Jane Austen traces the author's life and times, her personal relationships, the attitudes and customs of the time that shaped her and were in turn shaped by her work, and the places where she lived, worked and set her novels, from rural Hampshire to fashionable Bath Spa.
Chapters on each of her novels run throughout the book and place them in the context of her life. This volume draws on archives for a truly insightful view of the author, reproducing rare and fascinating documents from her personal archives, including early manuscripts, a handwritten note outlining the profits from her novels, a letter from Jane's father to the publisher Thomas Cadell, which was returned to the family with the words "Rejected by return of post" written on it, and pages from the unfinished manuscript of Sanditon.
For over 200 years, the novels of Jane Austen have been loved and celebrated across a diverse international readership. From her playful digs at the ridiculous to her examination of the strengths and weaknesses of humanity, she shows an insight into human behaviour, arguably unparalleled by any other novelist, that is as relevant today as when her novels were first published.
Janet Todd is an authority on literature and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Aberdeen University and the President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She is the author of many books on women in literature. Her books include Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life and Jane Austen in Context.