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Jane Austen's Life & Emma

In the novel Emma by Jane Austen, the main character of the same name is a young woman who can be considered a precursor of the modern feminist heroine. From the beginning of the novel, she stands as a strong woman fulfilling her role as mistress of her house and her life. It is not surprising that this character would attract the attention of a rising actress like Gwyneth Paltrow or that the strength of the character would be seen as speaking directly to contemporary generations so that a film of the novel would be made. Actually, this was the second film to be made from Emma within a year, the first being set in contemporary Beverly Hills, while the 1996 version called Emma recreated the period while still imposing a somewhat different sensibility on the original material.

Jane Austen led a relatively short life, and she was born in 1775 and died in 1817. She lived during the reign of George III, which was also the beginning of the transitional period between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and an era in which industrialization in Britain began. The move to an industrial society brought change, but it was not change that had yet reached the country life in the south of England, the life written about by Austen. This was also a period in which religion spread through the Wesleyan movement, and in political terms, it was an era of revolution--the American revolution in 1776, the French Revolution in 1789, and wars between England and France from 1793 to 1815. Many of these events and their consequences are reflected in Austen's novels (Sherry 10-11).

Austen was born December 16, 1775 at Steventon in north Hampshire and lived there for her first 25 years. She was the seventh child and second daughter of Rev. George Austen, who was a Scholar and Fellow at St. John's College, Oxford and, after 1761, the rector of the parish of Steventon. Jane was part of a large family, first because of her brothers and sister,...

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Jane Austen's Life & Emma. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:23, June 26, 2019, from