Over the last couple of years we’ve been reading Jane Austen’s letters in sections, trying where possible to read the letters that we written about the time she was writing the novel being discusses that year. As we move back in time to her earlier works and earlier letters that’s becoming more difficult, partly because these early works tended to have a long gestation and partly because there are large gaps in the letters. So since last year we read the letters she wrote between 1807 and 1809, this year we’ve decided to read those written from 1801 to 1806. This was a rather traumatic time for Austen as it was during this period that her father retired and they moved to Bath, and that her father died.
Here are the references two the two main editions:
- Le Faye, Deirdre Jane Austen’s letters (New ed, 1995): No. 29 (3 January 1801) to No. 48(C) (24 July 1806)
- Chapman, RW Jane Austen’s letters, 1796-1817 (1955): No. 29 (3 January 1801, same as Le Faye’s no. 29) to No. 44 (21 April 1805, same as Le Faye’s no. 44)
The discrepancy between the two is due to more letters being located since Chapman’s work, and some re-sequencing by Le Faye.
The letters are also available in e-text on-line. Click here to access them (Letters 29-47).
*This results in a slightly smaller “chunk” than our previous readings of her letters.