Jane Austen’s Letters
Deirdre Le Faye
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 the unmistakable 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 discreet and 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 revealing view 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.
For someone fairly new to Austen studies, who knows the novels and even the minor works but who is yet to immerse themselves in these tender, touching, entertaining products of their author's mind, there could be no better gift. * The Newsletter of the Jane Austen Society, no. 38 * [a] landmark collection ... Le Faye's work combines a meticulous compilation of data about the physical attributes and indexes that allow us to read over Austen's shoulder as she shares everyday news and frank opinions with family and friends. * Newsletter of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Volume 28: Issue Number 2 * These are the letters of our greatest novelist ... they give glances and hints at her life from the age of 20 to her death at 41, the years in which she wrote her six imperishable books * Claire Tomalin, Independent on Sunday * it is possible to appreciate Le Faye's edition for what it offers to readers both casual and academic. Most importantly, this is a highly readable text. ... Carefully detailed notes, biographical and topographical indexes, and bibliographical information about primary and secondary sources all contribute to the reader's sense that Le Faye's professional thoroughness has indeed made accessible 'the daily business' of Austen's world. * RES New Series, vol.XLVIII, No.190, 1997 * Wiht little else to fill that ordinary life, Jane had plenty of time to write letters. They were witty, intimate and gossipy and brought alive her contemporaries and their surroundings. More than 160 are collected here, annotated and placed in chronological order. * Oxford Times * Le Faye re-orders the letters chronologically and provides useful background information. She also includes previously unpublished material. * The Express * Most will enjoy reading Austen unbuttoned, in an unfussy and intelligently edited volume. * Sam Leith, The Observer * for those who are starting to get the novels confused with the films, here is a chance to enjoy their beloved Jane at her most direct ... a generous and comprehensive book * Max Davidson, The Daily Telegraph * We waited a long time for the new edition. It was well worth the wait. * Jane Austen Society of North America * Review from previous edition Review from previous edition Deidre Le Faye's new edition is necessary and very welcome; no one was better qualified, no one could have done it so well. * Independent on Sunday *
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