Love and Freindship: And Other Early Works (Barnes & Noble Gift Edition)

Love and Freindship: And Other Early Works (Barnes & Noble Gift Edition)

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Jane Austen wrote the delightfully silly Love and Freindship and Other Early Works in her teenage years to entertain her family. With its endearingly misspelled title, the collection of brief experimental sketches reveals the making of one of the best-loved authors of British literature

In “Love and Freindship” and “Lesley Castle,” Austen parodies the sentimental and Gothic novels of love at first sight, clandestine elopements, long-lost relatives, fainting, fatal riding accidents, adultery, and castles. In “The History of England,” Austen confirms that the only things children learn in their classrooms are a few dates and some inconsequential, but usually scandalous, details about the personal lives of monarchs. Fundamentally, though, the stories demonstrate the lively mind and ready wit of a teenage girl living in the late eighteenth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781435100398
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 10/08/2007
Series: Barnes & Noble Edition Series
Edition description: B&N Gift Edition
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 4.75(w) x 7.13(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jane Austen is best known as the author of six novels: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Persuasion (1817), and Northanger Abbey (1817).

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt


Jane Austen wrote the delightfully silly Love and Freindship and Other Early Works in her middle teenage years (1790-1793) to entertain her large and literary family. As inconsequential as this little volume, with its endearingly misspelled title, might seem, the collection of brief experimental sketches reveals Austen’s deliberate development of her writing talent. In the pair of riotous short stories, “Love and Freindship” and “Lesley Castle,” Austen actively engages the sentimental and Gothic fictions of the day with outrageous parodies of the ridiculous overabundance in these novels of love at first sight, clandestine elopements, long-lost relatives, fainting, fatal riding accidents, adultery, and castles. In “The History of England,” Austen mocks history textbooks for children by confirming the fears of history teachers everywhere that the only thing children learn in their history classrooms are a few—a very few—dates and some inconsequential, but usually scandalous, details about the personal lives of monarchs. “The Collection of Letters” and the final absurd “Scraps” reveal Austen consciously experimenting with writing techniques and character sketches. Readers can instantly recognize, for instance, the prototype for Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice in Lady Greville of “Letter the Third.” Fundamentally, though, the stories collected in this volume, complete with the natural spelling mistakes of an enterprising writer with less than three years of formal education, demonstrate the lively mind and ready wit of a teenage girl living in the late eighteenth century. They would be fascinating enough in their own right for what they reveal about life and literature, love and friendship, at that time. The fact that their creator has become one of the most famous, best-loved authors of British literature is, in some respects, merely an added bonus.

Jane Austen is best known as the author of six novels: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Persuasion (1817), and Northanger Abbey (1817). Love and Freindship shows that these novels did not spring fully formed from Austen’s mind. She had a long literary apprenticeship that was both spurred and nurtured by her large, loving, and scholarly family. Austen was born in 1775, the seventh of eight children, the second of two daughters of the Reverend George Austen, rector of Steventon, a small town in Hampshire, England. Life at the Rectory was entertaining and educational, with the children often whiling away school vacations by staging plays or publishing magazines. During her teenage years, Austen wrote three volumes of absurd but inspired stories and skits to be read aloud for her family’s amusement. The stories are dedicated to various relatives as creative keepsakes of shared evenings of laughter and familial companionship—Love and Freindship is the second of these volumes.

During her early twenties, Austen progressed beyond the experimentation of her juvenilia and wrote three novels, but attempts to publish them failed. On their father’s retirement in 1801, Jane and her older sister, Cassandra, both still unmarried, moved with their parents to Bath, where they lived for five years until Reverend Austen’s death. The three women then lived in Southampton for three years and finally settled at Chawton, in a house on the estate of one of Jane’s brothers, close to her childhood home. There Austen revised the manuscripts she had written ten years earlier: Elinor and Marianne became Sense and Sensibility, First Impressions became Pride and Prejudice, and they were published in swift succession. The Austen women continued at Chawton, Jane happily writing and publishing Mansfield Park and Emma, until an illness severe enough to prevent her from preparing Persuasion for publication convinced Jane to seek medical attention in Winchester, where she died in July of 1817 at the age of forty-one. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously by one of her brothers in a combined volume in December of 1817.

From internal evidence, it is possible to date the creation of the various elements of Love and Freindship between June 13, 1790, when Austen was fourteen, and January 1793, when Austen was seventeen and dedicated “Scraps” to an infant niece. The volume was not published, however, until 1922, when the grandniece who owned the manuscript finally gave permission for its release. The reason for this gap of one hundred and thirty years lies in the Austen family’s vigilant safeguarding of the reputation of their favorite and increasingly famous aunt. Notoriously, Cassandra, who survived her sister by almost thirty years, destroyed, in whole or in part, letters from her sister that she did not think appropriately refined for the prudish Victorian era. A modern editor of the letters argues, “Close consideration shows that the destruction was probably because Jane had either described physical symptoms rather too fully. . .or else because she had made some comment about other members of the family which Cassandra did not wish posterity to read.” Cassandra’s treatment of her sister’s letters, thankfully, was not repeated in the physical treatment of the manuscript of Love and Freindship, but in his 1870 Memoir of his aunt, James Austen-Leigh claims that the “family have, rightly, I think, declined to let these early works be published,” because “it would be as unfair to expose this preliminary process to the world, as it would be to display all that goes on behind the curtain of the theatre before it is drawn up.” One can imagine that the family didn’t want to expose Austen’s gleeful narrative employment of seduction, murder, theft, alcoholism, gluttony, and divorce, because an insouciant treatment of what at the time was devastatingly indecent behavior would not have fit the image of the innocent maiden aunt that the family had worked so hard to create and sustain.

This stance might seem slightly perplexing considering the scandalous elopements of Wickham and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice, or that of Henry Crawford and the married Maria Rushworth in Mansfield Park, but the difference lies not in the presence of scandalous actions, but in Austen’s treatment of them: Both elopements in the novels are condemned, but when a character in “Lesley Castle” abandons her husband and child to run off with two other men, not only isn’t she punished, but at the end of the story her ex-husband reports that they have both converted to Roman Catholicism, obtained an annulment, married other people, and “are at present very good Friends, have quite forgiven all past errors and intend in future to be very good Neighbours.” Despite the family’s misgivings, however, it is precisely Austen’s blasé use of scandal and sin that constructs the humor and the morality of the pieces that comprise Love and Freindship.

Austen’s parodies of the most ridiculous excesses of the sentimental and Gothic novels of the late eighteenth century create what B. C. Southam labels an “aesthetic and moral criticism” that anticipates the sophisticated morality that forms the philosophical backbone of her published novels. Samuel Richardson and Fanny Burney, both much loved by Austen, wrote respected novels that, while defining the novel itself, unfortunately also spawned a rash of copycat novels that merely wallowed in unrestrained sentiment. The cult of sensibility—in which emotions are irresistible and overpowering and plots are far-fetched and convoluted—was at its height during Austen’s teenage years and scenes in novels of fainting, raving heroines were inescapable. For example, a character in Mrs. Matthews’ Simple Facts; or, The History of an Orphan (1793) on hearing of the probable death of her husband cries, “‘Oh! . . .he is then lost! he is gone for ever!’ and dropt on the floor. Every means were used to recover her, which for some time, proved ineffectual, but at last coming a little to herself she exclaimed, ‘is he then lost?’ and again fainted.” A character in Anna Maria Bennett’s Agnes De-Courci (1798) recalls her reactions to learning of her husband’s infidelity: “many were the hours in which I was lost to a sense of my sorrow!—many, in which I gave myself up to rage, and madness;—and many, in which I besought the Almighty to strengthen me with patience.” Austen needed little justification to lampoon these overindulgent females and their inflated emotions in “Love and Freindship”:

Sophia shrieked and fainted on the ground—I screamed and instantly ran mad—. We remained thus mutually deprived of our senses, some minutes, and on regaining them were deprived of them again. For an Hour and a Quarter did we continue in this unfortunate situation—Sophia fainting every moment and I running mad as often.

Austen’s exaggeration of the scandalous behavior that her family so deplored in fact condemned the meaninglessness of emotions from which one must escape by insensibility or madness. Here we see the first stirrings of the strict morality pervading Austen’s published novels that insists that the heroes and heroines recognize and amend their faults before they can be rewarded with each other.

In fact, despite general critical agreement that Austen’s creative maturation meant that she discarded the broad burlesque of her youth for a refined, understated satire, if one reads the corners and the edges of the published novels, it is possible to find in them versions of the deeply impossible characters of her youth, as it is possible to find in the juvenilia versions of the reasonable, responsible characters of her maturity. In “Letter the Third,” Lady Greville critiques the dress of the letter writer, “a YOUNG LADY in distressed Circumstances”:

“But I must own, for you know that I always speak my mind, that I think it was quite a needless piece of expense—Why could not you have worn your old striped one? It is not my way to find fault with people because they are poor, for I always think that they are more to be despised and pitied than blamed for it, especially if they cannot help it, but at the same time I must say that in my opinion your old striped Gown would have been quite fine enough for its Wearer.”

Who is this if not Lady Catherine of Pride and Prejudice, of whom Elizabeth observes “that nothing was beneath this great Lady’s attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others,” who even goes to the lengths of determining “what weather they were to have on the morrow”? In “Letter the Fourth,” the “YOUNG LADY rather impertinent,” despite being repulsed from her gossip-gathering mission by her victim, “had not given up my point. I found that by the appearance of sentiment and Freindship nothing was to be gained and determined therefore to renew my attacks by Questions and suppositions.” Who is this but Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility, grilling Elinor about her connection with Edward Ferrars, or Mrs. Elton from Emma, grilling Jane Fairfax about her impecunious situation and officiously deciding to help her find a governess position?

The difference in the published novels, however, is not that Austen relinquished the broad critical strokes of caricature, but that the caricatures no longer hold center stage as they do in Love and Freindship. Rather, the reasonable, realistic characters that can be found in the extreme margins of the juvenilia now act as the organizing consciousnesses of the published novels: Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, and Anne Elliott of Persuasion are fully-developed versions of the shadowy figures of the rational Augusta in “Love and Freindship,” accused by her over-emotional sister-in-law of having an “insensible” heart, and of her father, Sir Edward, who admonishes his ridiculous son, “Where, Edward in the name of wonder (said he) did you pick up this unmeaning gibberish?” In her teenage writing, Austen warns against the potential immorality of characters controlled by over-stylized sentiment by making them the principal focus of the stories. In her published novels, they slink to the margins, remarkably unchanged, and somehow become more real and more threatening as a result.

In spite of the relative sophistication of Love and Freindship and its importance to Austen’s development as a writer, once the volume was published in 1922, critics tended to dismiss it. In 1954, Austen’s most important editor, R. W. Chapman, claimed that these “immature or fragmentary fictions call for hardly any comment.” B. C. Southam claimed in 1964 that much of the juvenilia “are amusing but many of them are mere trifles, their humour dependent on the private jokes of a close family circle.” Until the 1970s, criticism of Austen focused on the exquisiteness of her art, on her self-described “little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour.” The stories of the juvenilia, then, were not delicate enough to deserve the attention her novels garnered. Austen was the maiden aunt of her family’s creation, and the exuberant writings of her youth were distinctly out of place in that picture. At the end of the preface included in this volume, G. K. Chesterton echoes an old view of Austen that deepens the dismissal of Love and Freindship among Austen’s published novels: “there is not a shadow of indication anywhere that this independent intellect and laughing spirit was other than contented with a narrow domestic routine, in which she wrote a story as domestic as a diary in the intervals of pies and puddings, without so much as looking out of the window to notice the French Revolution.” Feminist scholarship since the 1970s has dispelled the myth that Austen was not concerned with the historical changes of her time. They have demonstrated that the profound social repercussions of the rise of companionate marriage and of the middle class that Austen does chronicle are as important to an historical understanding of the time and of modern life as the more easily categorized historical “events” of the French Revolution or the rise and defeat of Napoleon.

In fact, Austen’s “The History of England,” in which she describes herself as “a partial, prejudiced, and ignorant historian” who uses “very few Dates,” critiques the very idea of the historical importance of monarchs, dates, and wars. “The History of England,” illustrated in the manuscript by Cassandra, parodies the over-stylized children’s history books—Oliver Goldsmith’s The History of England from the Earliest Times to the Death of George II (1771) in particular—that do not actually teach anything beyond those very few dates and supposedly vital details about individual monarchs. Austen demolishes the fictions of history books by creating kings and queens of English history very similar to the characters who so boldly and shockingly thieve, lie, and cheat their way through the other stories in Love and Freindship. But, once again, the broad parody of the juvenilia lurks in the margins of the novels, more dangerously rebellious because more realistically expressed when the heroine of Northanger Abbey complains:

“But history, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in. . .I read it as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all—it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes’ mouths, their thoughts and designs—the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books.”

Austen’s dissatisfaction with the bare recitals of history books demonstrates that she is indeed concerned with the revolutionary events of the time. Even at the age of sixteen, Austen is mature enough to question why social changes in the way people felt emotions and in class, family, or love relationships are deemed less important than the French Revolution or Napoleon.

In fact, Austen’s supposedly immature critiques are so modern and revolutionary that Patricia Rozema incorporates excerpts from “The History” and “Love and Freindship” into her overtly political film version of Mansfield Park (1999). In fact, a phrase from “Love and Freindship”—“Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint”—is the de facto motto for the movie, championing the underlying anger Austen expresses in her juvenilia, emphasizing what Margaret Doody labels the “alternate Austen” of her early writing—the writer as yet unfettered by constraints of propriety, the writer who did not actually write about either love or friendship as she does in her later novels, the writer who experimented wildly with the genre she was to solidify so completely. Despite—but one might just as easily say, because of—this anger, Austen is one of the best-loved authors of the English language. Although her novels influenced the direction of the marriage plot of the nineteenth-century domestic novel, her fame truly exploded in the twentieth century. Austen and her novels are now the center of dedicated academic societies and conferences (The Jane Austen Society of North America), vibrant internet communities (the largest being The Republic of Pemberley——named for the hero’s estate in Pride and Prejudice), and a whole sub-genre of popular romance novels called Regency romance, the hero of which owes his existence to Austen’s heroes. “Janeites” avidly consume sequels to and retellings of the original novels by modern authors (Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary, for example), while screenwriters eagerly translate them to film, with eight different movie versions of five Austen novels in the late 1990s and three in 2004.

This Austen-mania—the sheer enjoyment of her writing—reminds us that, while it is important to understand the political, historical, social, and biographical context of Love and Freindship, it is also important to revel in the utter surrealism of, for example, the confessions of a young lady: “I murdered my father at a very early period of my Life, I have since murdered my Mother, and I am now going to murder my Sister.” After all, we must “Beware of fainting fits. . .Beware of swoons.” It is much better to run mad with love for Austen’s exquisite writing than to allow our appreciation of her genius to fade away.

Sarah S. G. Frantz is an assistant professor in English literature at Fayetteville State University and a lieutenant in the North Carolina Army National Guard, but hails originally from South Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she focused on Romantic-era British women novelists, and she has published articles on Jane Austen’s novels and the modern popular romance novel.

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Love and Freindship and Other Early Works (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These are wonderful stories written by Jane Austen when she was just a teenager. Her wit and wisdom shine through these early works. Any Jane Austen fan will find these stories entertaining. They were certainly an indication of great things to come from this amazing author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Love and Friendship is an amusing short story. You can definitely tell it is meant to be a parody. This is unlike any of Jane Austen's other works. I definitely reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This col<_><_>d, empty house is<br> So q<_>uiet no<_>w she's gone<br> The dus<_>t, accu<_>mulates into<br> Mountains on the grou<_>nd<p> My p<_>apers pile<_>d, on th<_>e steps<br> Her flowers all have di<_>ed<br> I'm sear<_>ching, everywhere<_><br> For someon<_>e l'll never find<p> The haunting never <_>fades, laughters gone away<br> Its too late, whe<_>n yo<_>uve lost your soul<br> I left her eve<_>rything, she<_> only left my ring<br> My worl<_>d is darker now tha<_>n the bl<_>ackest cr<_>ow<p> Shadows fill <_>this place<br> Shes bee<_>n a<_>way so long<br> The w<_>allpaper le<_>aves a stain<br> W<_>here pictures onc<_>e belonged<p> You think l wou<_>ld have known<br> Something <_>was<_> goin' on<br> Her kiss<_>es were so <_>cold<br> Her l<_>oving touch withdr<_>awn<p> The haunting nev<_>er fades laughters gone away<br> Its too late wh<_>en <_>youve lost your soul<br> I left her ev<_>erything s<_>he only left my ring<br> My wo<_>rld is darker now t<_>han the blac<_>kest cr<_>ow<p> (T<_>hey never do tea<_>ch y<_>ou to <_>walk aw<_>ay from so<_>meone you lov<_>e)<p> The haunting <_>never fades, lau<_>ghters gone away<br> I know its <_>too<_> late, w<_>hen youv<_>e lost your soul<br> The fir<_>es all but g<_>one, my world is<_> darker now<br> Th<_>an the blac<_>kest cr<_>ow<p> The bl<_>ackest <_>crow<p> The black<_><_>est crow<p> The b<_>lack<_>est crow<p> T<_>he bl<_>ackest <_>croo<_>oooooow<p>
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An early work by Jane Austen. "Freindship" is misspelled repeatedly (deliberately?) as are other words like "releif". Still, very humourous send up of English manners and class behavior of long ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really? Freindship? Including on the cover?? I do want to read it but I will never purchase a book that such a simple and common word is misspelled in every instance, especially on the cover. And no self-respecting Jane Austen fan or anyone who fancies reading, will either. Please correct it. Have a nice day.
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I swore it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blue Lighting was writing and drawing the rock. Lyna looked up the sky. She said,"Let's go, Team Magix!" Lyna and other unicorns used the force spell to protect the rock. The flying ponies used the fog to block the view. Earth ponies galloped to carry the rocks. Lyna stopped on the Mount Misty. She flipped through the pages. She read and read. Sweetie annouced,"Looks like we going stay for few days and nights here." Lyna sighed and made a tents for each pony including her. Earth ponies looked for rocks, twigs, leaves to make fire. Unicorns were lookout for any intuders trying to steal the rocks. Back to Rosebud, the villian revealed to be Night Mist,"I guess, they are smart?" She laughed. Her body were grayish pink. Her mane and tail was tattered and dirty brown. She pointed to the darling princess, Rosebud. Rosebud yelled back,"I know they can have it all until you can!" Night laughed evilly,"Do not think.". On Mt. Misty, the morning has arrived. Lyna was wake first to cook up breakfast. Now Team Magix is now restored and they packed up. They went same routine. Midnight said,"Wait, the book that Lyna read last night, i saw it sparkled! I swore it!" Blazin and Nirto was that confused,"What you mean?" Sweetie commented,"Don't worry." Lyna reviced the letter from her father,Skyflare, stated about his day. Now they walked up 3 miles. Rosebud barley ate of her food that she mad it appear. Since she was allowed to make her food, she was not supposed to use her magic to protect. Night sighed in relief,"Now. It is time for ground attack"