Jane Austen revolutionized the literary romance, using it as a platform from which to address issues of gender politics and class consciousness among the British middle-class of the late eighteenth century. The novels included in the collection – Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan – represent all of Austen’s complete novels, and provide the reader with an entrance into the world she and her memorable characters inhabited.
With witty, unflinching morality, Austen portrays English middle-class life as the eighteenth century came to a close and the nineteenth century began. Austen’s heroines find happiness in many forms, each of the novels is a story of love and marriage — marriage for love, financial security and for social status.
In a publishing career that spanned less than ten years her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime. It wasn’t until the 1940s that she became widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a fan culture. Austen’s works continue to influence the course of the novel even as they charm readers today.