Northanger Abbey, a satire on the Gothic romance, was sold to a publisher for £10 in 1803, but as it was not published, was bought back by members of the family and was finally issued posthumously. The novels published in Austen's lifetime were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Persuasion was issued in 1818 with Northanger Abbey. The author's name did not appear on any of her title pages, and although her own friends knew of her authorship, she received little public recognition in her lifetime.
Jane Austen's novels are comedies of manners that depict the self-contained world of provincial ladies and gentlemen. Most of her works revolve around the delicate business of providing husbands for marriageable daughters. She is particularly noted for her vivid delineations and lively interplay of character, her superb sense of comic irony, and her moral firmness. She ridicules the silly, the affected, and the stupid, ranging in her satire from light portraiture in her early works to more scornful exposures in her later novels. Her writing was subjected to the most careful polishing. She was quite aware of her special excellences and limitations, comparing herself to a miniaturist. Today she is regarded as one of the great masters of the English novel. Her minor works include her Juvenilia, the novel Lady Susan, and the fragments The Watsons and Sanditon.
See her letters (ed. by R. W. Chapman, 2d ed. 1965); biographies by J. A. Hodge (1972), J. Halperin (1986), P. Honan (1988), V. G. Myer (1997), D. Nokes (1997), C. Tomalin (1997), and C. Shields (2001); studies by A. W. Litz (1965), F. W. Bradbook (1966), A. M. Duckworth (1971), K. Kroeber (1971), F. B. Pinion (1973), S. M. Tave (1973), and C. Johnson (1988).
Godwin-Austen was the eldest son of Sir Henry E. Austen. He was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, of which he became a fellow in 1830. He afterwards entered Lincoln's Inn. In 1833 he married the only daughter and heiress of General Sir Henry T. Godwin, K.C.B., and he took the additional name of Godwin by Royal licence in 1834. At Oxford as a pupil of William Buckland he became deeply interested in geology. Soon afterwards he met and was inspired by Henry De la Beche and assisted him by making a geological map of the neighbourhood of Newton Abbot in Devon, which was embodied in the Geological Survey map. He also published an elaborate memoir On the Geology of the South-East of Devonshire (Trans. Geol. Soc. ser. 2, vol. viii.).
His attention was next directed to the Cretaceous rocks of Surrey, his home county - his estates being situated at Chilworth and Shalford near Guildford. Later he dealt with the superficial deposits bordering the English Channel, and with the erratic boulders of Selsey. In 1855 he brought before the Geological Society of London his paper On the possible Extension of the Coal-Measures beneath the South-Eastern part of England, in which he pointed out on well-considered theoretical grounds the likelihood of coal measures being some day reached in that area. In this article he also advocated the freshwater origin of the Old Red Sandstone, and discussed the relations of that formation, and of the Devonian, to the Silurian and Carboniferous.
He was elected F.R.S. in 1849, and in 1862 he was awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London, on which occasion he was styled by Roderick Murchison pre-eminently the physical geographer of bygone periods. He died at Shalford House near Guildford. His son, Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen was also a geologist.