Jane Austen was one of the most important novelist of the Romantic age. She wrote for her pleasure, describing the middle class country life of her time; she describes it with great irony and witty and accuracy, using a clear and precise style. She went to school for some years but her education was completed at home; she came in contact with classics but also with contemporary works. Her life was quiet and uneventful. She always preferred leaving in the country. Her family was her first public and they encouraged her.
Jane wrote six novels. Her novels have been defined as “novels of manners” since she was interested in the ways of living, in personal and social relationships of the country gentry. Her most important characters are mainly women who can be seen as types, as symbols of the restrictions of women’s position in the 18th and 19th century.
She never moralizes about her characters, she never condemns the bad ones to terrible ends, but she suggests that they are not going to have good marriages and happy life. She always gives a second chance. In “Sense and Sensibility”, her first novel written when she was 21, she shows her ability in creating living characters, in the description of the two sisters that represent different types of women: the one passionate and the other rational. In “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth represents Austen’s idea of woman, already expressed in “Northanger Abbey”, where she satires the Gothic novel, popular at that time.
Jane Austen has always been criticized for the provincial of her works, but she has always been enjoyed by her readers since the publication of her works. She might be seen as one of the “Augustans”, even though she lived in later age.