(1775 - 1817)
 "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire and in keeping with family tradition she was placed with a local woman to be nursed. Throughout her life Jane's best friend and confidante was her sister Cassandra. Much of the biographical detail of Jane's life has been learnt from her correspondence with Cassandra. The two girls spent some time being educated by Mrs. Ann Cawley and while at her school they contracted typhus, from which Jane almost died. After a period being educated at home Jane and Cassandra left to attend the Abbey School in Reading.

As young woman Jane continued to live with her parents her life involved lady like pursuits such as sewing, dancing and reading. Her love of books led her to begin writing her own creations and in 1811 her first novel, Sense and Sensibility was published. It is not known for certain how many copies were printed, though it is estimated to be in the region of 500 – 750.

Pride and Prejudice Jane’s second and most famous novel has become one of the most prominent literary works of the nineteenth century. The first draft of the novel was written under the working title of ‘First Impressions’ in 1796. In the following years, Pride and Prejudice was heavily rewritten and the copyright eventually sold to Egerton in 1812. The book was well received and the first edition sold out within the year and one contemporary reader wrote, “I have finished the Novel called Pride and Prejudice, which I think is a very superior work... I really think it is the most probable fiction I have ever read.”

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Pride and Prejudice