ESSENTIAL AUSTEN: Jane Austen’s Letters AND Austen Papers (a review)

Austenian scholarship would do well to emulate Mozartean scholarship; in Le Faye’s Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family we finally have an equivalent to Deutsch’s superb Mozart: Dokumenten seinen Leben, published in English as Mozart: A Documentary Biography. (Le Faye in fact surpasses Deutsch in inclusiveness, as there are more Austen family materials in existence – bank records, diaries, letters – that she is able to cull.) Therefore, might we hope that someday Austen’s letters will be published intermingled with the letters of her family, in emulation of Mozart: Briefe und Auszeichnungen. This seven-volume set includes the grand tour travel diaries of Mozart’s sister and father as well as other family writings, and is comprehensively annotated and indexed (the index alone comprises one volume; the letters, four volumes; the remaining two are all commentary). Continue reading