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Jane Austen (1775-1817), Novelist

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Few English novelists have commanded such popular affection and critical respect as the author of works including Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816). Austen was a writer of refinement and charm, whose honesty and sense of irony helped shape some of the supreme masterpieces of nineteenth-century fiction. The daughter of a clergyman, she never married, and lived quietly with her family in Hampshire and later Bath. Her six main novels made ordinary domestic life a compelling subject for fiction, drawing on her own observations of genteel social relations, courtship, and the position of women during the Regency.