“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
– Jane Austen
About Jane Austen
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. While not widely known in her own time, Austen’s comic novels of love among the landed gentry gained popularity after 1869, and her reputation skyrocketed in the 20th century. Her novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, are considered literary classics, bridging the gap between romance and realism.
While the literary art of Jane Austen is remarkable, the facts of her biography, at first glance, are not. The contrast has long intrigued Austen readers and scholars, and interest in her life is today almost as keen as interest in her works. Dating back to her own time, when Austen’s first four novels were published anonymously, sources of information about her life still exist — some of her letters (those her sister Cassandra did not destroy after her death), and A Memoir of Jane Austen, written by her nephew J.E. Austen-Leigh in 1869. These sources reveal that Austen did lead the quiet life of an unmarried clergyman’s daughter. She found early encouragement for her art within her family circle, and a starting point for her novels in her personal and family history.
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JASNA Utah Region Committee
Jennifer del Rosario Reid