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Three notebooks of Jane Austen's early writings survive. The pieces probably date from 1786 or 1787, around the time that Jane, aged 11 or 12, and her older sister and collaborator Cassandra left school. By this point Austen was already an indiscriminate and precocious reader, devouring pulp fiction and classic literature alike; what she read, she soon began to imitate and parody.
Unlike many teenage writings then and now, these are not secret or agonized confessions entrusted to a private journal and for the writer's eyes alone. Rather, they are stories to be shared and admired by a named audience of family and friends. Devices and themes which appear subtly in Austen's later fiction run riot openly and exuberantly across the teenage page. Drunkenness, brawling, sexual misbehavior, theft, and even murder prevail. It is as if Lydia Bennett is the narrator.
About the Author
Kathryn Sutherland is the editor of Austen-Leigh's Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections for Oxford World's Classics. She has created a digital edition of Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts (2012), the print edition of which is due to be published by OUP in 2017. She is the author of Jane Austen's Textual Lives: from Aeschylus to Bollywood (OUP, 2005).
Freya Johnston is University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of Samuel Johnson and the Art of Sinking, 1709-1791 (2005) and general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock (2016).
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
Education:Taught at home by her father
Table of Contents
Chronology of Composition of Items in the Teenage Notebooks
Note on the Text
Note on Spelling
A Chronology of Jane Austen
VOLUME THE FIRST
Frederic & Elfrida
Jack & Alice
Edgar & Emma
Henry & Eliza
Sir William Mountague
The beautifull Cassandra
The three Sisters
Ode to Pity
VOLUME THE SECOND
Love and Friendship
The History of England
Collection of Letters
VOLUME THE THIRD
Kitty, or the Bower
FAMILY CONTINUATIONS TO VOLUME THE THIRD
Continuation of 'Evelyn', by James Edward Austen
Continuation of 'Evelyn', by Anna Lefroy
Continuation of 'Kitty, or the Bower', by James Edward Austen
Letter of Sophia Sentiment from The Loiterer, 28 March 1789