When Jane Austen died, at the age of 41, she left behind her not only six novels but a large number of manuscripts, ranging from juvenile works to the novel that she was writing at the time of her final illness. The six published novels are now undisputed classics. The manuscripts, however, despite the extraordinary writing they contain and the way in which they illuminate Jane Austen’s work as a novelist, are much less well known. From the brilliance of the juvenilia to the urbane modernity of ‘Sanditon’ these works show Austen pushing the conventional boundaries of fiction, exploring the implications of vulgarity and violence, experimenting with different styles and tones, and practicing and refining her arts of narrative.
This Broadview Edition includes “Lady Susan,’ “The Watsons,” “Sanditon,” and ten important early manuscript works. Historical appendices include Austen’s letters on fiction; continuations written by Austen’s niece and nephew of two of her early works; and Sir Walter Scott’s important critical appraisal of Austen from 1816.
“As the informative and scholarly Introduction suggests, these manuscript works, with their combination of boisterous satire and cool detachment, throw a startling light on Jane Austen’s writing practices and the achievements of her great novels. Edited by three distinguished Austen scholars, with useful notes at the bottom of the page, this is a volume all teachers and lovers of her work will want to possess.” — John Wiltshire, La Trobe University, Melbourne
“Here, in a form fully annotated and accessible to students, we have ‘the Other Jane Austen’—a selection of the juvenilia, the wicked ‘Lady Susan,’ and the tantalising fragments ‘The Watsons’ and ‘Sanditon.’ No longer buried as ‘Minor Works,’ these sparkling productions, unpublished in her lifetime, provide indispensable insight into a brilliant author at work and at play.” — Juliet McMaster, University of Alberta