Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose realism, biting social commentary and masterful use of free indirect speech, burlesque and irony have earned her a place as one of the most widely-read and best-loved writers in British literature.--------During her own lifetime, Austen's works brought her little fame and only a few positive reviews. Through the mid-nineteenth century, her novels were admired only by a literary elite. However, the publication of her nephew's A Memoir of the Life of Jane Austen in 1870 made her life and her works visible to a wider public. By the 1940s, Austen was firmly ensconced in academia as a "great English writer" and the second half of the twentieth century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship, exploring many aspects of her works: artistic, ideological, and historical. Currently, Austen's works are one of the most written-about and debated oeuvres in the academy.In popular culture, a Janeite fan culture has grown up centred on Austen's life, her works, and the various adaptations of them.