This title explores the surprisingly important part that children play in the novels of Jane Austen and the contribution they make to understanding her adult characters. Jane Austen is not usually associated with children - especially since she had none of her own. But there are in fact more children in her novels than one might at first think. She herself was from a sizeable family, with numerous nephews and nieces. She was, by all accounts, good with children and popular with them. It was therefore natural for her to include them in her novels, even if sometimes offstage. This book, by one of the world's leading authorities on Austen, looks at both the real and the literary children in her life - children seen and unseen (and dead); children as models of behaviour, good and bad; as objects of affection, amusement, usefulness, pity, regret, jealousy, resentment; children in the way; children as excuses; and, children as heirs. In the process, it casts fascinating light on a hitherto largely ignored aspect of her work and the age in which she lived.
David Selwyn is the author of Jane Austen and Leisure and the editor of Jane Austen Collected Poems and verse of the Austen Family, The Complete Poems of James Austen, Fugitive Pieces: The poems of James Edward Austen-Leigh and, with Maggie Lane, Jane Austen: A Celebration. He is Chairman of the Jane Austen Society. As well as editing the journal of the Jane Austen Society, he has contributed to the new Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen for CUP, and also one to the forthcoming second edition of the Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen.
Introduction; Confinement; Birth; Infancy; Childhood; Parents; The child in the family; Reading and writing; Education; Maturity; Bibliography; Index.