Austen, Jane. (1775 - 1817).
W o r k
- concern: getting married = the central preoccupation for young leisure-class ladies with no other career than domesticity open to them
- characters: provincial English gentlefolk = a society defined in terms of land, money, and class
- form: intricate, spare, and ironic novel of manners = examines and criticises the values men and women live by in their everyday social lives
- untouched by the political, intellectual, and artistic revolutions of her age; conservative against the current radical enthusiasm
- realistic background: tests her female protagonists for the practical sense, moral integrity, and knowledge of the world and oneself
- obliges the reader to participate in the moral processes of disciplined learning and judging
- advocates the merits of good conduct, good manners, sound reason, and marriage as an admirable social institution
- never scorns love x but: demands the complementary qualities of self-knowledge, self-discipline, and practicality
=> all her protagonists are finally brought to mature judgement and, by proper extension, emotional fulfilment
Sense and Sensibility (1811):
- her first published novel
- balances maturity against impulsiveness
- gently ridicules the cult of sensibility, sentiment, and passion
Pride and Prejudice (1813):
- a classic in the genre of a Romantic novel of manners
Mansfield Park (1814):
- the most pragmatic and the least romantic of her novels
- touches on the slave trade, corruption, and exploitation
- the most perfectly construed, the best, and the most representative
- the rebellious Emma finds her personal liberation within the enclosure of the society by learning to respect and use its rules
Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumously):
- chronologically her earliest novel x but: published posthumously
- ridicules the taste for Gothic terrors and unsophisticated romances
- includes an elaborate parody on Anne Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho
Persuasion (1818, posthumously):
- connected with the Northanger Abbey, usually issued in one volume
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorJane Austen. (1775 - 1817). British.
WorkNovelist. Author of Pride and Prejudice (1813).
GenreRomanticism. Novel of manners.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
The opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice (1813).