Teenage Writings

ISBN : 9780198737452

Austen, Jane; Sutherland, Kathryn; Johnston, Freya
416 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Mar 2017
Oxford World's Classics


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  • Compared to previous editions of her early works, Jane Austen's Teenage Writings contextualizes them more fully as a collection within the novelist's wider oeuvre.
  • The new edition provides fresh readings of individual texts, suggesting the need for different editorial protocols.
  • Full Textual and Explanatory Notes accompany Teenage Writings, offering a comprehensive re-appraisal of their sophisticated relationship to their sources. The Explanatory Notes expand our sense of what the young Austen might have been reading and responding to.
  • The text presented here of 'Kitty, or the Bower' offers the reader the first opportunity, other than that granted to Jane Austen's immediate family, to read her story as she wrote it - and before the next generation set about its revision and amelioration.
  • The text restores Austen's many distinctive and quirky abbreviations as they appear in the early works.
  • This edition includes a Chronology of Composition, a Note on Spelling, a Note on the Text, and two maps to assist the reader - one of locations in Great Britain (real and fictional) mentioned by Austen, and one of late eighteenth-century London.

'Jane Austen practising' Virginia Woolf

Three notebooks of Jane Austen's teenage writings survive. The earliest pieces probably date from 1786 or 1787, around the time that Jane, aged 11 or 12, and her older sister and collaborator Cassandra left school. By this point Austen was already an indiscriminate and precocious reader, devouring pulp fiction and classic literature alike; what she read, she soon began to imitate and parody.
Unlike many teenage writings then and now, these are not secret or agonized confessions entrusted to a private journal and for the writer's eyes alone. Rather, they are stories to be shared and admired by a named audience of family and friends. Devices and themes which appear subtly in Austen's later fiction run riot openly and exuberantly across the teenage page. Drunkenness, brawling, sexual misdemeanour, theft, and even murder prevail.

"...a brilliantly readable [edition]...What is often most engaging and amusing about this bravura writing is Austen's un-restrained comic mayhem." - Francis O'Gorman, Reviews31.co.uk

"Professor Kathryn Sutherland and University Lecturer Freya Johnston skilfully edit this fascinating collection of Austen's early teenage writings ... This new edition provides fresh readings of individual texts, and the explanatory notes accompanying them offer to expand our sense of what the young Austen might have been reading and responding to at the time." - Reader's Digest


Chronology of Composition of Items in the Teenage Notebooks
Note on the Text
Note on Spelling
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Jane Austen
Frederic & Elfrida
Jack & Alice
Edgar & Emma
Henry & Eliza
Mr Harley
Sir William Mountague
Mr Clifford
The beautifull Cassandra
Amelia Webster
The Visit
The Mystery
The three Sisters
Detached peices
Ode to Pity
Love and Friendship
The History of England
Collection of Letters
Kitty, or the Bower
Continuation of 'Evelyn', by James Edward Austen
Continuation of 'Evelyn', by Anna Lefroy
Continuation of 'Kitty, or the Bower', by James Edward Austen
Letter of Sophia Sentiment from The Loiterer, 28 March 1789
Textual Notes
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Kathryn Sutherland is Professor of Bibliography & Textual Criticism in the University of Oxford. She is the editor of James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections for Oxford World's Classics. She has created a digital edition of Jane Austen's Fiction Manuscripts (2010), the print edition of which is due to be published by OUP in 2017. She is the author of Jane Austen's Textual Lives: from Aeschylus to Bollywood (OUP, 2005).

Freya Johnston is University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of Samuel Johnson and the Art of Sinking, 1709-1791 (2005) and general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock (2016 - ).

Austen as a Young Girl

The Notebooks

The Writings

The interview in full

Interview by Nicola Barranger.

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