Juvenilia by Jane Austen
Begun in 1787, the Juvenilia give a wonderful insight in the mind of the young Jane Austen, and foreshadow in style what the writer would become.
Strongly infused with a blunter but no less lively form of the humour Jane Austen readers love, and reflecting the young girl’s sensitivity to the styles of the wide-ranging texts she was herself reading as she grew up, the myriad short pieces included in the three volumes of Jane Austen’s childhood writing are endearing, intriguing and above all hilarious.
The affectedly professionalised dedications may reflect the young writer’s ambition, but more importantly they show how publicly she engaged in her writing, and that she was encouraged by the people around her, both young playmates and adults. The closeness of the Austen sisters is reflected by Cassandra’s illustrations to The History of England which share the humorous bias of the author who knowingly signs herself ‘a partial, prejudiced, and ignorant Historian’.
Through the three volumes, compiled by the young Jane Austen herself in a further half-serious, half-already mocking embrace of the idea of professional authorship, a clear development in her thinking and the sophistication of her writing style can be traced, and there is clear evidence throughout of a lively and precocious mind.
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Sanditon by Jane Austen
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