JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY
Three social classes:
The Agricultural and Industrial revolutions transform Britain into a highly industrialized urban society;
In the middle and upper classes, women are dependent on their fathers or husbands, so their existence revolves around finding a good match to secure the future.
Although she lived during the Romantic age and a period of major changes (the French Revolution and Napoleon’s wars) there is no reference to these events in Jane Austen’s novels. Her writing belongs to post-romanticism (with some classical traits) and prefigures realism and the pre-Victorian age.
IDEOLOGY AND CULTURE:
Literary trend: REALISM
Principles of realism:
Realistic novel traits (the novel is the best form of expression for realism, as it describes the world faithfully and doesn’t idealize it):
THE AUTHOR AND HER WORK
She lived an isolated, discreet life, was never married, and spent most of her time reading and writing;
Home and boarding school educated with curricula specific to girls’ schools of the time (French, spelling, needlework, dancing, music, drama);
Published her works anonymously, represented by her brother Henry, as women did not have the legal power to sign contracts;
Her work was pirated in French translations, but afterward, a new translation credited her as the author.