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Jane Austen's Letters by Jane Austen
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Jane Austen's Letters (edition 2003)

by Jane Austen

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857521,669 (4.19)45
Jane Austen's letters afford a unique insight into the daily life of the novelist: intimate and gossipy, observant and informative, they bring alive her family and friends, her surroundings and contemporary events with a freshness unparalleled in biography. Above all we recognize theunmistakable voice of the author of Pride and Prejudice, witty and amusing as she describes the social life of town and country, thoughtful and constructive when writing about the business of literary composition.R. W. Chapman's ground-breaking edition of the collected Letters first appeared in 1932, and a second edition followed twenty years later. A third edition, edited by Deidre Le Faye in 1997, added new material, re-ordered the letters into their correct chronological sequence, and provided discreetand full annotation to each letter, including its provenance, and information on the watermarks, postmarks, and other physical details of the manuscripts. This fourth edition incorporates the findings of new scholarship to enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealingview yet of her life and family. There is a new preface, the biographical and topographical indexes have been amended and updated, a new subject index has been created, and the contents of the notes added to the general index.… (more)
Member:andrealibrarian
Title:Jane Austen's Letters
Authors:Jane Austen
Info:The Folio Society; Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:book of the month, british, folio, jane, letters

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Jane Austen's Letters by Jane Austen

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English (4)  Swedish (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 4 of 4
This wonderful volume includes all of Jane Austen's letters that are currently extant and is chock full of delicious goodies. There are tremendous insights into the woman that has become a cultural touchstone. We find Jane trading gossip with her sister Cassandra about the latest fashions, what clothes she bought in town, who she saw at the play, or the latest news about who was married or gave birth. There are letters about small and large family dramas and tragedies. There are letters traded with her publishers about her novels. There are also later letters in which she provides advice to her nieces on their own attempts at writing. While full of small details that are fascinating to scholars and hardcore Janeites, there are flashes of the wit that are in full evidence in her novels that appeal to more casual fans of her works. The third edition has an in-depth introduction, extensive notes, a comprehensive bibliography, and three separate indexes which ought to make it a useful volume for any scholar. And for a more casual reader who is simply fascinated by Jane Austen, the collection provides a brief insight into the woman behind the iconic heroines of her books. ( )
2 vote MickyFine | Mar 28, 2012 |
It's amazing that any of her letters survive! As an earlier reviewer said, you can pick it up on and off or read it straight through. There are copious notes regarding the place each letter was written, who the people are that are mentioned, and much more. I would have loved to read the letters Cassandra sent to Jane, but c'est la vie they aren't included if they survive. ( )
  lizzybeans11 | Apr 12, 2011 |
Very interesting window into her world.
  JenniferForest | Jun 30, 2009 |
Suited to either reading straight through, or dipping in and out of as the fancy takes you, Jane Austen's Letters is nicely arranged and presented and meticulously annotated. Austen's letters are frequently witty and always entertaining, with just enough of a hint of mischief to them to make me regret even more that her sister, Cassandra, burned so many of her letters after her death. As hefty a volume as this is, it really should be so much larger. ( )
2 vote siriaeve | Jul 4, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
...One can only deplore Cassandra’s high-handed actions after Austen’s death; these included burning great quantities of her sister’s letters and censoring others by snipping pieces out of them. The vast majority of these letters were written to Cassandra herself. Though Austen wrote from time to time to other members of the large Austen clan – her three brothers and their wives, various favourite nieces and nephews – Cassandra was the person around whom her life revolved, and she wrote regularly to her whenever they were separated. (Spinsters both, the two Austen sisters lived together all their adult lives – first at Steventon and Bath with their parents, then after their father’s death in 1805, with their mother and a female friend at Chawton in Hampshire.) ... Still, only 161 Austen letters are known to exist today, and many only in Cassandra-mangled form.

Deirdre Le Faye, editor of the excellent new revised Oxford edition of the letters, defends Cassandra somewhat backhandedly, suggesting that her weeding-out and censorship ‘shows itself more in the complete destruction of letters rather than in the excision of individual sentences; the “portions cut out” usually only amount to a very few words, and from the context it would seem that the subject concerned was physical ailment.’ Le Faye speculates that Cassandra, not wishing to cause embarrassment or ill-feeling, destroyed letters in which Austen wrote too freely or satirically about other family members. ...

Reading Austen’s letters to Cassandra, one cannot help but sense the primitive adhesiveness – and underlying eros – of the sister-sister bond. The first surviving letter dates from 1796, when Austen was 20 and Cassandra 23. From the start the tone is rhetorical, literary (not like a phone call at all), and one of whimsical yet fierce attachment. Austen wants more than anything to make her older sister laugh. As in her novels, she uses first lines flirtatiously, like comic bait, to catch Cassandra in webs of mock-heroic invention. ...

Once Cassandra is ensnared, Austen holds her fast with in-jokes and sisterly games of style, complete with loveable misspellings. For all the family gossip they impart, Austen’s letters remain intensely scripted: full of parodic references to shared reading and the cherished (or maligned) books of female adolescence.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austen, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Austen, Janemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Austen, Janemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Faye, Deirdre LeEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chapman, R.W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Faye, DeirdreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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collected and edited by Deirdre Le Faye
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Jane Austen's letters afford a unique insight into the daily life of the novelist: intimate and gossipy, observant and informative, they bring alive her family and friends, her surroundings and contemporary events with a freshness unparalleled in biography. Above all we recognize theunmistakable voice of the author of Pride and Prejudice, witty and amusing as she describes the social life of town and country, thoughtful and constructive when writing about the business of literary composition.R. W. Chapman's ground-breaking edition of the collected Letters first appeared in 1932, and a second edition followed twenty years later. A third edition, edited by Deidre Le Faye in 1997, added new material, re-ordered the letters into their correct chronological sequence, and provided discreetand full annotation to each letter, including its provenance, and information on the watermarks, postmarks, and other physical details of the manuscripts. This fourth edition incorporates the findings of new scholarship to enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealingview yet of her life and family. There is a new preface, the biographical and topographical indexes have been amended and updated, a new subject index has been created, and the contents of the notes added to the general index.

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