Jane Austen (1775–1817)
“Novelist, born in Steventon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, S. England, UK, where her father was rector. She spent the first 25 years of her life there, and later lived in Bath, Southampton, Chawton, and Winchester. The fifth of a family of seven, she began writing for family amusement as a child. Love and Friendship (published 1922) dates from this period. Her early published work satirized the sensational fiction of her time, and applied common sense to apparently melodramatic situations – a technique she later developed in evaluating ordinary human behaviour. Of her six great novels, four were published anonymously during her lifetime and two under her signature posthumously. Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, was begun in 1797; Pride and Prejudice appeared in 1813; Mansfield Park, begun in 1811, appeared in 1814; Emma in 1816. Her posthumous novels were both published in 1818; Persuasion had been written in 1815, and Northanger Abbey, begun in 1797, had been sold in 1803 to a publisher, who neglected it, and reclaimed it in 1816.” (From Jane Austen Biography)
But in fact, as well as a number of stories and unfinished novels – some of which were only written to entertain her family – Austen did complete one other book Lady Susan which is quite unlike the other Austen novels. It is written entirely in letters, and concerns the conflict between a heartless, manipulative woman and her daughter. Though not as polished as her other novels, it is clearly complete. Lady Susan is based on a society woman, whom the Austen family knew, who treated her daughters cruelly, yet Austen gives her anti-heroine an individual and highly amusing voice.