happy birthday Jane Austen

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Jane Austen was born 240 years ago today, on 16 December 1775.  Over two centuries later, she’s still one of the most widely read writers in the English language.

Interestingly, she appeared to ignore the ‘rules’ we writers are taught today: much of her writing is ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’, and she changes Point of View (shock horror!) not only in the same chapter but also in the same scene. Look at ‘Emma’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ for some examples.

The beloved British novelist wrote prolifically and while her works were generally popular when they were published, they brought her little personal fame during her lifetime, as she released them anonymously (the credit for Sense and Sensibility reads simply, “By a Lady.”)