Jane Austen was born in 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire. She was the seventh child of the local rector and her life, by modern standards, was uneventful. In 1801 she moved with her parents to Bath but returned to Hampshire when her father died, settling in the village of Chawton. She remained there until 1817, when she moved to Winchester to be within easy reach of her doctor. She died that year, at age forty-one, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral, which also contains a plaque in honor of her memory. Four of her novels were published anonymously in her lifetime; two more, one of which was Persuasion, appeared posthumously.
Deborah Lutz is the Morton Professor of English at the University of Louisville. Her most recent book, The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects, was shortlisted for the PEN/Weld Award for Biography. Her others books include Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture; The Dangerous Lover: Gothic Villains, Byronism, and the Nineteenth-Century Seduction Narrative; and Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism (Norton, 2011). She is the editor of the fourth Norton Critical Edition of Jane Eyre.