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Jane Austen’s Letters

janeaustensletters

This book was on my Austen in August reading list.

There is something decidedly voyeuristic about reading the private correspondence of another person. Even if that person happens to have died almost two hundred years ago.

Collections of Jane Austen’s letters have been around since the 1930s, when R. W. Chapman first began assembling them for historians and lovers of the famous author to peruse at will. Since then many have been rediscovered, and the collection has grown with every new edition.

So what might prompt someone to read the letters of Jane Austen? For many historians and scholars, it is a case of wanting to discover more about the life and mind of one of English literature’s greatest heroes. They approach them, no doubt, hoping that her day-to-day correspondence will enlighten the material she presents us with in her novels.