Jane Austen Books

Easton Press Jane Austen books:
Persuasion - 1977
Pride and Prejudice - 1977
Emma - 1983
Sense and Sensibility - 1985

1996 six volume set including:
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Sense and Sensibility

Franklin Library Jane Austen books:
Pride and Prejudice - World's Best Loved Books - 1979
Pride and prejudice - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1980


Jane Austen biography
Jane Austen, (1775-1817), was a British novelist, born in Steventon, England, and educated at home. She was seventh of eight children. Her father, who was rector of the parish, moved the family to Bath upon his retirement in 1801. After his death Jane Austen lived with her mother and younger sister in Southampton (1805-09) and Chawton (1809-17). In 1817 they moved to Winchester, where she died. She never married.

Jane Austen's first novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811; written before 1796), is a subtle analysis of the romantic belief that sentiment is to be trusted more than common sense and reasonableness. Pride and Prejudice (1813; written in 1796-97) is perhaps her best known work. It concerns the romantic errors of a group of sisters, notably the intelligent but impulsive heroine, Elizabeth. Through experience and painful reconsideration, she alters her first impressions of a neighbor's guest, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and finally marries him. In Northanger Abbey (posthumously published, 1818; written in 1797-98) Jane Austen caricatures the Gothic romance (q.v.), which was extremely popular at the time, and develops her characteristic theme that maturity is achieved through the lost of illusions.

Jane Austen's other novels were written between 1811 and 1816. Mansfield Park (1814) contrasts the modesty and good sense of the heroine with the selfishness of her spoiled cousins. In Emma (1816) the protagonist is a witty but girl whose vanity and self-deceptions involve her in disturbing but educative complications. Persuasion (posthumously published, 1818), deals with a young girl who is influenced by well intentioned but calculating outsiders to break of an engagement. She learns gradually to recognize the wisdom of independent judgment and eventually marries the man to whom she was betrothed. Some biographers of Jane Austen regard this novel as partially autobiographical.

Jane Austen is regarded as one of the greatest English novelist. All her works deal with relationships between young men and women whose faults of character, due often to a deficiency in their upbringing, are corrected by the lessons learned through some tribulation. She depicts the English country gentry participating in the village life with which she was familiar and develops the natures of all her characters, even the most subordinate. In consequence, although the themes of her novels seem unimportant, her treatment of them achieves major significance. Her fidelity to the truths of everyday experience and her delightful sense of vitality, conveyed in a lucid prose style, enable readers to recognize in Jane Austen's works universal patterns of sensibility not found in those of any other novelist


Pride and Prejudice
Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work "her own darling child" and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print." The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen's radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

Sense and Sensibility
The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!'

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love and its threatened loss the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen's most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.

Mansfield Park
Taken from the poverty of her parents' home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle's absence in Antigua, the Crawford's arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen's first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

Northanger Abbey
A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen's "Gothic parody." Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story's unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry's mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is a lighthearted, yet unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

Persuasion is Jane Austen's last completed novel. She began it soon after she had finished Emma, completing it in August 1816. She died, aged 41, in 1817; Persuasion was published in December that year (but dated 1818). Persuasion is linked to Northanger Abbey not only by the fact that the two books were originally bound up in one volume and published together, but also because both stories are set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which Austen was well acquainted, having lived there from 1801 to 1805. Besides the theme of persuasion, the novel evokes other topics, such as the Royal Navy, in which two of Jane Austen's brothers ultimately rose to the rank of admiral. As in Northanger Abbey, the superficial social life of Bath-well known to Austen, who spent several relatively unhappy and unproductive years there-is portrayed extensively and serves as a setting for the second half of the book. In many respects Persuasion marks a break with Austen's previous works, both in the more biting, even irritable satire directed at some of the novel's characters and in the regretful, resigned outlook of its otherwise admirable heroine, Anne Elliot, in the first part of the story. Against this is set the energy and appeal of the Royal Navy, which symbolises for Anne and the reader the possibility of a more outgoing, engaged, and fulfilling life, and it is this worldview which triumphs for the most part at the end of the novel.

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