Chapter 1. Jane Austen's Life and Letters

  1. Claudia L. Johnson Chair and
  2. Clara Tuite Senior Lecturer
  1. Kathryn Sutherland Professor

Published Online: 6 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444305968.ch1

A Companion to Jane Austen

A Companion to Jane Austen

How to Cite

Sutherland, K. (2009) Jane Austen's Life and Letters, in A Companion to Jane Austen (eds C. L. Johnson and C. Tuite), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444305968.ch1

Editor Information

  1. University of Melbourne, Australia

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 2 JAN 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405149099

Online ISBN: 9781444305968



  • Jane Austen's Life and Letters;
  • Jane Austen's life - almost exclusively a matter of family construction;
  • The letters from Jane to Cassandra - the focus of the correspondence represented by 94 surviving specimens;
  • Where “the true art of letter-writing … is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth”;
  • William and R. A. Austen-Leigh's enlarged biography, Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters;
  • Jane Austen's letters - confidential family publications;
  • agreement between the epistolary voice and the fiction is never lost - Austen's letters almost always implying an audience of more than one;
  • moving in smart London circles - she provides rich social and cultural opportunities;
  • it was from her London home - that Jane saw Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice through the press


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • I

  • II

  • Further Reading