Jane Austin (1775-1817), first important woman novelist, was born and lived all her life in a little town, far away from hustle and bustle of the big cities. Her primary interest is people and the exact presentation of human situation. Her characters are really living creatures with their faults and virtues mixed as in real life. In Sence and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, Austin attempts no more than to show a small corner of English society. She was not so popular in her own time, because her novels lacked romantic and sentimental features which readers appreciated and needed. Instead, her novels always teach a moral and, something veru unusual for her age of romantism, she used the ironic tinge.
Austin studies life inside a family and that´s why her novel is called a family novel. She stresses the importance of the institution of the family and frank relations among people. Her preoccupation with characters, not only types, draws her prose to our own day. Austin created a gallery of rich and subtle comic portraits - Mr Woodhouse in Emma, Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion and many others. Her naturalistic dialogue is true to life. The characters are portrayed through their speech. Austin was a great observer of people and was able to construct the dialogues in the way the people really speak. She was a master of the dialogue. Her characters were not black and white. Nobody was only evil or only perfect and good. Her characters change and develop through the whole novel and that is also why they seem so real. The most famous works: Sence and Sensibility (1811) - the main subject (as in all her family novels) is marriage and searching for a convenient husband or wife. In two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, she portrayed the antithesis of common sence and sentimentality. Lady Susan (1792) - is the only novel where the main character is a bad woman. Lady Susan searches for a wealthy husband for her daughter´s suitor. Emma (1813) - technically is the most perfect novel.
Emma is not a bad woman, she is only too pampered and she wants the world to run according her wishes. Austin shows Emma often as a comic person and she uses a slight irony to describe her. Pride and Prejudice (1813) - here Austin presents a gallery of real characters and, by doing so, she taunts the upper class about their negative features. The style of Austin´s novels is very precise, balanced and simple. One of the main features of her works is ironic witticism. She presents life as a great comedy which ends happily for good people.