Jane Austen was born on 16th December 1775 and died on 18th July 1817 at the age of 41. She is considered to be among the world’s greatest novelists and she is mainly known for her six major novels which portray the British manners, customs, and beliefs of landowners near the end of the 18th century. Austen’s most well-read books were a commercial success and they include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion (Byrne 3). Austen’s works contained unique descriptions of the commonplace and seemingly subtle realities of life. She also wrote poems and stories for her family when she was younger, and these works were caricatures and exaggerations about daily life, illicit behavior, and radical ideas about female power (Todd 4). Her style of writing was unique at the time and it helped her to create works that are now appreciated all over the world.
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Austen initially received many recommendations that she should write about romance instead of fiction when she was starting her career. This is because at the time, her type of writing was considered to be the least respectable class of literature, and fiction written by women was perceived to be of even lower value (Byrne 20). Society deemed novels as idle and corruptive entertainment, and yet many educated women of the time used novel writing as an avenue to earn money and to be able to work while remaining with their families. Now, most literary critics cannot analyze contemporary novels without giving Austen credit for her contribution to this art form.
The author’s centrality in literature is well established and she was ahead of her time in terms of prose and structural diversity. She used irony in her novels, humor, a sense of practicality, and easily engaged in the social commentary to create entertaining works which earned her acclaim among various audiences (Looser 2). Austen subtly used free indirect discourse as a style of third-person narrative to allow readers to see how events from a character’s perspective are interwoven with the story’s narrator. This is now used as a common literary tool in modern fiction but it was largely unrecognized during her time when she started using it. Her writing style formed the foundation for the movement of literary realism, which became popular in the middle of the 19th century and was adopted by writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Leo Tolstoy, among others. Because her contributions have been so widely adopted by other writers, it has become easy to forget how innovative her work was at the time.
Austen has inspired many different types of artworks that are in use in modern society. Many critical essays and literary anthologies have been developed from her works, and there are films adapted from her novels (Byrne 242). Some of her characters from Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility have become the romantic equivalents of modern film genres which cater specifically to women’s interests. Centuries after her death, Jane Austen’s words and authoritative works are still relevant in modern culture.
Austen was among the most intellectual, brilliant, and talented authors of her time. Even though her works were published posthumously and gave her little personal recognition during her time, she paved the way for modern authors by creating a literary style that was widely adopted by a later generation of authors. She left an indelible mark on the literary world, and her novels are still used in academic discourse, with scholars analyzing them and making comparisons with current authors. Consequently, Austen’s accomplishments as a writer have helped to shape modern fiction and they demonstrate that high-quality writing skills can create change in society.
Byrne, Sandie. Jane Austen. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2004.
Looser, Devoney. The Making of Jane Austen. JHU Press, 2017.
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Todd, Janet. The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen. Cambridge University Press, 2015.