Although information about Jane Austen is ‘famously scarce’, she was an English novelist known for her six major novels, published between 1811 and 1818, commenting on aristocratic or landed British society at the end of the 18th century. Her most known and most highly praised novel during her lifetime and afterwards remains her second, Pride and Prejudice. Her plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security.
Jane Austen’s major novels are still in print in many editions today, although they were first published anonymously and failed to bring Austen fame or positive reviews while she was alive. A significant transition in her posthumous reputation as an author occurred in 1869, over 50 years after she died, when her nephew’s publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider audience.
With the publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published author. Austen wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, which were published posthumously in 1818, and began another, called Sanditon, before her death.
During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries Austen’s writings have inspired a large number of critical essays and literary anthologies, establishing her as a British author of international fame. Her novels have inspired films many films.