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Jane Austen

On the 16 December 1775, Jane Austen, one of the greatest English novelists, was born.

Her works of romantic fiction are some of the most widely read novels in English literature and are renowned for their realism, biting irony and social commentary.

Jane Austen is considered one of the finest English novelists whose books, set among the English middle and upper classes, are notable for their wit, social observation, and insights into the lives of early 19th century women.

“With unsurpassed charm and subtlety, Jane Austen’s novels of country life present and appraise the manners, morals, and relationships of Regency England’s prosperous middle class. In choosing to depict what she called her “bits of ivory,” the segment of the world she knew best, Jane Austen steered the course of the English novel away from the melodramatic implausibilities that dominated popular fiction at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Sir Walter Scott, who recognised the importance of Austen’s choice, also praised her for the literary finesse that made such a choice workable, 'the exquisite touch which renders commonplace things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment.' "

- Jane Austen By: Graham, Peter W., Pearl, Leslie A., Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition, Database: Literary Reference Center Plus

Jane Austen’s novels

Sense and Sensibility, 1811
Pride and Prejudice, 1813
Mansfield Park, 1814
Emma, 1816 (dated 1816; book came out in December, 1815)
Northanger Abbey, 1818
Persuasion, 1818
Lady Susan, 1871 (novella)
The Watsons, 1871 (fragment)

The State Library of New South Wales holds many editions of works by and about Jane Austen.

These illustrations are from a limited edition of Pride and Prejudice (drawings by Robert Ball) State Library of NSW Rare Books MacPherson/ 0039

Illustrations are from a limited edition of Pride and Prejudice  (drawings by Robert Ball)

Illustrations are from a limited edition of Pride and Prejudice  (drawings by Robert Ball)

Rare Books copy: No. 312 of limited ed. of 1000 copies and signed by artist.
Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, Doran, 1945 (Boston, Mass. : Merrymount Pr)