JANE AUSTEN

janeausten

 (1775-1817)

She was born at the Rectory in Steventon, a little village in Hampshire on 16th December 1775. Steventon Rectory was Jane Austen's home for the first 25 years of her life. From here she travelled to Kent to stay with her brother Edward in his mansion at Godmersham Park near Canterbury, and she also had some shorter holidays in Bath, where her aunt and uncle lived.In 1801 the Reverend George Austen retired, and he and his wife, with their two daughters Jane and Cassandra, left Steventon and settled in Bath.The Austens rented No. 4 Sydney Place from 1801-1804, and then stayed for a few months at No. 3 Green Park Buildings East, where Mr. Austen died in 1805. Jane fell ill in 1816 - possibly with Addison's Disease - and in the summer of 1817 her family took her to Winchester for medical treatment. However, the doctor could do nothing for her, and she died peacefully on 18th July 1817 at their lodgings in No. 8 College Street. She never married.She was the first major woman novelist, but she did not belong to any of the literary movements of her time. She ridiculed romance and sentimentality in most of her novels. She shows the interaction between human beings in small provincial communities, usually focused around the heroine's finding a husband and her self-discovery in the process. Her works have never been out of print since they were first published, and are frequently adapted for stage, screen and television. Jane Austen is now one of the best-known and best-loved authors in the English-speaking world.

My selection :

Pride and Prejudice : (Orgueil et Préjugés) 1813

The battle for self-respect by one of literature's great heroines, Elizabeth Bennet. Pride and Prejudice is a humorous story of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr Bennet is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife. The Bennets 5 daughters; the beautiful Jane, the clever Elizabeth, the bookish Mary, the immature Kitty and the wild Lydia. Unfortunately for the Bennets, if Mr Bennet dies their house will be inherited by a distant cousin whom they have never met, so the family's future happiness and security is dependent on the daughters making good marriages. Life is uneventful until the arrival in the neighbourhood of the rich gentleman Mr Bingley, who rents a large house so he can spend the summer in the country. Mr Bingley brings with him his sister and the dashing (and richer) but proud Mr Darcy. Love is soon in the air for one of the Bennet sisters, while another may have jumped to a hasty prejudgment. For the Bennet sisters many trials and tribulations stand between them and their happiness, including class, gossip and scandal.

Sense and Sensibility : (Raisons et Sentiments) 1811

When Mr. Dashwood dies, his wife and three daughters - Elinor, Marianne and Margaret - are dismayed to learn that their inheritance consists of only £500 a year, with the bulk of the estate of Norland Park left to his son John from a previous marriage. John's scheming, greedy, snobbish wife Fanny immediately installs herself and her spouse in the palatial home and invites her brother Edward Ferrars to stay with them. She frets about the budding friendship between Edward and Elinor and does everything she can to prevent it from developing.

Sir John Middleton, a cousin of the widowed Mrs. Dashwood, offers her a small cottage house on his estate, Barton Park in Devonshire. She and her daughters move in. It is here that Marianne meets the older Colonel Brandon, who falls in love with her at first sight. Competing with him for her affections is the dashing but deceitful John Willoughby, who steals Marianne's heart. Unbeknownst to the Dashwood family, Brandon's ward is found to be pregnant with Willoughby's child, and Willoughby's aunt Lady Allen disinherits him. He moves to London, leaving Marianne heartbroken.

Sir John's mother-in-law, Mrs. Jennings, invites her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, to visit. They bring with them the impoverished Lucy Steele. Lucy confides in Elinor that she and Edward have been engaged secretly for five years, thus dashing Elinor's hopes of romance with him. Mrs. Jennings takes Lucy, Elinor, and Marianne to London, where they meet Willoughby at a ball. They learn that he is engaged to the extremely wealthy Miss Grey; and the clandestine engagement of Edward and Lucy comes to light. Edward's mother demands that he break off the engagement. When he refuses, his fortune is taken from him and given to his younger brother Robert.

On their way home to Devonshire, Elinor and Marianne stop for the night at the country estate of the Palmers, who live near Willoughby. Marianne cannot resist going to see his estate and walks five miles in a torrential rain to do so. As a result, she becomes seriously ill and is nursed back to health by Elinor.

After Marianne recovers, the sisters return home. They learn that Miss Steele has become Mrs. Ferrars and assume that she is married to Edward, who arrives to explain that Miss Steele has unexpectedly wed Robert Ferrars. Edward is thus released from his engagement. Edward proposes to Elinor and becomes a vicar, while Marianne falls in love with and marries Colonel Brandon. In the distance, Mr. Willoughby watches from his horse on the hill, regretting his choice of money over his love, Marianne. e with her at first sight. Competing with him for her affections is the dashing but deceitful John Willoughby, who steals Marianne's heart. Unbeknownst to the Dashwood family, Brandon's ward is found to be pregnant with Willoughby's child, and Willoughby's aunt Lady Allen disinherits him. He moves to London, leaving Marianne heartbroken.

Sir John's mother-in-law, Mrs. Jennings, invites her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, to visit. They bring with them the impoverished Lucy Steele. Lucy confides in Elinor that she and Edward have been engaged secretly for five years, thus dashing Elinor's hopes of romance with him. Mrs. Jennings takes Lucy, Elinor, and Marianne to London, where they meet Willoughby at a ball. They learn that he is engaged to the extremely wealthy Miss Grey; and the clandestine engagement of Edward and Lucy comes to light. Edward's mother demands that he break off the engagement. When he refuses, his fortune is taken from him and given to his younger brother Robert.

On their way home to Devonshire, Elinor and Marianne stop for the night at the country estate of the Palmers, who live near Willoughby. Marianne cannot resist going to see his estate and walks five miles in a torrential rain to do so. As a result, she becomes seriously ill and is nursed back to health by Elinor.

After Marianne recovers, the sisters return home. They learn that Miss Steele has become Mrs. Ferrars and assume that she is married to Edward, who arrives to explain that Miss Steele has unexpectedly wed Robert Ferrars. Edward is thus released from his engagement. Edward proposes to Elinor and becomes a vicar, while Marianne falls in love with and marries Colonel Brandon. In the distance, Mr. Willoughby watches from his horse on the hill, regretting his choice of money over his love, Marianne.

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