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The Life of the Author: Jane Austen


The Life of the Author: Jane Austen

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 09/26/2022
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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A fresh approach to building the life of Jane Austen through her letters, demonstrating that a well-known life can be reframed by being grounded in evidence of that life

The Life of the Author: Jane Austen takes readers on a literary-biographical journey through Austen's life in letters. Using a unique non-linear approach, author Catherine Delafield explores three frames for Austen's literary life—family, correspondents, and fiction—to suggest new pathways for the interpretation of life writing about one of the most popular and influential English novelists of all time. Delafield addresses multiple aspects of Austen's epistolary practice and the ways in which her letters, juvenile writings, and unpublished novels have been overlaid on both biography and fiction.

Throughout the text, special attention is paid to the changing view of women’s correspondence as personal record and to Cassandra Austen's role as editor of her sister’s surviving letters. The book opens with selected readings from Austen's letters and a review of the family treatment of the life. Subsequent chapters discuss the female circle of correspondents in both extant and missing letters, the letter content and structure of Austen's novels, the use of letters as representations of places and spaces based on Austen's own lived experience of epistolary communication, and more.

  • Discusses how the letters, correspondents, and novels supplement Jane Austen’s fiction and substantiate her life
  • Highlights Austen's use of the letter as a conversation on paper, rather than as an autobiographical tool
  • Explores the letters within Austen's fictional writing as well as recipes, accounts, and needlework with links to the letters
  • Features a select chronology using letters as landmarks, tables representing surviving letters by correspondent, and family trees tracing names and relationships

The Life of the Author: Jane Austen is an excellent text for undergraduate and graduate courses on the novel, women's writing, British writing, and life writing, as well as for general readers with interest in gaining new perspectives on Austen's chronological life and literary output.

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