Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Cat in the Stax: Author Spotlight: Jane Austen

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Wednesday, Wildcats! Spring is officially here! Yesterday, March 19, was the first day of spring. We’ve already had some warmer weather, and flowers are starting to bloom. Take some time to sit outside this week and enjoy the spring weather.

There’s nothing I love more than sitting outside reading a good book. Villanova’s campus is great because there are so many benches and chairs to sit on as well as large green spaces perfect for pulling out a blanket to lie down on. If you don’t have any books to read, might I suggest any novel written by Jane Austen?

This month’s Author Spotlight features renowned English novelist Jane Austen. Born on Dec. 16th, 1775, Austen wrote six complete novels during her lifetime before her death in 1817 at age 41. Her literary works are distinctly modern in their creation and exploration of ordinary characters and daily life in 18th and 19th century England.

Image from Archive Photos/Getty Images

Austen was the seventh out of eight children and only one of two daughters. Her father was a reverend who fostered an environment of learning. Although her family was large, they were close and affectionate with one another. Creating and acting out plays together was a favorite pastime for the family. By the time she was 12, Austen began writing her own stories. This collection of writings filled three whole notebooks and became known as her Juvenilia.

The first of her works to be published was Sense and Sensibility which was published in October 1811 and received immediate success and praise as the first edition completely sold out by 1813. This book tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who move into a relative’s country estate after their father’s death.

Perhaps Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813) was another instant success. This story follows Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and the hate-to-love relationship she has with wealthy landowner Mr. Darcy.

Mansfield Park was the next book to be introduced to readers. Published in 1814, this novel was not received as well by critics as Austen’s earlier novels, but it was still incredibly popular with the public and actually became one of Austen’s best-selling books at the time. Mansfield Park is the most serious of her novels as it incorporates a discussion of religion and religious duty through the moral strength of its heroine, Fanny Price.

Austen’s Emma (1815) was the last novel to be published during her lifetime. A more comedic tale, Emma tells the story of its namesake, Emma Woodhouse, and the successes and failures she experiences in her attempts at matchmaking.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the 1995 film Clueless was actually inspired by Emma and is a contemporary take on the novel?

Image by Leah Newhouse from

Jane Austen’s final two finished novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were both published posthumously in 1817. Northanger Abbey satirizes Gothic novels through its heroine Catherine Moreland, whose love of Gothic thrillers influences her interpretations and clouds her rational judgement. Persuasion is about reawakened love and second chances when Anne Elliot meets her old love Captain Wentworth after rejecting his marriage proposal seven years prior.

Jane Austen’s literary masterpieces are still incredibly popular today, inspiring numerous movie adaptations and television shows and cementing their place in the English literary canon among the classics. Her stories all feature strong women engaging in journeys of self-discovery and finding enduring love in the process. Witty, light, realistic, and written in elegant prose, these novels have entertained readers for centuries. If you’re looking for something fun to read this spring, I definitely recommend a novel by this much beloved author.

Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.



Last Modified: March 20, 2024

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top