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Jane Austen's Life and Work

The purpose of this research is to examine the life and work of Jane Austen. The plan of the research will be to set forth the main known features of Austen's life, and then to discuss the manner in which her fiction reflects her life experience and how her patterning of ideas, events, and human behavior reflects a narrative strategy embedded with a distinctive moral vision and world view.

The fact that Jane Austen was daughter of a clergyman and lived a comfortably genteel life in the bosom of home and family is well known. Her popular literary reputation as a comic genius and great novelist derives from keen observation of and realistic insight into the personalities and problems of people who functioned in and around the more or less limited social environment of genteel Regency society with which she was intimately familiar. Mercer characterizes Austen's life as "uneventful, placid, and circumscribed," though the evidence of her novels is that she was "highly sensitive to what went on around her" (Mercer 1). Mercer explains that Austen, an exact contemporary of such personages as Napoleon and the whole raft of personalities around the American and French Revolutions, was undoubtedly aware of, though not a direct participant in, the social ferment in early nineteenth-century Europe: "But as middle-class women's lives go, even down to our own day, hers was not limited. . . . She was at home in a world by no means provincial" (Mercer 308-9). Bush cites a letter by Jane to her elder sister Cassandra describing her deliberate omission from Pride and Prejudice of extraneous authorial commentary on current events of the day such as "the history of Buonaparte" (Bush 102).

The point to be derived from this description of Austen's life, which is not unlike other, similar descriptions (e.g., by Hough, Allen, and Bush) is that understanding of the wider world undoubtedly informed her literary output. But that does not mean that the grand...

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Jane Austen's Life and Work. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:05, June 19, 2019, from