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Jane Austen was a Georgian era author, best known for her social commentary in novels including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma.
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Jane Austen led a life filled with both love and heartbreak.
Only after her death was Jane's identity revealed to the public by her brother.
Jane Austen's first work was a great success, but it was published anonymously.
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She began drafts of First Impressions, which would later be published as Pride and Prejudice, and Susan, later published as Northanger Abbey by Jane's brother, Henry, following Jane's death.
In 1801, Jane moved to Bath with her father, mother and Cassandra. Then, in 1805, her father died after a short illness. As a result, the family was thrust into financial straits; the three women moved from place to place,
skipping between the homes of various family members to rented flats. It was not until 1809 that they were able to settle into a stable living situation at Jane's brother Edward's cottage in Chawton.
Now in her 30s, Jane started to anonymously publish her works. In the period spanning 1811-16, she pseudonymously published Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (a work she referred to as her "darling child," which also received critical acclaim), Mansfield Park and Emma.
In 1816, at the age of 41, Jane started to become ill with what some say might have been Addison's disease. She made impressive efforts to continue working at a normal pace, editing older works as well as starting a new novel called The Brothers, which would be published after her death as Sandition. At some point, Jane's condition deteriorated to such a degree that she ceased writing. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, Hampshire, England.
While Austen received some accolades for her works while still alive, with her first three novels garnering critical attention and increasing financial reward, it was not until after her death that her brother Henry revealed to the public that she was an author.
Today, Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English history, both by academics and the general public. In 2002, as part of a BBC poll, the British public voted her No. 70 on a list of "100 Most Famous Britons of All Time." Austen's transformation from little-known to internationally renowned author began in the 1920s, when scholars began to recognize her works as masterpieces, thus increasing her general popularity. The Janeites, a Jane Austen fan club, eventually began to take on wider significance, similar to the Trekkie phenomenon that characterizes fans of the Star Trek franchise. The popularity of her work is also evident in the many film and TV adaptations of Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as the TV series and film Clueless, which was based on Emma.
Austen was in the worldwide news in 2007, when author David Lassman submitted to several publishing houses a few of her manuscripts with slight revisions under a different name, and they were routinely rejected. He chronicled the experience in an article titled "Rejecting Jane," a fitting tribute to an author who could appreciate humor and wit.
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