Box icon Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Pioneering novelist

Portrait of Jane Austen

Although in Jane Austen's time it was seen by some as unsuitable for women to make a living through writing, she managed to write six novels and increasingly manage her own business affairs. Her work is incredibly popular today and has been produced as plays, films and TV adaptations.

Given how popular her other works now are, it is perhaps surprising that they were not great bestsellers in their day and Austen never made a fortune from her writing. Although her novels concentrate on the issues surrounding matrimony, Austen herself never married. She was very close to her family, especially her sister Cassandra who inherited her literary copyrights.

John Murray II published four of Austen's novels:

  • 'Emma'
  • 'Mansfield Park'
  • 'Persuasion'
  • 'Northanger Abbey'.

The latter two were published after Austen's death in 1817. 'Emma' was reviewed by Sir Walter Scott in the 'Quarterly Review'.

Highlight items from the archive

NRA name: Austen, Jane (1775-1815). Novelist.

The National Register of Archives (NRA) contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history in archival holdings in the UK and overseas. You can find more information on the National Register of Archives name authority catalogue.

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Other Murray authors in literature:

'He is a rogue of course, but a civil one.'
– Jane Austen's opinion of John Murray II in a letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 16/17 October 1816 .

Map of Chawton House, one of the places Jane Austen lived and worked:

Map of Britain showing notable locations
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