“Next week I shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.”—from a letter to Cassandra, October 27, 1798
“You express so little anxiety about my being murdered under Ash Park Copse by Mrs. Hulbert’s servant, that I have a great mind not to tell you whether I was or not.”—from a letter to Cassandra, January 8, 1799
“Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony.”—from a letter to Fanny Knight, March 13, 1817
Much loved for the romantic plot lines and wryly amusing social commentary that spring from the pages of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and her other novels Jane Austen was also a prolific letter writer and penned missives on many subjects. To her sister Cassandra she wrote with candid humor about the effects of the Peninsular War (“How horrible it is to have so many people killed! And what a blessing that one cares for none of them!”), about her dislike of parties and social obligations (“We are to have a tiny party here tonight. I hate tiny parties, they force one into constant exertion.”), and about her impressions of London (“Here I am once more in this scene of dissipation and vice, and I begin to find already my morals corrupted.”). Austen’s characters likewise offer commentary on topics like moral character, gender inequality, ageing, and the disappointments of marriage. In Pride and Prejudice, for example, Charlotte Lucas cautions Elizabeth Bennet, “It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are about to pass your life.”
Drawing together fifty quotations from Jane Austen’s letters and novels with illustrations that illuminate everyday aspects of life in the Georgian era, this beautifully produced volume will make the perfect gift for Janeites.