Austen’s hilarious early stories and sketches—complete with her delightfully quirky spelling habits—now collected in one volume, including Lady Susan, the basis for Whit Stillman's feature film Love and Friendship starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny
Jane Austen’s earliest writing dates from when she was just eleven-years-old, and already shows the hallmarks of her mature work. But it is also a product of the times in which she grew up—dark, grotesque, often surprisingly bawdy, and a far cry from the polished, sparkling novels of manners for which she became famous. Drunken heroines, babies who bite off their mothers’ fingers, and a letter-writer who has murdered her whole family all feature in these highly spirited pieces. This edition includes all of Austen’s juvenilia, including her “History of England” - written by a 'partial, prejudiced and ignorant Historian and the novella Lady Susan, in which the anti-heroine schemes and cheats her way through high society. With a title that captures a young Austen’s original idiosyncratic spelling habits and an introduction by Christine Alexander that shows how Austen was self-consciously fashioning herself as a writer from an early age, this is a must-have for any Austen lover.
About the Author
JANE AUSTEN (1775–1817) was the seventh child of the rector of the parish. In her youth she wrote many burlesques, parodies and other stories, including a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan. The novels published in Austen’s lifetime include Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816). Persuasion was written in a race against failing health, and was published, together with Northanger Abbey posthumously in 1818. Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817.
CHRISTINE ALEXANDER is the Scientia Professor of English at the University of New South Wales, general editor of the Juvenilia Press and co-editor of The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf (2005).
"The kind of thing any casual Austen lover (which should be all of us, if we are human beings who can read) can leave on his or her coffee table. It’s perfect to pick up at any given moment, flip through and enjoy the page before you, thinking all the while about a teenage girl in the British countryside over 200 years ago, who is still making us crack up with her imagination and wit.” --Flavorwire
"Finely produced...for anyone languishing with a broken heart there is no better tonic than the comedy - and indeed the cathartic violence - of Jane Austen's youthful writings." --Times Literary Supplement
"Had she written nothing but these early squibs, the author of “Frederic and Elfrida” might be remembered by a few scholars as a kind of eccentric girl genius—the Stevie Smith of 18th-century fiction. Instead, we have the extraordinary pleasure of seeing the greatest novelist in our language goofing off." --The Washington Free Beacon