Day 198 — Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Born in 1775 in Hampshire, UK, Jane Austen was not known as a popular author during her life, but after her novels — amongst them, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility — gained popularity in the late 1800s, they have continued to be admired, analysed and transformed into many different formats — drama, films and various adaptations worldwide (some even with zombies); even award-winning web-series and card games.

While not a philosopher, her work investigates and questions the role of the individual and society, ethical behaviour, self-control and self-awareness. Living life well and contributing to family and community are just some of the themes explored within her work. As A. C. Bradley wrote, “Like Johnson, [Austen is] a moralist. Her morality [is] not merely embodied in her plots, it is often openly expressed…. Her explicit statements and comments are often well worth pondering.”.

As it’s the 200th year after her death — and she’s recently appeared on a UK banknote in recognition of her work — I’ve collected a number of resources on the author and philosophy; if you find more, let me know!

Further Resources:

Philosophy In The Garden by Damon Young

Jane Austen and Philosophy

Reading Jane Austen as a Moral Philosopher

Aristotelean Happiness and Jane Austen

The Great Novelists — Jane Austen

David Lassman’s “Rejecting Jane Austen”