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Strictly Jane Austen | Resources on Her Life & Works

Updated on September 20, 2013

The Life & Works of Jane Austen - English Author

Jane Austen is loved and noted for her witty observations of 19th-century English society. Her works combine romantic comedy with social satire and keen personal insight. With an ever-growing fan base, Jane Austen's novels have also been interpreted into several film versions. Presented here is free access to all of Jane Austen's works and several biographies, as well as a selection of commercial versions and other items of interest to Jane Austen fans.

Brief Chronology of Jane Austen's Life

1775, Dec. 16 Birth, at Steventon.

1779, June Charles John Austen born.

1780, July James Austen matriculated at Oxford (St. John's).

1782 Jane and Cassandra at Oxford under care of Mrs. Cawley (sister of Dr. Cooper).

1783 Mrs. Cawley having moved to Southampton, Jane nearly died there of a fever.

Mrs. Cooper (her aunt) took the infection and died (October).

1784 The Rivals acted at Steventon.

1784 or 1785 Jane and Cassandra left Mrs. Latournelle's school at Reading, and returned home.

1786 Eliza Comtesse de Feuillide came to England.

Birth of her son.

1787 James Austen in France.

1788, July Henry Austen matriculated at Oxford (St. John's). Francis Austen went to sea.

1791 Edward Austen married Elizabeth Bridges.

1792, March James Austen married Anne Mathew.

1794, Feb. Comte de Feuillide guillotined.

1795 Cassandra engaged to Thomas Fowle. May Mrs. James Austen died.

1795-6 Mr. Tom Lefroy at Ashe.

1796 First Impressions (Pride and Prejudice) begun. Jane subscribed to Camilla.

1797, Jan. James Austen married Mary Lloyd.

Feb. Thomas Fowle died of fever in the W. Indies.

Nov. Jane, with mother and sister, went to Bath.

First Impressions refused by Cadell.

Sense and Sensibility (already sketched in Elinor and Marianne) begun.

Dec. Henry Austen married Eliza de Feuillide.

1798, Aug. Lady Williams (Jane Cooper) killed in a carriage accident. Mrs. Knight gave up Godmersham to the Edward Austens. Jane's first visit there. First draft of Northanger Abbey begun.

1799, May Jane at Bath with the Edward Austens. Aug. Mrs. Leigh Perrot's trouble at Bath.

1801, May Family move from Steventon to Bath. Visit to Sidmouth. Possible date of Jane's romance in the west of England.

1802 Austens at Dawlish and Teignmouth.

Visit of sisters to Steventon and Manydown.

Jane received an offer of marriage from an old friend.

1803 Northanger Abbey (called Susan) revised, and sold to Crosby of London.

1804 Probable date of The Watsons. Sept. Austens at Lyme. Dec. Mrs. Lefroy of Ashe killed by a fall from her horse.

1805, Jan. Death of Jane's father at Bath.

1806, July Austens left Bath for Clifton, Adlestrop, and Stoneleigh.

1806 -7 Austens settled at Southampton.

1807, March Took possession of house in Castle Square.

1808, Sept. Cassandra at Godmersham. Oct. Mrs. Edward Austen died there after the birth of her eleventh child (John).

1809, April Jane attempted to secure publication of Lady Susan (Northanger Abbey). Austens left Southampton. July Austens took possession of Chawton (having been at Godmersham).

Jane's authorship resumed.

1811, April Jane with Henry in London (Sloane Street) bringing out Sense and Sensibility.

Oct. Sense and Sensibility published.

1812 Death of Mrs. T. Knight. Edward Austen took the name of 'Knight.'

1813, Jan. Publication of Pride and Prejudice. April Death of Mrs. Henry Austen (Eliza). Sept. Jane's last visit to Godmersham.

Second edition of Sense and Sensibility.

1814, Jan. Emma begun. March Jane went to London with Henry (reading Mansfield Park by the way). May Mansfield Park published. Threat of lawsuit for Chawton. Nov. Marriage of Anna Austen to Ben Lefroy.

1815, March Emma finished. Oct. Illness of Henry. Nov. Jane shown over Carlton House by Dr. Clarke. Dec. Publication of Emma.

1816, March Bankruptcy of Henry Austen (Jane's health began to break about this time).

May Jane and Cassandra at Kintbury and Cheltenham.

July Persuasion finished. Aug. End of Persuasion re-written. Henry took Orders.

1817, Jan. Jane began new work. March Ceased to write. Death of Mr. Leigh Perrot. Jane made her will. May 24 Jane moved to Winchester, and revived somewhat. June 16 Cassandra sent a hopeless account to Fanny Knight. July 18 Death.

July 24 Burial in Winchester Cathedral.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters

A FAMILY RECORD by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh

At the end of the sixteenth century there was living at Horsmonden-a small village in the Weald of Kent-a certain John Austen. From his will it is evident that he was a man of considerable means, owning property in Kent and Sussex and elsewhere; he also held a lease of certain lands from Sir Henry Whetenhall, including in all probability the manor house of Broadford in Horsmonden. What wealth he had was doubtless derived from the clothing trade; for Hasted[4] instances the Austens, together with the Bathursts, Courthopes, and others, as some of the ancient families of that part 'now of large estate and genteel rank in life,' but sprung from ancestors who had used the great staple manufacture of clothing. He adds that these clothiers 'were usually called the Gray Coats of Kent, and were a body so numerous that at County Elections whoever had their vote and interest was almost certain of being elected.' For access to the entire text of this 1913 publication.

Jane Austen Collection (Sense & Sensibility / Emma / Persuasion / Mansfield Park / Pride & Prejudice / Northanger Abbey)

Jane Austen Collection (Sense & Sensibility / Emma / Persuasion / Mansfield Park / Pride & Prejudice / Northanger Abbey)
Jane Austen Collection (Sense & Sensibility / Emma / Persuasion / Mansfield Park / Pride & Prejudice / Northanger Abbey)

A collection of made-for-TV movies based on the novels of Jane Austen.

Genre: Television: British Mystery/Dr

Rating: NR

Release Date: 24-AUG-2004

Media Type: DVD

 

A Memoir of Jane Austin

by James Edward Austen-Leigh

The Memoir of my Aunt, Jane Austen, has been received with more favour than I had ventured to expect. The notices taken of it in the periodical press, as well as letters addressed to me by many with whom I am not personally acquainted, show that an unabated interest is still taken in every particular that can be told about her. I am thus encouraged not only to offer a Second Edition of the Memoir, but also to enlarge it with some additional matter which I might have scrupled to intrude on the public if they had not thus seemed to call for it. In the present Edition, the narrative is somewhat enlarged, and a few more letters are added; with a short specimen of her childish stories. The cancelled chapter of 'Persuasion' is given, in compliance with wishes both publicly and privately expressed. A fragment of a story entitled 'The Watsons' is printed; p. iii and extracts are given from a novel which she had begun a few months before her death; but the chief addition is a short tale never before published, called 'Lady Susan.' {0a} I regret that the little which I have been able to add could not appear in my First Edition; as much of it was either unknown to me, or not at my command, when I first published; and I hope that I may claim some indulgent allowance for the difficulty of recovering little facts and feelings which had been merged half a century deep in oblivion.

~November 17, 1870.

For access to the entire text of this 1870 biography.

Jane Austen Biography

Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was the seventh child of eight, and her family was close, affectionate, and lively. She lived most of her life among the same kind of people about whom she wrote. Her lifelong companion and confidant was her older and only sister, Cassandra. Neither woman ever married, but dozens of relatives and friends widened Austen's social experiences beyond her immediate family. The Austens frequently staged amateur theatricals, and they were devoted readers of novels at a time when reading novels was regarded as a questionable activity. They also provided a delighted audience for Jane's youthful comic pieces, and later for her novels. Jane had almost no formal education, but she read extensively and critically. At age 13 she was already writing amusing and instructive parodies and variations on 18th-century literature-from sentimental novels to serious histories.

Two common themes . . .rest of biography. . .

The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen (Six Volume Set) (Hardcover)

The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen (Six Volume Set)
The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen (Six Volume Set)

R.W. Chapman's fine new edition has, among its other merits, the advantage of waking the Jane Austenite up.... The novels continue to live their own wonderful internal life...freshened and enriched by contact with the life of facts. His illustrations are beyond all praise."--E.M. Forster, Abinger Harvest. This beautiful set provides the definitive text of Austen's six great comic masterpieces and her minor works (the latter include three high-spirited efforts written at about age fifteen; a charming fragment, The Watsons, which has been thought to be a sketch for Emma; and a tantalizing fragment, Sanditon, written in the last year of her life). All six volumes feature splendid early 19th-century illustrations as well as Chapman's detailed explanatory notes. Chapman has collated all the editions published in the author's lifetime and previously unpublished manuscripts, establishing an authoritative text that retains the punctuation, the spelling, and division into volumes of the originals. In addition, at the end of each work he supplies notes on textual matters and appendixes on such matters as the modes of address, or characters, or carriages and travel, as these seem warranted by the text. Additional changes have been incorporated by Mary Lascelles.

 

Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics)

Pride and Prejudice Movie Trailer

Emma (Penguin Classics)

Emma (Penguin Classics)
Emma (Penguin Classics)

For Emma, raised to think well of herself, has such a high opinion of her own worth that it blinds her to the opinions of others. The story revolves around a comedy of errors: Emma befriends Harriet Smith, a young woman of unknown parentage, and attempts to remake her in her own image. Ignoring the gaping difference in their respective fortunes and stations in life, Emma convinces herself and her friend that Harriet should look as high as Emma herself might for a husband--and she zeroes in on an ambitious vicar as the perfect match. At the same time, she reads too much into a flirtation with Frank Churchill, the newly arrived son of family friends, and thoughtlessly starts a rumor about poor but beautiful Jane Fairfax, the beloved niece of two genteelly impoverished elderly ladies in the village. As Emma's fantastically misguided schemes threaten to surge out of control, the voice of reason is provided by Mr. Knightly, the Woodhouse's longtime friend and neighbor. Though Austen herself described Emma as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," she endowed her creation with enough charm to see her through her most egregious behavior, and the saving grace of being able to learn from her mistakes. By the end of the novel Harriet, Frank, and Jane are all properly accounted for, Emma is wiser (though certainly not sadder), and the reader has had the satisfaction of enjoying Jane Austen at the height of her powers. --Alix Wilber

 

Emma Movie Trailer

Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)

Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)
Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)

Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility is a wonderfully entertaining tale of flirtation and folly that revolves around two starkly different sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. While Elinor is thoughtful, considerate, and calm, her younger sister is emotional and wildly romantic. Both are looking for a husband, but neither Elinor’s reason nor Marianne’s passion can lead them to perfect happiness—as Marianne falls for an unscrupulous rascal and Elinor becomes attached to a man who’s already engaged.

Startling secrets, unexpected twists, and heartless betrayals interrupt the marriage games that follow. Filled with satiric wit and subtle characterizations, Sense and Sensibility teaches that true love requires a balance of reason and emotion.

 

Sense and Sensibility Movie Trailer

Persuasion (Penguin Classics)

Persuasion (Penguin Classics)
Persuasion (Penguin Classics)

Anne Elliot, heroine of Austen's last novel, did something we can all relate to: Long ago, she let the love of her life get away. In this case, she had allowed herself to be persuaded by a trusted family friend that the young man she loved wasn't an adequate match, social stationwise, and that Anne could do better. The novel opens some seven years after Anne sent her beau packing, and she's still alone. But then the guy she never stopped loving comes back from the sea. As always, Austen's storytelling is so confident, you can't help but allow yourself to be taken on the enjoyable journey.

 

Persuasion Movie Trailer

Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)

Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)
Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics)

From its sharply satiric opening sentence, Mansfield Park deals with money and marriage, and how strongly they affect each other. Shy, fragile Fanny Price is the consummate "poor relation." Sent to live with her wealthy uncle Thomas, she clashes with his spoiled, selfish daughters and falls in love with his son. Their lives are further complicated by the arrival of a pair of witty, sophisticated Londoners, whose flair for flirtation collides with the quiet, conservative country ways of Mansfield Park.

 

Mansfield Park Movie Trailer

Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics)

Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics)
Northanger Abbey (Penguin Classics)

Though Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen's earliest novels, it was not published until after her death--well after she'd established her reputation with works such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. Of all her novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. In it, Austen skewers the novelistic excesses of her day made popular in such 18th-century Gothic potboilers as Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho. Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers all figure into Northanger Abbey, but with a decidedly satirical twist. Consider Austen's introduction of her heroine: we are told on the very first page that "no one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine." The author goes on to explain that Miss Morland's father is a clergyman with "a considerable independence, besides two good livings--and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters." Furthermore, her mother does not die giving birth to her, and Catherine herself, far from engaging in "the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush" vastly prefers playing cricket with her brothers to any girlish pastimes.

Catherine grows up to be a passably pretty girl and is invited to spend a few weeks in Bath with a family friend. While there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor, who invite her to visit their family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Austen amuses herself and us as Catherine, a great reader of Gothic romances, allows her imagination to run wild, finding dreadful portents in the most wonderfully prosaic events. But Austen is after something more than mere parody; she uses her rapier wit to mock not only the essential silliness of "horrid" novels, but to expose the even more horrid workings of polite society, for nothing Catherine imagines could possibly rival the hypocrisy she experiences at the hands of her supposed friends. In many respects Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen's novels, yet at its core is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage, 19th-century British style. --Alix Wilber

 

Northanger Abbey Movie Trailer

Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Penguin Classics)

(Lady Susan / The Watsons / Sanditon)
(Lady Susan / The Watsons / Sanditon)

Sanditon might have been Austen’s greatest novel had she lived to finish it. Its subject matter astonishes: here is Austen observing the birth pangs of the culture of commerce, as her country-bred heroine, a foolish baronet, a family of hypochondriacs, and a mysterious West Indian heiress collide against the background hum of real-estate development at a seaside resort.

The Watsons, begun in 1804 but never completed, tells the story of a young woman who was raised by a rich aunt and who finds herself shipped back to the comparative poverty and social clumsiness of her own family.

The novella Lady Susan is a miniature masterpiece, featuring Austen’s only villainous protagonist. Lady Susan’s subtle, single-minded, and ruthless pursuit of power makes the reader regret that Austen never again wrote a novel with a scheming widow for its heroine.

 

Becoming Jane Movie Trailer

Jane Austen Note Cards (Cards)

Jane Austen Note Cards
Jane Austen Note Cards

Revive the lost art of letter-writing with a few well-worded sentiments by Jane Austen. Her refreshing take on love, life, and friendship is matched with period illustration on these beautifully designed cards.

16 cards, 4 designs, with 17 envelopes, 4 3/8 x 5 7/8 inches

 

Jane Austen Journal

Jane Austen Journal
Jane Austen Journal

Aspiring writers will find encouragement in the free-thinking attitude of Jane Austen. Her refreshing outlook abounds in a journal peppered with humorous pairings of illustrations and quotes from her novels.

160 pages (blank, lined), 5x7 in., elastic closure

 

Jane Austen Action Figure

Jane Austen Action Figure
Jane Austen Action Figure

Jane Austen, one of the greatest English novelists in history.

5.25 inch action figure doll comes with book, removable quill pen, and portable desk.

Pose her on your bookshelf next to your Jane Austen book collection

Or keep her on your desk for writing inspiration!

 

Jane Austen: Her Life (Hardcover)

Jane Austen: Her Life
Jane Austen: Her Life

With access to newly discovered Austen family manuscripts, Honan creates in rich detail contexts for Jane Austen's life: familial, political, historical. Yet the person at the center is curiously absent. Austen's letters are used to convey facts about her daily life without sympathetic probing. What underlines Honan's difficulty with realizing this woman's everyday identity is his suspicion of its significance. He stresses her connection to the activities of her male relatives, especially her naval brothers, as if that is what gives her, and her art, credence. But what makes a naval war importantly real, and those "three or four Families in a Country Village" a "near-vacuum"? A misleading approach to a brilliant woman who lived and wrote about the experience of most women throughout history: domestic life. Suzanne Juhasz, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

Madame Alexander Pride & Prejudice, Limited Edition 350 pieces, 10", Famous Authors Collection

Madame Alexander Pride & Prejudice, Limited Edition 350 pieces, 10", Famous Authors Collection
Madame Alexander Pride & Prejudice, Limited Edition 350 pieces, 10", Famous Authors Collection

This lovely doll is based on Jane Austin's most famous novel, pride and prejudice

She is wearing a period costume, with a pink brocade coat and white dress

She has lovely red curls beneath a straw hat tied at the chin

She is 10" tall, and is fully articulated

She a limited edition only 350 pieces

 

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    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      I love Jan Austen :) and the movies especially.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      Excellent lens.

      You have been Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Wonderful tribute to Jane Austen. Top notch research, top notch information, top notch resources and a top notch lens. Thanks for joining the Bookworms Group

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This lens is a contestant in the Bookworms May Award Contest (/squid-groups). You can vote for yourself! Best of luck

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 7 years ago from London, UK

      All things Jane Austen. I know someone who would like this lens and will email the link to her.

      You have been featured on 100 Lenses for my 100th Lens

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Excellent lens ... I'm featuring it on my Squid Angel Diary this week.

    • profile image

      EmmieAnna 7 years ago

      I found your lens by SuidAngel KimGiancaterino!

      I used to put on Jane Austen parties as a teen, it was so much fun! Your lens reminded me of those times. Excellent,excellent info!

    • MrDarcy LM profile image

      MrDarcy LM 7 years ago

      I took the liberty and added your lens to the Everything Jane Austen group. I hope you don't mind. Nice lens, 5* et al. :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Impossible not to be enchanted by Jane Austen and her works. You've certainly created an all-encompassing tribute to her here!

    • honeymishi07 profile image

      honeymishi07 6 years ago

      I absolutely love BBD dramas. One of my absolute favorites is Persuasion by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

      I made a lens on one of their wonderful works, hope you also check it out! Thanks! :D

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      I remember having to study Emma for the UK 'A' level exams. Jane Austin was an astute social observer

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This is a brilliant lens on Jane Austen, who spent time in Southampton, where we now live. The nearby Netley Abbey was supposedly the inspiration behind Northanger Abbey. Blessings coming your way, this is a great resource.

    • writergrey profile image

      writergrey 5 years ago

      A very nice Lens! And quite complete. {I particularly like the house model.)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I have read every published word of Jane Austen, including the unfinished works, and watched nearly every film adaptation. She's my hero! Enjoyed this lens very much.

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