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Selected Letters

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In one of her personal letters, Jane Austen wrote "Little Matters they are to be sure, but highly important." In fact, letter-writing was something of an addiction for young women of Jane Austen's time and in her social position, and Austen's letters have a freedom and familiarity that only intimate writing can convey. Wiser than her critics, who were disappointed that her ...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2004)
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Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, classics
I didn’t specifically read this edition but a collection of Austen’s letters from the public domain. Quite enjoyed reading them even though I felt like a bit of an interloper. The letters are about the everyday average things (such as discussing Mansfield Park with her brother or sharing the news of the death of her father). Truly humanizes the woman behind the novel.
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Well Jane Austen was a lot more snarky than I had assumed!
Well what to say these are everyday letters sent from Jane Austen to Cassandra or other people and like domestic life usually is this was mostly a dull read. Probably with context it would have been more interesting. But one gets glimpses into the wit and intelligence of Jane Austen. As well into her reading taste or what plays she attended (Macbeth, Tartuffe,..). And of course everything related to the creation of her books or the selling/earning aspect of it was fascinating. (P. & P is sold., ...more
Some of Jane Austen’s personal correspondences... interesting reading, she writes letters just as well as she writes novels.
Grace Tjan
Many people who read Austen’s letters feel that something is missing; surely the author of Pride and Prejudice and other novels famous for their adroit writing could have produced better letters! There are instances where her sarcastic wit and humor shines through, as when she wryly described a dinner party guest as being ‘at once both expensively and nakedly dressed’, but to get at them we must wade through pages of fabric prices, travel logistics and seemingly random gossipy tidbits about peop ...more
Apr 28, 2014 added it
Shelves: jane-austen
“You deserve a longer letter than this; but it is my unhappy fate seldom to treat people so well as they deserve.” Jane Austen, 24 December 1798

Jane Austen’s personal correspondence has stirred up controversy since her untimely death in 1817 at age 41. The next year her brother Henry Austen wrote in the ‘Biographical Notice of the Author’ included with the publication of her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion that she ‘never dispatched a note or a letter unworthy of publication’. Years late
Anthea Gupta
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The letters are edited by Vivien Jones. Austen is funny, gossipy, and sly. Well worth reading.
Alyce Hunt
Having read the majority of Jane Austen's novels in the last few months, I've found myself a little obsessed with her. I think she's such an amazing character, with sassy wit, a feminist mind and a sharp tongue which all make her so accessible despite the 200 years separating us.
When I spotted this book of letters in the library where I work, I picked it up without hesitation. The opportunity to get inside the mind of a genius was irresistible.
Jane herself acknowledges that her letters are full
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this collection an excellent way of learning about the life of Jane Austen, her relationship with her family and friends, particularly her sister Cassandra and to a certain extent the inspiration for her novels.

It is interesting to note that back in Austen's day, the recipient of the letter actually paid for the letter so it was only right that the sender fill the whole page with as much content as possible, as otherwise the recipient would be payng for empty space.

As this was essentia
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am having a hard time getting through this one.. I love JA but while it is interesting seeing her letters and things about her day to day life, it is just taking me a really long time to read.

Finally finished! I did enjoy reading about Jane's life as she is a most beloved author to me, but did have a hard time getting through it. Since most of the letters are about day to day life, there was nothing spurning me on to get to the end.
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
See my review on my book blog: ...more
Jo Hurst
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let me get one thing straight Jane Austen is my favourite author by a long way and I have read a few of her books more times than I can remember but ( and I believe I will be struck down for this) I hated this! I was looking forward to reading her letters but without context, with bits missing and a constant need to look at notes in the back of the book just killed this for me. Yes she still writes well and is gossipy and all the things that you would expect. But all the letters seem pointless b ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"My Dearest Cassandra:
I do not wish to tell you that your mulberry trees are dead... but, they are not exactly alive....."

Sweet Jane.
Imagine what this woman would have done with a twitter account.
Rebecca Wilson
These letters are...interesting in their boringness. Quotidian existence, quietly lived; not a lot happens, but it's always humbling to see how little people have changed over the centuries. I was expecting this book to be something comforting to read before bed, but these letters often left me feeling a little sad, I'm not sure why. I'm glad she had such a rich inner life.

I struggled with this edition, especially the choice to use endnotes rather than footnotes—so aggravating.
Jessica Harn
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Austen will always be one the greatest British writers in history, and her personal letters give us a small look into her life and thoughts. A must read for Austen fans
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So sad that not all of her letters have survived.
Natalie Quinn
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This was so interesting. Loved reading about Austen's daily life and getting a glimpse into this period. As I've recently started writing letters myself, I found this really interesting and really enjoyed highlighting parts that I found particularly amusing and intriguing. ...more
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I must start off by saying I do love Jane Austen. In July I re-read Northanger Abbey during my first month of re-reading, and it made me want to re-read everything of hers soon. I then bought this book of letters and a collection of her juvenilia. I wanted to love this collection, was fully prepared to be captivated by Jane Austen’s life. So it is with some regret I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I had failed to remember that these are private letters, their intended audience only that pe ...more
 Gigi Ann
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen Fans
I ran across this book at Barnes & Nobles a few years ago and put off reading it until this month. What a pleasant surprise. This is a book of selected letters that Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra.

The letters may not match the idealized view of Jane Austen, but they were anything but uninteresting. In any case the charm of the letters lies in the things Jane wrote to Cassandra. In her letter dated 27 October 1798 we get a glimpse of her dark humorous side. She wrote Cassandra, "Mrs Ha
Alexandra Freire
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
De que manera puedo empezar a escribir sobre este libro. Creo que ya he mencionado anteriormente que Jane Austen es mi escritora favorita y todo el misterio y misticismo que la rodea me atrae de sobremanera cada vez que conozco más acerca de su vida, desde la causa aun hasta estos tiempos desconocida de su muerte, como era físicamente (ya que el retrato de su hermana dibujado es el único que se tiene), el contenido de la mayoría de sus cartas que fueron quemadas por su propia hermana y que las s ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"Little Matters they are to be sure, but highly important." - Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister Cassandra, Dec 1808

Jane Austen's Selected Letters act as a fascinating insight into her life. She was a gossip, always ready and eager to share the latest news of her acquaintances with others, especially her sister Cassandra. In one letter she even joked how she was so tired of Cassandra "knowing nobody" and having little gossip to provide in return.

Jane Austen's letters reveal a preoccupation w
The Selected Letters of Jane Austen are indeed charming and a joy to read. The reason I abandoned this book is because it is VERY long... There are 161 letters, all of which come with explanatory notes, so it's like reading an in-depth novel. Most of the allusions in the letters, you wouldn't get without reading the explanatory notes.

I love Jane Austen's works, and I felt that this book gave an interesting insight into her life and relationship with Cassandra, her sister, but at the same time I
Andrea Hickman Walker
This is a collection of some of Jane Austen's letters. It's not all the surviving letters that have ever been found (I wouldn't mind Deirdre Le Faye's volume of those, actually, but I've never yet seen it in South Africa). Most of Austen's letters were destroyed by her sister, Cassandra, as she felt they were too private for public consumption. I don't blame her and I doubt not that it was what Austen herself would have wanted, but I do lament it.

The letters give some insight into Austen's life
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, non-fiction
“What fine weather this is! Not very becoming perhaps early in the morning, but very pleasant out of doors at noon, and very wholesome — at least everyone fancies so, and imagination is everything.”

“I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth; I have been talking to you almost as fast as I could the whole of this letter.”
Sep 30, 2010 marked it as to-read
This is so pretty. I want it.
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jane-austen
read a long time ago. added to knowledge of Jane Austen and her life.
Cate Meredith
Loved this but the introduction was awful.
Mar 28, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, austen
Started: May 14, 2007
Juan Guzman
good book i read most of what she wrote
Suzan Lauder
rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2013
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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 gentr

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