Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 438
Pride and Prejudice (1813), the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published, is perhaps her most famous work. Much like Sense and Sensibility, the action in this novel centers on upper-class English society, in particular the courtship of the Bennet sisters. Elizabeth Bennet, a spitfire of a character, and her equally spirited beau Mr. Darcy are one of literature's most famous pairs.
Mansfield Park (1814), by Jane Austen, tells the story of Fanny Price, an insecure girl who is brought up by her rich aunt and uncle and examines the questions of morality of the time. It has been described as unique among Austen's work in its more somber and moralizing tone.
Emma (1815), the last of Austen's novels to be published before her death, is a lighthearted story of upper-class courtship, featuring a charming heroine but nevertheless displaying Austen's razor-sharp wit and observation of her society. Emma has much in common with Marianne of Sense and Sensibility in both her spirited naïveté and her eventual growth into a more mature wisdom, an act which exhibits Austen's views of the necessity of social propriety.
Jane Austen's Letters (1997), a new edition edited by Deirdre Le Faye, is a compilation of Austen's witty and sharp correspondence, which give insight into her daily life and the inspiration she had for her novels.
A Vindication on the Rights of Women, by Mary Wollstonecraft, was published in 1792. While Austen was busy writing novels that portrayed the domestic and economic situations of upper-class women, the women's rights movement in England was coming into full swing. Mary Wollstonecraft, a radical of the time, composed this most significant work to call for the equal education of women across the social strata. A shocking and controversial work during its time, it is today considered a classic of women's literature.
A Room of One's Own (1929), written by British author, literary critic, and feminist Virginia Woolf, outlines Woolf's groundbreaking analysis of the position of women in English literature, including Jane Austen.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, a nineteenth-century poet, was one of the key figures of the romantic movement. Romanticism places great importance on passion, emotion, and the self, which Austen is thought to criticize in her portrayal of Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. Shelley's most famous long poems are "Prometheus Unbound" (1820) and the highly controversial "Laon and Cythna" (1817), which was banned during his life because of its sexual references and its negative portrayal of the church.
John Keats was also a key poet of the romantic movement. Poems such as "The Eve of St. Agnes" (1819) and "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1819) concentrate on the sensuality of both natural and artistic beauty.
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