Jane Austen

October 26, 2006


Spent short, secluded life away from the spotlight
One of eight children born to an Anglican clergyman and his wife
Spent most of her life in Hampshire, rural area of southern England
Turned down marriage proposal in 1802, intuiting how difficult it would be to combine authorship with life as a wife, mother and gentry hostess
Started writing at 12
The Austen name was never publicly associated with any of Jane’s novels
Through her heroines, exposes how harshly the hard facts of economic life bore down on gentlewomen during this period when a lady’s security depended on her making a good marriage
Unanswered question for Austen is whether such a marriage can be compatible with the independence of mind and moral integrity that, like Austen, her heroines cherish
Criticized the novel form, but also perfected it
Narrative voice shifts between a romantic point of view and an irony that reminds us of romance’s limits
Austen stated her novels were:

“pictures of domestic life in country villages.”

“Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked”

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

“I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other motive than to save my Life, and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first Chapter.”

Sense and Sensibility 1811

First published novel
Explores relationship between two sisters: Elinore and Marianne Dashwood: Elinore representing ‘Sense’ and Marianne ‘Sensibility’
Family is left impoverished after the father’s death and enter into a search for a husband
Austen wrote the first draft when she was 19
Characters may be loosely based on Jane and her sister, Cassandra
Filled with subtle irony


“Nay, mamma, if he is not to be animated by Cowper! -but we must allow for difference of taste. Elinor has not my feelings, and, therefore, she may overlook it, and be happy with him. But it would have broken my heart, had I loved him, to hear him read with so little sensibility. Mamma, 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! He must have all Edward’s virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm.”

“It would be an excellent match, for he was rich, and she was handsome. Mrs. Jennings had been anxious to see Colonel Brandon well married, ever since her connection with Sir John first brought him to her knowledge; and she was always anxious to get a good husband for every pretty girl.”

“‘He is as good a sort of fellow, I believe, as ever lived,’ repreated Sir John. ‘I remember last Christmas, at a little hop at the Park, he danced from eight o’clock till four without once sitting down.’
‘Did he, indeed?’ cried Marrieanne, with sparkling eyes; ‘and with elegance, with spirit?’
‘Yes; and he was up again at eight to ride to covert.’
‘That is what I like; that is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue.'”

“Marianne would have thought herself ever inexcusable had she been able to sleep at all the first night after parting from Willoughby. She would have been ashamed to look her family in the face the next morning, had she not risen from her bed in more need of repose than when she lay down in it. But the feelings which made such composure a disgrace, left her in no danger of incurring it. She was awake the whole night, and she wept the greatest part of it. She got up with a headache, was unable to talk, and unwilling to take any nourishment; giving pain ever moment to her mother and sisters, and forbidding all attempt at consolation from either. Her sensibility was potent enough!”

“‘What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?’
‘Grandeur has but little,’ said Elinor, ‘but wealth has much to do with it.’
‘Elinor, for shame!’ said Marianne; ‘money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere self is concerned.'”

“Whatever the truth of it might be, and far as Elinor was from feeling thorough contentment about it, yet while she saw Marianne in spirits,, she could not be very uncomfortable herself. And Marianne was in spirits; happy in the mildness of the weather, and still happier in her expectation of a frost.”

“When they had paid their tribute of politeness by courtesying to the lady of the house, they were permitted to mingle in the crowd, and take their share of the heat and inconvenience to which their arrival must necessarily add.”

“‘By all the world, rather than by his own heart. I could rather believe every creature of my acquaintance leagued together to ruin me in his opinion, than believe his nature capable of such cruelty.'”

“‘I am sorry for that. At her time of life, any thing of an illness destroys the bloom for ever! Hers has been a very short one! She was as handsome a girl last September as any I ever saw, -and as likely to attract the men. There was something in her style of beauty to please them particularly. I remember Fanny used to say, that she would marry sooner and better than you did; not but what she is exceedingly fond of you, but so it happened to strike her. She will be mistaken, however. I question whether Marianne, now, will marry a man worth more than five or six hundred a year at the utmost, and I am very much deceived if you do not do better.'”

“John Dashwood had not much to say for himself that was worth hearing, and his wife had still less. But there was no peculiar disgrace in this; for it was very much the case with the chief of their visitors, who almost all laboured under one or other of these disqualifications for being agreeable- want of sense, either natural or improved- want of elegance- want of spirits- or want of temper.”

“‘He is the most fearful of giving pain, of wounding expectation, and the most incapable of being selfish, or anybody I ever saw. Edward, it is so, and I will say it. What! are you never to hear yourself praised? -Then you must be no friend of mine; for those who will accept of my love and esteem must submit to my open commendation.'”


8 Responses to “Jane Austen”

  1. Hi Alanna! Thanks for the link!
    –Prof F at Pretty Fakes

  2. You are so very welcome.
    I love your site.

  3. Thanks for the kind words! How did you stumble across us? Do we know each other?

    I love the idea of using this as a virtual scrapbook/commonplace book–I wish I’d had the initiative (and the technology) to do something similar back in the day.

  4. No, we do not know each other. I found your site while searching for images of e.e. cummings. Gorjus’s collage of “the spring has been exquisite” and of “in front of your house i,” came up and I couldn’t not see what it was about.

    And thanks.
    It makes studying for exams a lot easier.

  5. Wanted to thank you for the post and also with you a happy new year. I am trying to get more involved with some projects online but darn work keeps getting in the way hahaha. Happy New year!

  6. medical Says:

    His buddies would have to medical fetish video strip off my breasts crushed.

  7. ztutyf Says:

    Linda sweet asshole. Emily asked me further ball crushing torture i asked. Where nick had.

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