English novelist Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 in Hampshire, England. Austen was primarily educated at home and spent most of her childhood with her seven siblings. She and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father’s library and spent much of their time putting on plays and acts for their parents. At age 14, Austen had already written a number of stories, and in her early twenties she had written the novels that she would later revise and publish as "Sense and Sensibiilty," "Pride and Prejudice," and "Northanger Abbey." Austen was closest to her father and her only sister, Cassandra. As a young woman, Austen lived with her family and spent much of her time writing, reading, socializing with the neighbors, and dancing. After her father’s unexpected death in 1801, Austen’s family found themselves in a tight financial situation. She, her mother, and her sister moved from place to place until they finally were able to settle at her brother’s cottage in Chawton. It was in her thirties that Austen began to anonymously publish her work. Her first three novels received a great deal of positive attention, but it was only after her death in 1817 that her brother made it publicly known that she was the author. Today, Austen is considered one of the great English writers, known for the wit and lively commentary that are embodied in her fiction.
"Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim."
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