Jane Austens Works Essay

This essay has a total of 2558 words and 9 pages.

Jane Austens Works

First published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has consistently been Jane Austen's most
popular novel. It portrays life in the genteel rural society of the day, and tells of the
initial misunderstandings and later mutual enlightenment between Elizabeth Bennet (whose
liveliness and quick wit have often attracted readers) and the haughty Darcy. The title
Pride and Prejudice refers (among other things) to the ways in which Elizabeth and Darcy
first view each other. The original version of the novel was written in 1796-1797 under
the title First Impressions, and was probably in the form of an exchange of letters.Jane
Austen's own tongue-in-cheek opinion of her work, in a letter to her sister Cassandra
immediately after its publication, was: "Upon the whole... I am well satisfied enough. The
work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants [i.e. needs] shade; it wants
to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if
not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story: an essay on
writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparte, or anything that would
form a contrast and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and general
epigrammatism of the general style". In 1809 Jane Austen, her mother, sister Cassandra,
and Martha Lloyd moved to Chawton, near Alton and Winchester, where her brother Edward
provided a small house on one of his estates. This was in Hampshire, not far from her
childhood home of Steventon. Before leaving Southampton, she corresponded with the
dilatory publisher to whom she had sold Susan (i.e. Northanger Abbey), but without
receiving any satisfaction.She resumed her literary activities soon after returning into
Hampshire, and revised Sense and Sensibility, which was accepted in late 1810 or early
1811 by a publisher, for publication at her own risk. It appeared anonymously ("By a
Lady") in October 1811, and at first only her immediate family knew of her authorship:
Fanny Knight's diary for September 28, 1811 records a "Letter from Aunt Cass. to beg we
would not mention that Aunt Jane wrote Sense and Sensibility"; and one day in 1812 when
Jane Austen and Cassandra and their niece Anna were in a "circulating library" at Alton,
Anna threw down a copy of Sense and Sensibility on offer there, "exclaiming to the great
amusement of her Aunts who stood by, "Oh that must be rubbish, I am sure from the title.""
There were at least two fairly favorable reviews, and the first edition eventually turned
a profit of £140 for her.Encouraged by this success, Jane Austen turned to revising First
Impressions, a.k.a. Pride and Prejudice. She sold it in November 1812, and her "own
darling child" (as she called it in a letter) was published in late January 1813. She had
already started work on Mansfield Park by 1812, and worked on it during 1813. It was
during 1813 that knowledge of her authorship started to spread outside her family; as Jane
Austen wrote in a letter of September 25th 1813:"Henry heard P. & P. warmly praised in
Scotland, by Lady Robert Kerr & another Lady; -- & and what does he do in the warmth of
his brotherly vanity and Love, but immediately tell them who wrote it!". Since she had
sold the copyright of Pride and Prejudice outright for £110 (presumably in order to
receive a convenient payment up front, rather than having to wait for the profits on sales
to trickle in), she did not receive anything more when a second edition was published
later in 1813. A second edition of Sense and Sensibility was also published in October
1813. In May 1814, Mansfield Park appeared, and was sold out in six months; she had
already started work on Emma. Her brother Henry, who then conveniently lived in London,
often acted as Jane Austen's go-between with publishers, and on several occasions she
stayed with him in London to revise proof-sheets. In October 1813, one of the Prince
Regent's physicians was brought in to treat an illness that Henry was suffering from; it
was through this connection that Jane Austen was brought into contact with Mr. Clarke.
James Stanier Clarke was the Prince Regent's librarian, and transmitted to her the
Prince's request that she dedicate her next work (Emma) to him, an honour that Jane Austen
would probably rather have done without (see her letter on the infidelities of the Prince
and his wife). Some of Mr. Clarke's "helpful" suggestions showed up in the Plan for a
Novel. [More complete versions of these letters, as printed in Austen-Leigh's Memoir, are
also available on-line.]Pride and PrejudiceFirst published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice
has consistently been Jane Austen's most popular novel. It portrays the initial
misunderstandings and later mutual enlightenment between Elizabeth Bennet (whose
liveliness and quick wit have often attracted readers) and the haughty Darcy. Jane Austen
wrote in a letter about Elizabeth, "I must confess that I think her as delightful a
character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not
like her at least, I do not know". The title Pride and Prejudice refers (among other
things) to the ways in which Elizabeth and Darcy first view each other. The original
version of the novel was written in 1796-1797 under the title First Impressions, and was
probably in the form of an exchange of letters; First Impressions was actually the first
of Jane Austen's works to be offered to a publisher, in 1797 by Jane Austen's father, but
the publisher turned it down without even looking at the manuscript.Mansfield ParkThis
novel, originally published in 1814, is the first of Jane Austen's novels not to be a
revised version of one of her pre-1800 writings. Mansfield Park has sometimes been
considered atypical of Jane Austen, as being solemn and moralistic, especially when
contrasted with the immediately preceding Pride and Prejudice and the immediately
following Emma. Poor Fanny Price is brought up at Mansfield Park with her rich uncle and
aunt, where only her cousin Edmund helps her with the difficulties she suffers from the
rest of the family, and from her own fearfulness and timidity. When the sophisticated
Crawfords (Henry and Mary), visit the Mansfield neighbourhood, the moral sense of each
marriageable member of the Mansfield family is tested in various ways, but Fanny emerges
more or less unscathed. The well-ordered (if somewhat vacuous) house at Mansfield Park,
and its country setting, play an important role in the novel, and are contrasted with the
squalour of Fanny's own birth family's home at Portsmouth, and with the decadence of
London.Readers have a wide variety of reactions to Mansfield Park-most of which already
appear in the Opinions of Mansfield Park collected by Jane Austen herself soon after the
novel's publication. Some dislike the character of Fanny as "priggish" (however, it is
Edmund who sets the moral tone here), or have no sympathy for her forced inaction
(doubtless, those are people who have never lacked confidence, or been without a date on
Friday night!). Mansfield Park has also been used to draw connections between the
"genteel" rural English society that Jane Austen describes and the outside world, since
Fanny's uncle is a slave-owner (with an estate in Antigua in the Caribbean; slavery was
not abolished in the British empire until 1833). Like a number of other topics, Jane
Austen only chose to allude glancingly to the slave trade and slavery in her novels,
though she was aware of contemporary debates on the subject. Mansfield Park was one of
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