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Learning English - Beyond the Postcard
  Winchester audio

Jane Austen
Jane Austen is one of Britain's most famous authors. Novels such as 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Sense and Sensibility' are still popular today.The text below is from an interview with Tom Carpenter, administrator of Jane Austen's house in Winchester.

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  Winchester Jane Austen
 
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Jane Austen's background
She was born in ...(1)... 1775 and lived just 41 years until she died in July 1817. They only went to school in fact for 3 years though we think that a lot of education was probably done by father and mother at home because both of them had ...(2)... backgrounds. And it is from this comparatively modest start that she grows up to be the person who many in England at any rate, would put alongside Shakespeare and Dickens as one of Englandís greatest writers.
 
   

 
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A successful woman!
It certainly was unusual for a woman to indulge in a professional skill such as novel writing though indeed there had been women novelists before Jane Austen. However, Jane Austen takes the whole development of novel writing a major ...(3)... forward, in effect all Janeís stories involve a highly accurate socio-historical picture of what was going on around her in her own middle class society in England at the time.
 
   
 
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Still popular today
I think there are a ...(4)... of factors that come in to her popularity today because she is without question even today a best seller. I think that people enjoy the characters, or the character ...(5)... that she describes because they are timeless. There are characters that are serious, yes, there are characters who are romantic and there are characters who are absolute comedy. Thereís no doubt about it that if you look around today you could still find those characters even in modern settings. The other factor perhaps is a little bit of ...(6).... Everyone knows that in Jane Austenís writing youíre in a safe family story. Thereís no unnecessary violence, now and then family accidents but people generally recover. Itís a safe story which will have a happy ending eventually.
 
   

 
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Jane Austen and Winchester
By late 1816 she had become ...(7).... The local apothecary here in Alton had really got no idea but the family knew well a friend of high repute living in Winchester, Dr Lyford. So in May 1817 Cassandra (her sister) took her to Winchester, they took some lodgings at number 8 College Street, just ...(8)... the Cathedral there and Dr Lyford attended her. But sadly there was nothing he could do and it all took a hold very quickly and she died really in Cassandraís arms in the early hours of the 18th July 1817 so sheís buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Links for more information
Jane Austen's House Museum
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