Study Guide

Jane Austen Biography

There are two types of people in this world: those who are Janeites, and those who are not.

Janeites—as hard-core Jane Austen fans choose to call themselves—cite their idol's gift for plot, snappy dialogue, well-rounded characters, and love stories that are believable and heart-melting at the same time. In the six novels Austen completed during her 41 years, they see the work of a woman who perceived the realities of eighteenth-century English gender politics and wasn't afraid to tell it like it was, a writer who single-handedly raised the profile of the novel from trashy entertainment to literary art form.

Non-Janeites cringe at the thought of yet another movie version of one of Austen's novels. Aren't all of these books, they ask, basically about the same thing? Did she have nothing else to write about? And why is everyone in her books so obsessed with marriage? "I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate," groused non-Janeite Ralph Waldo Emerson. "…All that interests in any character [is this]: has he (or she) the money to marry with?"

Childhood

Juvenilia

In Love

Novelist

Death

Family

Education

Work Experience

Novels