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Austen’s writings – read on...
Austen began to write as a young girl, and the manuscripts surviving
from this period are known as her ‘juvenilia’,
meaning youthful work. Lady Susan, a novella
(short novel) in the form of letters, forms part of the juvenilia and
was probably written between 1793 and 1795. Jane Austen never attempted
to have this story published in her lifetime, but she kept it safely
and it was published after her death.
and Sensibility) was probably the
first of Jane Austen’s major novels that she started to
write, originally in the form of letters. She revised it in late
1797/early 1798, changing its format to the more usual narrative form
and renaming it to Sense
and Sensibility during
this process. It was further revised in 1809 and eventually published
in 1811. Jane Austen further revised it and it was republished in a
second edition in 1813.
and Prejudice) was written in late 1796/early 1797.
It was offered to a publisher by Jane Austen’s father in
1797, but was rejected without being read.
Abbey) was written in draft form
between 1798 and 1799. Jane Austen revised it in 1802/1803 and it was
sent to a publisher by her brother Henry on her behalf. The publisher,
Richard Crosby, paid £10 for it, but never published it.
was revised and eventually published as Pride
and Prejudice in 1813. Consistently Jane
Austen’s most popular novel, it contains what is supposed to
be her favourite heroine – Elizabeth Bennet.
published in 1814. Jane Austen revised it and it
was republished in
a second edition in 1816.
was published in 1816. It was dedicated at his own request to the
Prince Regent (later King George IV) who was one of Jane
were both published after her death,
in 1818. Northanger
Abbey had originally been
called Susan, then Miss Catherine.
The title Northanger
Abbey was chosen by Jane
Austen’s brother Henry and her sister Cassandra, and Henry
arranged its publication. Persuasion
was originally called The
Elliots, but we don’t know if Jane Austen chose the
new title or if it was chosen after her death.
is the only one of Jane Austen’s novels for which any part of
the original manuscript is still in existence. The remnant consists of
two chapters, which were later rewritten before publication. The
manuscript of the original versions of these two chapters, complete
with crossings-out and margin notes, is now in the British Museum in
works: The Watsons (started in 1803, never
finished)- published in 1871 in the Memoir, written
by her nephew, James Austen-Leigh; Sanditon
(started in 1817, just before her death and originally known as The
Brothers or The Last Work).
For more information about each work, click on
the links in the text.
If you’d like to see what her actual
handwriting looked like, click