Jane Austen revolutionized the literary romance, using it as a platform from which to address issues of gender politics and class consciousness among the British middle-class of the late eighteenth century. The novels included in the collection - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan - represent all of Austen's complete novels, and provide the reader with an entrance into the world she and her memorable characters inhabited.
With witty, unflinching morality, Austen portrays English middle-class life as the eighteenth century came to a close and the nineteenth century began. Austen's heroines find happiness in many forms, each of the novels is a story of love and marriage -- marriage for love, financial security and for social status.
In a publishing career that spanned less than ten years her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime. It wasn't until the 1940s that she became widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a fan culture. Austen's works continue to influence the course of the novel even as they charm readers today.
Jane Austen was born in 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire. She was the seventh child of the local rector and her life, by modern standards, was uneventful. In 1801 she moved with her parents to Bath but returned to Hampshire when her father died, settling in the village of Chawton. She remained there until 1817, when she moved to Winchester to be within easy reach of her doctor. She died that year, at age forty-one, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral, which also contains a plaque in honor of her memory. Four of her novels were published anonymously in her lifetime; two more, one of which was Persuasion, appeared posthumously.