Born on this day: Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817). English novelist best known for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Her plots are noted for their exploration of the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Along with her realism, humour, and social commentary, Her use of biting irony, have lead to widespread acclaim among critics, scholars, and popular audiences alike.