Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jane Austen Day: Her Books

Jane Austen is one of the best-known and most-referenced authors. Despite that fact that her first book came out almost exactly two centuries ago, she is still greatly loved and widely read. Let's begin with a quick look at her lesser known books.

The first things she wrote were her Juvenilia. Altogether, three volumes of this have been published. Though I've never read any, I believe it's  the stories, poems, and plays that she wrote for her family's enjoyment.

She had one shorter book, made up of letters. It was called Lady Susan. She also had two unfinished books, The Watsons and Sanditon. Incidentally, there's an excellent finished version of Sanditon. It was finished by "Another Lady."

Her first book, Sense and Sensiblity, came out in 1811. "Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behavior leaves her open to gossip and inuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love -- and its threatened loss -- the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensiblity if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love." ~From

Next out, in 1813, was my personal favorite, Pride and Prejudice. A delightful story full of wit, and one of the most popular. "When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossips, and snobberies of provincial middle-class life." ~From

Mansfield Park came out in 1814, followed by Emma in 1815. Since MP isn't a favorite of mine, we'll skip on to Emma. "Beautiful, clever, rich -- and single -- Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee, Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never imagined. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work." From

Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were both published in 1818, after her death.

Coming up, a post on Jane Austen movie adaptions! We love those! :)


Miss Laurie said...

Jane Austen's books are so wonderful! I love reading her Juvenilia and unfinished works too, they are actually very satisfying to read especially when you just can't get enough Austen!
I love these book covers, they're so beautiful!

Jemimah C. said...

I still need to read Austen's unfinished works. But I love all the six finished books she made!