Today is 238th birth anniversary of Jane Austen, one of the most celebrated and widely read authors of English literature. Born on December 16, 1775, Austen was the seventh of the eight children of the rector of Steventor, Hampshire. She lived her entire life as a part of a supportive family that let her to learn the custom and the lifestyle of the middle class, upper class and the gentry. At a very early age she started writing stories, sketches and satires of the most acclaimed novels for her family’s entertainment.
Though the realm of Austen’s works was as circumscribed as her life, her biting irony, social commentary and keen observation made her equal of one of a handful of authors who have found enduring fame with both popular and academic readers. She was known for addressing the issues of class-consciousness and gender politics through her well-plotted characters and storyline. On her birthday, let’ remember this legendary soul through the works of literature. Here we have compiled the most popular major and minor works of Jane Austen, dating from her early life to the last incomplete works of her later years.
She earned a huge fame as a published writer with her four major works:
Sense and Sensibility (1811):
Though Sense and Sensibility was not the first novel written by Jane Austen, it was the first published novel in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady”. Set in the Southwest England, this novel revolves around the dreams, love, romance, desires and deeds of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne.
Pride and Prejudice (1813):
Sold more than 20 Million copies all over the world to date, this is one of the most popular published works in English literature. A romantic novel set in the early 1800′s, Pride and Prejudice was initially entitled “First Impressions.” This much admired love story centers on the main protagonist Elizabeth Bennet who deals with the issues of family, education, women, class-distinctions, manners, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England.
Mansfield Park (1814):
Written at Chawton Cottage between 1812 and 1814, Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound. After undergoing several revisions and corrections, the novel was finally published in May 1814 by Thomas Egerton.
A well written and an enormously funny Jane Austen’s novel Emma explores the concerns and intricacies of well-intentioned women living in 19th-century English village. Her finely drawn personalities along with a lively comedy of provincial manners make this one of Jane Austen’s finest novels.
These two additional novels were published posthumously in 1818:
Northanger Abbey (1817):
One of Jane Austen’s earliest novels, Northanger Abbey was brought out posthumously in late 1818. Of all her highly acclaimed novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. The novel concerns over the matters of courtship and marriage. Throughout the novel, Austen elaborates the economic importance of marriage: in 18th century England, fortunes were built through family alliances.
Published in 1818, this is the last finished novel by Jane Austen. Set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which the author was well acquainted, this novel chronicles the story of the Austen’s most appealing heroine Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and their meeting after years of separation; Anne declined the proposal of Captain in order to satisfy familial and social duties.
The Watsons (1803, 1805):
The Watsons is an uncompleted novel by Jane Austen. Jane started penning down this novel circa 1803 and probably stopped writing it after her father’s death in January 1805. Austen’s niece, Catherine Hubback completed this untitled and unfinished manuscript in the mid 19th century. Catherine gave the title Younger sister to this approximately 18000 words long novel.
Austen began writing this book on the 17th January 1817 and abandoned it on 18th March 1817. This is the last unfinished novel by Jane Austen set in a newly established seaside resort, offers a wonderful cast of speculators, and presents an author considering the great social commotions of the industrial revolution with a blend of skepticism and delight. The original title of the manuscript was “The Brothers” likely after the Parker brothers in the story. Later, after the death of Jane Austen, her family renamed it “Sanditon”. The original manuscript includes only the first eleven chapters of the story.
Lady Susan (1794, 1805):
Lady Susan is a short epistolary novel by Jane Austen depicts the behavior of the main protagonist- the widowed Lady Susan- who engages in affairs and seeks a new suitable husband for herself, and one for her younger daughter. This novel was possibly written in 1794 but the author never submitted it for publication.
Happy 238th Birthday, Jane Austen! On this special day we remember one of the most beloved writers of all time with all our heartwarming wishes.