Life and Background

  • Richard Wirdnam
Part of the Macmillan Master Guides book series


Jane Austen’s life can be summarised in very few words. She was born on 16 December 1775 in the village of Steventon, Hampshire — one of eight children. Her father was the rector of the village, and her childhood was spent in the rectory. She was sent away to school for a brief period, but most of her education was received from her father, who was a fine scholar. At an early age she began to write short pieces to amuse other members of the family, and by 1790 had completed Love and Freindship, an example of her ability to parody the worst kinds of popular fiction. By 1797 she was working on the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility was also begun at about this period while Jane was visiting the popular spa town of Bath. She made many other visits to friends and relations, particularly to the home of her brother Edward at Godmersham Park in Kent. By 1798 she had started writing Susan, which was published posthumously as Northanger Abbey.


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© Richard Wirdnam 1985

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  • Richard Wirdnam

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