A Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections by James Edward Austen-Leigh

By James Edward Austen-Leigh

James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of his aunt Jane Austen used to be released in 1870, over fifty years after her demise. including the shorter reminiscences of James Edward's sisters, Anna Lefroy and Caroline Austen, the Memoir is still the top authority for her existence and maintains to notify all next debts. those are kinfolk thoughts, the checklist of Jane Austen's lifestyles formed and constrained through the loyalties, reserve, and affection of nieces and nephews improving in outdated age the outlines of the younger aunt that they had each one recognized. They nonetheless remembered the form of her bonnet and the tone of her voice, and their first-hand money owed deliver her vividly sooner than us. Their declared partiality additionally increases attention-grabbing matters pertaining to biographical fact, and the phrases during which all biography functions.

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In addition, I have restored some elements which were present in the first edition of  but removed from the second edition: namely, the second postscript, dated  November , defending Jane Austen from the attack in Mary Russell Mitford’s newly published Life, and the set of five illustrations––a portrait of Jane Austen, a facsimile of her handwriting, and family drawings of Steventon Parsonage, Steventon Manor House, and Chawton Church––an important feature of the first and of subsequent editions, but unaccountably left out of the second.

Eliza de Feuillide’s son Hastings born.  JA begins writing juvenilia. – Amateur theatricals are performed at Steventon.  Spring, the Lloyd family rent Deane parsonage.   December, marriage of Edward Austen and Elizabeth Bridges. ) Winter, Cassandra engaged to the Revd Tom Fowle.   January, Edward Austen’s first child, Fanny, born;  April, James Austen’s first child, Anna, born;  June, JA writes last item of juvenilia. Chronology  lix M. de Feuillide guillotined in Paris; death of Edward Austen’s adopted father Thomas Knight.

But another of the questions literary biography sets out to examine, if not to answer, is why books need authors. Why do the self-governing, independent states of fiction require to be referred back to a figure who fashioned them? Henry Austen’s biographical notices cannot answer the question but, standing at the beginning of the Jane Austen life project, they help us to formulate it. NOTE ON THE TEXTS The text printed here of James Edward Austen-Leigh’s A Memoir of Jane Austen is that of the second edition of , but with significant omissions.

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