My history hero: Jane Austen (1775–1817)
Broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh explains why he admires an 18th century author
Jane Austen (1775–1817) is one of the best-loved novelists in the history of English literature. She was born into the lower ranks of the landed gentry in Hampshire – the county in which, apart from a five-year spell living in Bath, she spent all of her life. Austen’s novels Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815) were critically ignored during her lifetime but have since won global acclaim for their wit, biting irony and brilliant social commentaries on Regency England. Two further novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, were published after Jane’s death, probably from Addison’s disease, in 1817.