Jane Austen's letters afford a unique insight into the daily life of the novelist: intimate and gossipy, observant and informative, they bring alive her family and friends, her surroundings and contemporary events with a freshness unparalleled in biography. Above all we recognize the unmistakable voice of the author of Pride and Prejudice, witty and amusing as she describes the social life of town and country, thoughtful and constructive when writing about the business of literary composition. R. W. Chapman's ground-breaking edition of the collected Letters first appeared in 1932, and a second edition followed twenty years later. A third edition, edited by Deidre Le Faye in 1997, added new material, re-ordered the letters into their correct chronological sequence, and provided discreet and full annotation to each letter, including its provenance, and information on the watermarks, postmarks, and other physical details of the manuscripts. This fourth edition incorporates the findings of new scholarship to enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealing view yet of her life and family.
There is a new preface, the biographical and topographical indexes have been amended and updated, a new subject index has been created, and the contents of the notes added to the general index.
Deirdre Le Faye is now retired and lives in North Somerset; prior to retirement she worked for many years in the Department of Medieval & Later Antiquities at the British Museum. She started researching the life and times of Jane Austen and her family in the 1970s, and since then has written several books about them, the latest being A Chronology of Jane Austen and her Family 1600-2000, as well as numerous articles in literary journals.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; PREFACE TO FOURTH EDITION; LIST OF LETTERS; JANE AUSTEN'S LETTERS; ABBREVIATIONS AND CITATIONS; NOTES; GENERAL NOTES ON THE LETTERS; BIBLIOGRAPHY; BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX; TOPOGRAPHICAL INDEX; SUBJECT INDEX; GENERAL INDEX