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Sense and Sensibility.
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Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility.
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About the author
Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 - July
28, 1817) is a prominent British novelist,
whose work is considered part of the West-
ern canon. She stands as a model of the writer
whose apparently sheltered life did nothing
to reduce the stature and drama of her fic-
She was born at the rectory in Steventon, Hampshire, her father
being a clergyman, and lived for most of her life in the area. She had six
brothers, and an elder sister, Cassandra, to whom she was very close.
The only known portrait of Jane Austen is a coloured sketch done by
Cassandra which now resides in the National Gallery in London. Her
brothers, Frank and Charles went to sea, eventually becoming admi-
rals. In 1801 the family moved to Bath; after the death of her father in
1805, Jane, her sister and her mother moved to Chawton, where her
brother had an estate with a cottage on it that he turned over to his
mother and sisters' use. (Their house today is open to the public.) Jane
never married; she was once engaged to a much younger man, Harris
Bigg-Wither, but changed her mind. Having established herself as a
novelist, she continued to live in relative seclusion, and began to suffer
ill-health. It is now thought she may have suffered from Addison's
Disease, the cause of which was then unknown. She travelled to Win-
chester to seek a cure, but died there and is buried in the cathedral.
While her first novel, the posthumously published Northanger
Abbey, pokes fun at the Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe, Austen is most
famous for her later works, which took the form of socially conscious
comedies of errors. These, especially Emma, are often cited for their
perfection of form, while modern critics continue to unearth new per-