Jane Austen's Biography

A presentation created by Sheila Morato

"... The time in which Jane Austen wrote her novels was a period of great stability just about to give way to a time of unimagined changes. At that time most of England's population (some thirteen million) were involved in rural and agricultural work: yet within another twenty years, the majority of Englishmen became urban dwellers involved with industry, and the great railway age had begun. Throughout the early years of the century the cities were growing at a great rate; the network of canals was completed, the main roads were being remade. Regency London, in particular, boomed and became, among other things, a great centre of fashion. On the other hand, England in the first decade of the nineteenth century was still predominantly a land of country towns and villages, a land of rural routines which were scarcely touched by the seven campaigns of the Peninsular War against Napoleon...
Austen presents a rather cool and objective view of the society behaviour at her time and the limited options of the women. Genteel women could not get money except by marrying for it or inheriting it. They had to acquire accomplishments such as ability to draw, sing, play music, or speak modern languages (French, Italian) to attract a husband. 
Even though, her heroines have distinct and sparkling personalities as the character Elizabeth Bennet insist on being treated: as a rational creature rather than as an elegant female."