Jane Austen (1775 –1817)
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the middle classes and landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Herliterary realism was often represented as biting irony and satirical commentary, directed partly at the landed British aristocracy.
Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the end of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her works, though usually popular, were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime. The publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.