Novels by Jane Austen (1775–1817) are still widely read today because they are humorous and informative. The daughter of an English clergyman, Austen rejected the literary and social norms of her day. Although she began writing at the height of the Romantic period (a literary, philosophical, and social movement emphasizing the imagination and emotions), she decided to portray life as she knew it. Credited with creating the novel of manners, she depicted the social customs of ladies and gentlemen living on country estates. Austen is considered the first English realistic writer (an author who depicts everyday life among the middle and lower classes). Her name did not appear on any of the title pages of her books, but her friends and acquaintances knew she was the author. She became increasingly famous as her books reached wider audiences. Austen wrote six books, including Sense and Sensibility(1811), Pride and Prejudice(1813), and Emma(1816), all of which continue to charm modern readers.
Further Information: Becker, May Lambert. Presenting Miss Jane Austen.New York: Dodd, Mead, 1952; Jane Austen.[Online] Available http://www.mostweb.ce/Classics/Austen/austen.htm, October 23, 2000; Jane Austen.[Online] Available http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Authors/about_jane_austen. shtml, October 23, 2000; Rubinstein, Elliot. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Pride and Prejudice.Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969; Watt, Ian. Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays.Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1963.