Works by Jane Austen

Minor works

Volume 6 of the Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Minor Works, ed. R. W. Chapman, 1954 includes:

  • Juvenilia, Early Work and Fragments
  • Volume the First
  • Volume the Second
  • Volume the Third
  • Lady Susan
  • The Watsons
  • Sanditon

Major works

Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Mansfield Park (1814)
Emma (1815-1816)
Northanger Abbey (1817)
Persuasion (1817)

Editions of Persuasion

Persuasion, Ed. Patricia Meyer Spacks. New York: W.W.Norton and Company, 1995.

  • This Norton Critical Edition includes relevant quotations from Jane Austen's letters as well as key reviews and essays.

Persuasion, Ed. Gillian Beer. Introduction and notes by Gillian Beer. London: Penguin Classics, 1998.

The Annotated Persuasion, Annotated and edited by David M. Shapard. Toronto: Anchor Books, 2010.

  • Useful format with annotations placed on page facing text. Extensive historical and literary comments.


J. E. Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

  • A very partial, charming (but not always accurate) account of Jane Austen's life by her nephew.

Elizabeth Jenkins, Jane Austen. London: 1938.

  • A chronological account of Jane Austen's life, which includes some analysis of the novels.

David Cecil, A Portrait of Jane Austen. New York: Hill and Wang, 1979.

  • A very readable account of Jane Austen's life which draws on many of her letters and other writings.

John Halperin, The Life of Jane Austen. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1984

  • A refreshingly unvarnished portrait of Jane Austen.

Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen, A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

  • Compelling and well-researched, with excellent notes.

Carol Shields, Jane Austen. London: Penguin 2001.

  • Delightful biography of a very manageable size – a quick, easy read.

Claire Harman, Jane's Fame. New York: Henry Holt, 2009.

  • Traces the remarkable rise of Jane Austen's popularity with exactness, depth and humour.

Social, political and cultural context

These books offer good historical and cultural surveys of the period in which Jane Austen was writing:

  • Asa Briggs, The Age of Improvement: 1738-1867. New York: David McKay,1959.
  • W.A.Craik, Jane Austen in her Time. London: Thomas Nelson, 1969
  • Deidre Le Faye, Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. London: Frances Lincoln, 2002.

Important studies of the literary history of the period of Jane Austen's writing:

  • Marilyn Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.
  • Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and its background 1790-1850. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Influential studies of the development of Jane Austen's narrative style and technique:

  • Mary Lascelles, Jane Austen and her Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939.
  • Howard S. Babb, Jane Austen's Novels: The Fabric of Dialogue. Columbus, OH, Ohio State University Press, 1962.
  • A.W. Litz, Jane Austen: a study of her artistic development. London: Chatto and Windus, 1965.

Useful studies relating to key political and social themes in the novel:

  • Alistair Duckworth, The Improvement of the Estate. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971.
  • Claudia Johnson, Jane Austen: Women, Politics and the Novel. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988.
  • Margaret Kirkham, Jane Austen, Feminism and Fiction. London: The Athlone Press, 1997.
  • Brian Southam, Jane Austen and the Navy. London: Hambledon and London Ltd. 2000.

General critical works on Jane Austen

Robert Liddell, The Novels of Jane Austen. London: Longmans, 1963

B. C. Southam, ed., Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage, 2 vols. London: Routledge,1968-1987.

Tony Tanner, Jane Austen. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1986.

J. David Grey, ed. The Jane Austen Companion. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986.

Ian Watt, ed., Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall,1963.

Emily Auerbach, Searching for Jane Austen. Madison, WI, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.

Susannah Carson, A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen. New York, Random House 2009.

Criticism of Persuasion

Many of the general books listed in the previous section have chapters or sections on Persuasion, easily found from the contents page or the index.

Harold Bloom ed., Jane Austen's Persuasion, Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.

  • Collection of influential essays on Persuasion by well-known critics.

Jocelyn Harris, A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen's Persuasion. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2007.

  • Study of political, historical and textual influences found in Persuasion 
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