2 Jane Austen is known as one of the greatest authors in English history Jane Austen is known as one of the greatest authors in English history. The social commentary and realism in her novels are historically important among scholars. In fact, her novel Pride and Prejudice is considered a historical milestone in English literature. Her writing has greatly influenced the types of books we read today and there have been over two hundred literary and film adaptions of her novels. In my seminar you will get the chance to learn more about Jane Austen’s life and her work.
3 My FamilyI was born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon Hampshire, England. My parents, Cassandra and George Austen, were well-respected community members but our family wasn’t wealthy. My father was educated at Oxford and became a priest at an Anglican church. I had one sister and seven brothers, but I was especially close with my sister Cassandra.
4 My Interests As A ChildWhile I was growing up, I was fortunate that my mother and father believed that learning and creative thinking were very important. Some of the fun activities I did as a child included:Reading from my father’s extensivelibraryWriting stories while my sister drewthe illustrationsPutting on plays with my siblings forthe family to enjoyDancing
5 EducationIn 1783 my sister and I were sent to Oxford to be educated by Mrs. Cawley. However, we were soon brought back home due to my sister and I both contracting typhoid fever during an outbreak. Then in 1775 my parents sent my sister and I to Abbey boarding school in Reading.
6 Education ContinuedI didn’t enjoy it at all. My teachers were unhappy and ignorant people and we were only taught needlework, spelling, and some French. I would have rather been learning about the languages, arts and sciences but the teachers believed that having manners and grace is what mattered most in the world because knowledge would not get me a husband but manners would. Luckily for me I was able to return home in 1776 because of my family’s financial constraints. The rest of my education was completed at home.
7 Early Adulthood Activities In my early adulthood I spent my time helping my family and pursuing my passions. During my early adulthood I spent most of my time:Playing the pianoAttending churchSocializingAttending cotillionsHelping run the family homeWriting and reading to my family
8 First LoveIn December of 1795 I met the most wonderful man named Tom LeFroy. He was the nephew of my neighbour. He was an Irish law student and we spent a lot of time together while he was in town. I fell in love with in the short time I had known him. In January of 1776 he left to go back to school to finish his studies. When he came back to town, three years later, I wasn’t told of visit until after he was gone. He didn’t come to see me and I heard of him marrying a wealthier woman. I was utterly heartbroken.
9 Move to BathIn 1801 I was forced to move to Bath with my mother, father, and sister. I didn’t want to leave my home, my friends, my routine and all of my books but I had no choice. Bath had a hideous social world and I became so depressed that I could no longer write.
10 Marriage ProposalOn December 2, 1802 I received a surprising proposal while my sister and I were visiting our friends. Our friend’s brother, Harris Bigg-Wither, proposed to me and I initially accepted. At the time I thought that by marrying him I could secure my future and help my family’s financial situation by marrying him because he was wealthy. The next morning, however, I changed my mind and told him I could not marry him because I didn’t love him or have affection towards him. I knew what true love felt like and I knew I would never feel that way towards him. This was the only marriage proposal I ever received, thus I never married.
11 Father’s DeathI was deeply saddened by my father’s unexpected death on January 21, My mother, sister and I were thrust into financial trouble because my father was the only source of income for us and he had no pension. For years we didn’t have a stable home because we were financially dependent on my brothers.
12 ChawtonFinally on July 7, 1809 we found a stable living situation with my brother Edward. We moved into a Chawton Cottage, which was a home on one of the estates my brother owned. Once I settled into this home I was able to write again. I ended up writing some of my most famous novels in the Chawton Cottage.
13 My DeathMy writing career was very successful and I was making a lot of money. However, I became ill in 1816 at the age of forty-one and could no longer write. Overtime my conditions worsened. On May 7, 1817 I was bed-ridden and had to move to Winchester so I could be closer to my doctor. My conditions were so horrible that in the end I was ready to stop the suffering and let go. On July 18, 1817 I died of addison’s disease in Winchester and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
14 My LettersThroughout my life I wrote many letters to my sister Cassandra. After my death Cassandra burned some of my letters but many letters were saved. The letters show my deepest thoughts and opinions of others. Some may say that I come across as mean and distant. In the video below you are able to get a closer look at my strong personality that was displayed through my letters.
15 Jane Austen’s Juvenilia When I was an adolescent, I began to write novels in my bound notebook. I wrote a parody of a romantic fiction entitled Love and Friendship. I also wrote a historical parody entitled The History of England. These novels, along with my many other short stories and poems, were later published after my death in a book called Jane Austen’s Juvenilla.
16 My WritingI had been writing short stories and novels for the majority of my life but my first novel wasn’t published until I published my books anonymously because at the time a woman having a writing career was frowned upon. I wrote 6 novels and my brother Henry revealed to the public that I was the author of them after my death. I received some praises for my work while I was alive but the novels gained popularity after and my reputation skyrocketed in the 20th century.
17 Publication of Novels Sense and Sensibility- 1811 Pride and Prejudice- 1813Mansfield Park- 1814Emma- 1815Northanger Abbey (after my death)Persuasion (after my death)
18 Pride and PrejudiceAugust of 1779 I completed the first draft of my novel First Impressions, which was later published as Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is about the courtship and ever-changing relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Pride and Prejudice is known as the novel that bridged the gap between the themes of realism and romance in my writing.
19 Mansfield ParkMansfield Park is about Fanny Price growing up with her cousins at Mansfield Park. When Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in town everyone loves the Crawford family but Fanny is doubtful about their influences and begins to feel isolated. Fanny also struggles with her feeling towards Edmund in the novel.
20 Northanger AbbeyIn 1803 I sold a novel entitled Susan to a publisher with my father’s help. However, the book was never published. My family later bought back the rights of the novel and my brother Henry published it after my death as Northanger Abbey. Northanger Abbey is about Catherine Morland who falls in love with Henry Tilney and visits Northanger Abbey with him, which is his family’s estate. While visiting Northanger Abbey Catherine’s mind is filled with terrible suspicions that could tear her relationship with Henry apart.
21 Movie Trailers For My Novels Pride and Prejudice:Mansfield Park:
22 My Writing InfluencesWhen I was writing my novels I was very influenced by the world around me. I wrote about the inner-workings and values of the society I lived in. My novels contain parts of my life including my childhood, the relationships I hold dear to my heart and my own opinions of the society I lived in. My personality and experiences growing up are in some way or another portrayed by the main characters of my novels. I also based some of the characters in my novels after my family members and neighbours. Specifically, my male characters are loosely based on Tom LeFroy.
23 Writing Style My writing style is described as: Bluntly scrutinizing others/mocking themHaving a dislike of sensibility and romantic hysteriaSarcastic and wittyParodyCleverLogicalIn my writing I portrayed:Dramatic and realistic situationsThe romantic situations of the middle classShifting of social classSocial commentary of life in the 19th century
24 Subjects of WritingMy writing simply explored the reality of life, values and beliefs of society in the 19th century. In my society marriage was like a market and was mostly based on money instead of love. People were very prejudice against others who were in a different class of society. In my novels I also explored how a person’s pride could get in the way of going after what they really wanted. Another subject I touched on in my novels was the woman’s role and expectations in society. The most important thing to a woman in my era was acquiring a wealthy husband so he could take care of you. In my life, I chose to follow my passion of writing instead of focussing all of my attention on getting married.
25 Character MotivationThe characters in my novels were motivated by many aspects of life. Most importantly, they were motivated by love and emotions. Instead of focussing on the business of marriage, my main female characters wanted true love and wouldn’t settle for less. Once the barriers of pride and prejudice were torn down between my characters, they were able to see what they truly wanted out of life. Overall, the characters in my novels were motivated by the desire to be happy and to live life on their own terms.
26 Themes In My Novels Love and Marriage Portray the business of marriage The idea that you can’t help who you loveA marriage can bring you money but unlessyou are also in love, you will not be happyPride and PrejudicePrejudice can hold you back from discovering what you really wantHaving too much pride can be a bad thingGet to know a person before you make a final opinion onthemFamilyIt’s important to care for your familySiblings helping each other navigate lifeParents can be annoying but they ultimately want the best for you
27 Critic’s OpinionsThere have been many negative and positive opinions of my novels throughout the years. The positive opinions of my novels are that I revolutionized the contemporary genre of books and I have been compared to some of the greatest minds in literature such as Shakespeare.The negative opinions of my novels include:Poor craftsmanship of themesNarrow subject matterTrivial writingCharacters have very little emotion
28 Charlotte Brontë Criticism One person that truly hated my writing was an author named Charlotte Brontë. This is displayed in the following quote where she said, “I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I had read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerrotyped [photographed] portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck [stream]. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses.”
29 Function of A WriterI believe the function of a serious writer is to share with the world their personal experiences in order for them to relate to your writing. One aspect that makes a good novel is the ability for the reader to relate to the characters and learn for them. A reader can take what they learned from the characters in novels and apply those lessons to their own life. Another function of a serious writer is to be passionate about your writing. The more dedicated and passionate you are about your writing, the better it will be. Being a writer is a gift, thus if you have this gift you must perfect your craft and share it with the world.
30 My LegacyEven though no one can live forever, I want my novels to live on for generations. I wish to be remembered as a woman who revolutionized the contemporary genre of writing. I also want to be remembered an author that influenced other people’s writing and made people want to become and author. Although there are many criticisms about my style of writing, I mostly wish to have an influence on the lives of my readers.
31 Overall, I had many ups and downs throughout my life time Overall, I had many ups and downs throughout my life time. However, I was constantly striving for things in life which included:Creating stories and novelsLiving life on my own terms and not settling for lessBeing happy and following my passionHaving true love