of that time would have been considered far from the bloom of youth. Read More→
Northanger Abbey was actually the first novel that Jane Austen completed with the hopes of publication, in 1803. It was first titled Susan and she sold the copyright to a London publisher for a pittance. The publisher held on to it without going to print. It was tied up until 1816 when Jane’s brother Henry managed to buy it back.
Jane spent some time revising the original, renaming her heroine Catherine, but by the time it was published in 1817, she died. That year, another of her novels, Persuasion, was published as well. Northanger Abbey is considered a coming-of-age novel in which Catherine Morland, the young and rather naïve heroine, learns the ways of the world. Read More→
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814) is the third published novel by the esteemed British author. It’s the story of Fanny Price, who is sent by her impoverished family to be raised in the household of a wealthy aunt and uncle. The narrative follows her into adulthood and comments on class, family ties, marriage, the status of women, and even British colonialism.
The novel went through two editions before Austen’s death in 1817, but didn’t receive any public reviews until 1821. Critical reception for this novel, from that time forward, has been the most mixed among Austen’s works, and it’s considered her most controversial. Read More→
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), the beloved British author, was deeply invested in her craft as a wordsmith. Her talent was recognized early on and valued by her family.
Jane’s father, a country rector, and her brothers played key roles in getting her works published at a time when it was considered unseemly for women to put themselves forth in business.
She 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. Read More→
Frances Ellen Watkins ( 1825 – 1911), later known as Frances Watkins Harper or Frances E.W. Harper, built her reputation on her various talents, including fiction, essays, poetry, and public speaking. One of America’s first and most successful African-American authors, she was also an active abolitionist, feminist, and conductor on the Underground Railroad.
She launched her writing career in the late 1830s by publishing essays in antislavery journals. At age twenty, her first collection of poems, Autumn Leaves, was published in 1845. She was the first black author to have a short story published (“The Two Offers”) and one of the first to publish a novel (Iola Leroy, 1892). Read More→