context of pride and prejudice

Essay by xeniagr97High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2014

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(a little literary and historical context)

Jane Austen was born in 1755 in Steventon, England, where she lived until she became twenty five years old. George Austen, Jane's father and the rector of the local parish, taught her largely at home. Jane began to write while in her teens and completed First Impressions , the actual Pride and prejudice (1796-1797). The manuscript was rejected by a publisher, but in 1809 Jane began the revisions that would bring it to its final form. In 1811 she published her first novel, Sense and sensibility , and two years after that, Pride and prejudice, which achieved a popularity that has endured to this day. She got to publish four more novels, which the last 2 were published a year after her death.
Austen had to hide the authorship and only her close family knew of it. At one point, she found herself writing behind a door that creaked when visitors approached.

This warned her to hide the manuscripts before anyone could enter. Through publishing anonymously she prevented herself of losing privacy. In addition, she lived in an era when English society associated a female's entrance into public sphere with a reprehensive loss of femininity. Moreover, Austen may have sought (seek -> sought?) anonymity because of the more general atmosphere of repression. As the Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815) threatened the safety of monarchies throughout Europe, government censorship of literature proliferated.

The social milieu of Austen's Regency Englandhadclass divisions were rooted in family connections and wealth. In her work, Austen is often critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper-class England. She distinguishes between internal merit (goodness of person) and external merit (rank and possessions). Though she frequently satirizes snobs, she also pokes fun at the poor breeding and misbehaviour of those lower on the...