Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary as well as her acclaimed plots have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma, she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion—both published posthumously in 1818—and began a third, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th century realism. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.