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Jane Austen: dependency and freedom.

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Far from the revolutionary turmoil that was then tearing the continent apart, from the romanticism that was sweeping the literary landscape, Jane Austen's world formed a kind of parenthesis in which a peaceful society flourished, devoid of drama, dominated by an affability that might make one smile if it did not possess a certain charm.

"When I started writing my first novels, I spent a lot of time travelling around London. Every corner of the city inspired me, from its unique architecture to its small cafes.

I wrote Sense and Sensibility, published anonymously in 1811. The author wrote only the phrase By a Lady, as written on the title page. The novel told the story of the Dashwood sisters, nineteen-year-old Elinor and sixteen-year-old Marianne, their older, miserly half-brother, John, and their younger sister, Margaret. In Sense and Sensibility, the protagonists represented the opposition between the two forces that govern the world. The story followed the three Dashwood sisters as they and their widowed mother moved from the estate where they had grown up, Norland Park, to their new home, Barton Cottage.

There was a lot of me on that paper; a lot of my own experience and feelings. I imagined, therefore, several strong women who identified with me. The novel itself was intended to be set in the South West of England, in London and Sussex.

As soon as it came out, it sold out immediately. Its first print run of seven hundred and fifty copies marked my success! It even had a second print run in the same year it came out! I saw a glimmer of hope: the idea that I could be an economically independent woman, at that time a real affront to society..."

Jane Austen started writing at the age of thirteen and published six great novels in her life. A pugnacious woman, she refused to marry for money and managed to make a living from her pen by looking at her society from behind. Her works, witnesses of the English spirit of her time, know a huge revival of popularity when they are adapted to the cinema in the 1990s.

By Helen, author of the tour "The Romantic strenght of women".

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