Though not particularly taken by recent film adaptations of her novels, and well-used to my family calling me "Mr Bennett", I remember very much enjoying Pride and Prejudice when I read it as a student in France.
Today, Jane Austen is loved mainly as a charming guide to fashionable life in the Regency period. She is admired for portraying a world of elegant houses, dances, servants and fashionable young men driving barouches. But her own vision of her task was radically different, believes The School of Life. She was an ambitious – and stern – moralist. She was acutely conscious of human failings and she had a deep desire to make people nicer: less selfish, more reasonable, more dignified and more sensitive to the needs of others.