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Jane Austen's Letters
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Jane Austen's Letters

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,124 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
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 modern biographies. R W Chapman's ground-breaking edition of the Letters first appeared in 1932, and a second edition followed t ...more
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published May 25th 1995 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1932)
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Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
Got this for a Christmas present! Woot!

First part of my Review: The Editing. Le Faye's work is a concise, scholarly job; this book deserves the reputation it has. It is as heavily detailed and full of excellent minutiae as JA's letters. Included are all the lists you'll need to understand the reading: places mentioned in the letters, general index, list of initials used in reference, bibliography, even a biographical index of the people JA talks about. One thing struck me here: JA had such an in
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really great look into this time period - although I was painfully aware that this was a well-to-do white woman, especially when she seemed to spend a lot of her time discussing gossip, visits, and clothes. I liked the second half better, when she's talking more about writing and events, and there are more letters to her nieces and nephews. What an excellent large family! I especially admired Cassandra and Jane's close relationship.
Marsali Taylor
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if these letters weren't by Jane Austen, they'd be worth reading for the way they take you right into the lives lived by the lower country gentry in the late Georgian era. The quiet country life? It's worse even than Shetland ... a constant round of calling on neighbours and them calling on you, keeping in touch with relatives by letter, dinner parties, balls, theatres, visits of a fortnight or more with other relatives ... and in among that you had to harvest your fruit and vegetables and ...more
At first glance this letter collection may just seem like trivial tales of an uneventful everyday life - but under the trifling discussions of silk stockings, dinner menus and minor balls lies the heart of the most accomplished writer who ever lived.

These letters offer intimate insights in Jane Austen's way of thinking, reasoning and living. This book is the most direct impression one could ever gain of Jane Austen herself. And it is fascinating.
From the loving, gentle and comforting letters t
I find this book impossible to rate in term of stars. It's a brick of a book of which almost half is footnotes; extremly well researched. On the other hand it's a brick of a book and almost half the book is footnotes so physically difficult to read and nearly impossible to get through. I did it through sheer stuborness. All the spelling mistakes are kept which is great for accuracy but a small hell to read. The letters(as is always the case) are what they are. This book is great for researchers ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-auto-bio
A joy to read. It's like having afternoon tea with Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, or Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. All the tidbits of daily living, in such a neighbourhood as theirs, circa late 18th, early 19th Century. Nothing could satisfy more!
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her wit and humor resonate on every page—find out just how delightful Jane would be to sit next to at a dinner party, and how much more clever her catty observations would be than your own. Exceptionally footnoted by scholar (and Austen devotee) Deidre Le Faye.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graduate, nonfiction
A close reading of these letters quickly dispels any illusions of Austen as a proper, humourless, spinster aunt. Austen's letters are funny, witty, and occasionally downright cruel.
This was a wonderful collection of letters. Austen had an amazing command of words and you see her wit and imagination shine through in every seemingly little detail of daily life and gossip. Not exactly sure why I'm only giving it four stars, perhaps because I would have enjoyed reading it better in a different format, perhaps because I mourn the days of letter writing, perhaps because of the sadness that none of these wonderful communications were directed to me by what was obviously, an admir ...more
Jane Austen's letters are wonderful reading--pithy, scathing and hilarious observations of her world and the people in it to her sister Cassandra, and interesting advice on writing and love to her nieces Anna and Fanny. For the Austen aficinadoas, I'd definitely recommend this complete, chronological collection of the known surviving letters over some of the illustrated compilations out there.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
Originally published at Majoring in Literature.

There is something decidedly voyeuristic about reading the private correspondence of another person. Even if that person happens to have died almost two hundred years ago.

Collections of Jane Austen's letters have been around since the 1930s, when R. W. Chapman first began assembling them for historians and lovers of the famous author to peruse at will. Since then many have been rediscovered, and the collection has grown with every new edition.

So wha
Warmisunqu Austen
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reseñas

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Las cartas están escritas en un estilo llano y sencillo sin cesar esa vena irónica y llena de humor de principio a fin con amplios detalles de su vida cotidiana, sus gustos, sus preferencias literarias, sus opiniones sobre el carácter de la gente que ya conocía y las que iba conociendo por primera vez. Carta a carta nos adentramos en aquellos momentos que compartió con sus seres queridos y amigos, me entristeció todas aquellas mi
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austenesque
Intended more for scholarly readers than a casual audience, this is exactly what is says, a collection of every surviving scrap of letter Jane Austen wrote to anyone (mainly family) during her lifetime. Everytime someone writes a preface to her books, or creates a new biopic they look here for what she was really like. I did learn that the letters that were destroyed and censored by her surviving sister usually had to do with areas where she had described physical symptoms or made mildly dispara ...more
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Conscious of every word she puts down, as one might expect such a great stylist to be. I can't help but hold it against Cassandra Austen that she burnt a good number of Jane Austen's letters. Written with a good deal of irony and sensitivity; the snippets -- few as they are -- regarding her art and the art of others are quite invaluable. The only thing that irked me was 1. the loss of letters, attributable to CEA, and 2. the proliferation of dashes and lack of paragraphing which made ...more
Galena Sanz
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una excelente recopilación de las cartas de la conocida escritora. Ha sido muy interesante poder conocer a Jane Austen como escritora, saber cómo era su día a día, como se relacionaba con los demás, como reaccionaba ante la publicación de sus obras... El final de su vida es muy triste y su hermana Cassandra lo relata muy bien en una carta a su sobrina Fanny. Normalmente no dejo aquí enlaces a las reseñas de mi blog, pero puesto que esta vez he publicado antes la reseña que mi opinión aquí, lo de ...more
Jo Walton
It's Jane Austen's letters, enough said, really.

I wish there were more, but I cherish what we have, every trimmed bonnet, every ell of lace, every bit of fretting about who her niece is going to marry. It's fascinating actually to consider how many people write books set in the period without having read these, when they're so full of the minutiae.

And... this isn't a review, but it's a response. I wouldn't have written this without reading these letters:
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly well researched book of JA's letters, notes on pretty much everything you can think of (watermarks, postmarks, corrections she made, historical information), multiple indexes.
I did struggle with this book, due to its size and flipping back and forth - I read the letter first, then the notes for that letter.
I would recommend this (hardcover) book to anyone who loves JA, with scholarly ambitions or just for pleasure.
Carol Sue
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a JA addict. I read her books and letters over and over again. This time I am struck how kind and loving she was to her nieces, especially Fanny Knight, and what a backstabbing niece Fanny was much later in life toward her dead aunt.
Peter Mcconnell
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What else is there to say about Jane Austen's letters? A glimpse of a life, and nothing more. Tantalizing and endearing and faithful to the end.
I've read many of Austen's letters and loved them, and while I intend to finish this edition, there's quite a lot to get through for one big chunk of reading. Will have to read in smaller pieces.
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read for any Austen fan! I particularly enjoyed reading her love advice and when she'd mention her characters.
Jennifer Forest
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It gives a great insight into Jane Austen's character and also what Cassandra Austen may have been like. Very interesting.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Do not read it unless you are prepared to fall in love with Jane Austen more than you probably already do, if you're even considering reading this book. Do not read this book unless you are prepared to laugh at her wit and her humor in the letters. Do not read this book unless you are prepared to, once in a while, utter an amused (and scandalized), "Jane!". Do not read this book unless you are prepared to start feeling like she truly is one
Courtney Hancock
Mar 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So boring. Such a shame that the good letters were destroyed.
When I found this book in the university library, I had a quiet fangirl attack (of course, I was in the library). I wanted to read these, because I’m always curious about writers’ private lives. It’s one thing to read their work, and quite another to read stuff that was meant for family and friends.

I wasn’t disappointed at all. In Jane Austen’s novels, there’s a lot of attention paid to the little details in the character’s daily lives. And in the letters there’s a lot of detail. It was great pi
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Jane's voice. As it's a scholarly work, though, it's a bit difficult to get through this book, because it's a doorstop - Jane wrote a lot of letters! Also, if you insist on checking all the notes, you're going back and forth all the time. I ended up putting a bookmark in the notes section corresponding to where I was in the letter, and not bothering to check unless it was something I really wanted to know more about.

I loved the parts where Jane was writing about the pub
What a privilege to read 20 years of private correspondence from a person I admire so much.

My lasting impression is of the eloquence with which Jane and Cassandra expressed themselves, particularly when offering sympathy at the death of family and friends.

The work that has gone into producing this book is incredible, but even so there are some improvements which could be made: putting the notes with the letters rather than in an index at the back; printing images of the letters with the text; p
This is the complete collection of the surviving letters of Jane Austen (about 150) and a must-read book by all of her fans. This will give you the chance to take a peek inside the mind of this witty genius.

Most of Jane Austen's letters in this are addressed to her sister Cassandra, but there are also letters to her brothers, friends, and towards the end, her nieces and nephews as well as publishers. For those who are interested, the very first letter has its mention of Tom Lefroy. (personally
As a self confessed voyeur, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these letters. There's nothing titillating -- aside from a few heartbreaking moments, the letters mainly consists of lots of chatter about absolutely mundane aspects of life. The voice, however, is what is so charming. Nothing is measured here. And I cannot help but wonder, how much we reveal of ourselves when we speak about nothing. Jane Austen's letters reveal a woman I would greatly like to know better.

Didn't get full marks though beca
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book took quite a commitment. I think I checked it out four times, plus renewed it each time I was able to. Because I read it over such a long stretch, it's hard for me to remember my impressions of the beginning. I do remember thinking how clever Jane Austen was, which comes through in her letters as much as in her books.

And towards the end, especially as her books started being published and she started writing more letters (or at least, more of them were preserved) to her nieces and neph
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Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry
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“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” 8259 likes
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