Jane Austen parodies the romantic folly of men and women in pursuit of love, marriage, and money through the humorous adventures of young Catherine on holiday in Bath.
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Northanger Abbey is the earliest of Jane Austen's great comedies of female enlightenment and combines literary burlesque - making fun of the excesses of the Gothic novel - with larger moral, philosophical, and social issues: the folly of letting literature get in the way of life, the inexcusability of not thinking for oneself, and the painful difficulties (especially for women) involved in growing up. Lady Susan and The Watsons are early compositions that reflect many of the qualities of Northanger Abbey. The first is an epistolary novel centring on the intrigues of the villainous Lady Susan; the second is an unfinished example of Jane Austen's most characteristic form - a story where the heroine is outstanding for her sense and goodness, virtues notably lacking in the other characters, who are here part of an altogether bleaker vision. Sanditon, too, is tragically incomplete, and it signals the achievement of a new depth and breadth of comic insight on the part of its author.
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Jane Austen (1775-1817) is considered by many scholars to be the first great woman novelist. Born in Steventon, England, she later moved to Bath and began to write for her own and her family's amusement. Her novels, set in her own English countryside, depict the daily lives of provincial middle-class families with wry observation, a delicate irony, and a good-humored wit. Glenda Jackson is the winner of two Academy Awards for her roles in Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She also received an Emmy for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the acclaimed BBC production Elizabeth R. She won a seat in the British Parliament in 1992 and now devotes her time to politics.