As one of the most influential, powerful and inspiring authors of her time, Jane Austen’s works have lived on in everything from books and short stories to television and movie adaptations. The worlds she created have woven themselves deep into society, and her rich critiques of society alongside brilliantly written characters have truly made her a writer for the ages.
In her relatively short life, Austen accomplished true literary greatness. Her most well-known books include Emma, Sense & Sensibility, and Pride & Prejudice – all books that live on and shine brightly to this day. With a childhood rich in imagination and a career spanning six books, Austen is a legend to be remembered.
Who Was Jane Austen?
Born in England in 1775 to George and Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen grew up alongside seven other siblings. Her British childhood encouraged imagination and exploration, and Jane’s time at boarding school ended up serving as a huge inspiration for her later works. Austen developed an early interest in writing, filling pages upon pages of notebooks with her words, ideas, and stories.
While Jane wrote more than we can probably ever even know, she ended up publishing just six novels. In fact, two novels were published after her death, and further unfinished works have been discovered over the years. While many of Jane’s books are incredibly well known, her most famous pieces of work include Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Emma.
Austen’s life, though filled with years of rich creativity and inspirational writings, was rather short. Austen died in England in 1817 at the age of just 42, following complications from sickness. After her death, Austen’s Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously.
How Many Books Did Jane Austen Write?
Jane Austen completed six full books, two of which were published posthumously. However, Jane Austen also had quite a few short stories under her belt. In all reality, it’s probably impossible for us to know how many pieces of writing Austen actually wrote.
The Complete List of Jane Austen Books
Sense & Sensibility (1811)
Austen’s first published work chronicles the growing up and the lives of the Dashwood sisters, who must move to a new home and experience pitfalls, love, and sadness along the way. The 1811 novel wasn’t published under Austen’s name – instead published anonymously, under “A Lady” – and was a huge success from the time of its publication on.
Pride & Prejudice (1813)
Austen’s second novel spins the tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and is a wildly famous and powerful novel. With commentary on everything from social norms to the idea of marrying for love instead of money, Pride & Prejudice is certainly an Austen piece that has well stood the test of time.
Mansfield Park (1814)
One of Austen’s lesser-known works, Mansfield Park tells the story and follows the life of Fanny Price, who is sent at a young age to live with her aunt and uncle. With everything included from adultery to family ties, this book is a must-read for any Austen lover.
In Jane Austen’s “Emma,” Austen explores a heroine with a spirited streak and fiery personality. In Austen’s last book to be published before her death, “Emma” deals with everything from romance to social commentary. With genuine, multifaceted characters, this book is an Austen original.
In the last book that Jane Austen wrote – and as one published posthumously – Persuasion is a considerably more adult and mature Austen read that balances between second chances, love, and the usual social commentary.
Northanger Abbey (1817)
While it was published posthumously, Northanger Abbey was one of the first books that Austen actually wrote. In this coming-of-age story, Austen writes about a woman who realizes that she’s more interested in living a happy life rather than one full of wealth.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” –Pride & Prejudice
“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.” –Sense & Sensibility
“It is only a novel … or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” –Northanger Abbey
“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” –Pride & Prejudice
“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” –Emma
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” –Pride & Prejudice
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” –Northanger Abbey
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” –Sense & Sensibility
“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” — Mansfield Park
“The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.” — Pride and Prejudice
“I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.’” – Letter to Mr. Clarke
“Without music, life would be a blank to me.” — Emma
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” –Persuasion
Set all across the southern pieces of England, Jane Austen’s books have reached far beyond Great Britain’s borders. With strong women at the helm and social commentary helping to lead the way, Austen’s books have earned a spot deep and high into the literary hierarchy of the world. From Emma and Sense & Sensibility to Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion, Austen’s books all show a timeless glimpse of a world we may have since forgotten.
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About the Author
At the ripe old age of 3, Susannah decided that life was just a blank canvas and took Magic Marker to the newly installed carpet in her room just to “see what happened.”
She’s taken that approach to life since, curious about pretty much everything. She earned a journalism degree from Texas A&M University with the mission of making asking questions and telling stories her life, and since then has done everything from social media strategizing and content creation on the national level to writing a career column for USA TODAY.
Susannah is a high school teacher and yearbook adviser with a huge passion for reading (Harry Potter is her absolute favorite) and is excited to bring another book-loving voice to Hooked to Books.