“The Lost Books of Jane Austen” ~ Interview with Author Janine Barchas

Enquiring Minds: I welcome today, Professor Janine Barchas, author of the recently published The Lost Books of Jane Austen, a work of mind-boggling scholarship, wherein “hardcore bibliography meets Antiques Roadshow!” And whether your tastes run to book history, the science of bibliography, literary history, or just a love of Jane Austen, you will be delighted with this addition to your Austen collection – an absolute must-have in my mind, to be shelved in a place of honor right alongside your copy of David Gilson. And don’t think it is some pedagogical tome – I laughed, I cried, I learned, I was wowed! – and I think you will be too.

Today, Janine is going to share with us what got her started on this incredible journey, some of her finds, and where it all goes from here.

Deb:  First off, I must say that his book has been universally praised by Austen scholars and readers, book historians, and bibliographers! Did you have any idea the book would be so universally embraced?

JB:  I dared not hope.  Instead, I worried about whether crisscrossing the standard demarcations between audience groups (academics v. fans, readers v. collectors) might prove fatal.  At the start, anonymous readers of the manuscript for Johns Hopkins University Press warned against the intellectual Schizophrenia of my approach (my phrasing).  In view of their worry, much of the final book was rewritten and reframed so that essential bibliographical details would not detract from the larger human narrative—what my editor called “not getting lost in the weeds.” In other words, I had a lot of help and advice while shaping a book to appeal widely—and to different people for different reasons.  Who would have thought that any press could produce such a handsome gift-worthy volume filled with headshots of tatty, cheap, and rejected books?  From the start, there was something not entirely rational about expecting any audience for a book about unwanted books.  I’m immensely gratified that so many people share my affection for these neglected reprints.

Deb: How did your education / scholarship lead you to working on Jane Austen – how, and when? In other words, when did your fascination with Austen begin?

JB: I came to Austen late and reluctantly.  I was not introduced to her until college and graduate school, where I read her as a duty (as a stop along the history of the novel genre) rather than as a pleasure.  I did not return to her novels in earnest until I was asked to teach a single-author course on Austen.  At first, I tried to argue my way out of the task—after all, Samuel Richardson, who has no action figure, needed me more.  Eventually, I gave in to the market demand on campus.  Once I slowed down, reread all her books, and started teaching Austen, I had to bend at the knee along with all her other devotees.

Deb: You have always had an interest in book history – tell us about your first book: Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel, published by Cambridge University Press in 2003.

JB: All my projects seem to take a material turn.  Graphic Design argued that it was silly for serious academics to study and write about eighteenth-century novels while staring at and quoting from modern paperbacks (e.g. the Penguin reprints used in college classrooms).  I showed how these modern reprints had silently altered the text as well as the innovative typographical innovations for which the genre was termed “novel” in the first place (ie. layout, paratexts, illustrations, the advertising language of title pages, font choices).  In Graphic Design I urged serious scholars to return to the original editions of eighteenth-century books when studying literary meaning.  In Lost Books, I finally found a scholarly purpose for all those inauthentic reprintings that I dismissed as unauthoritative in that early project!

Deb:  You go through 200 years of Austen’s publishing history in such an interesting order. When did it become apparent that these divisions were a way of approaching the Lost Books: Paperback Jane, Scholarly Jane, Virtuous Jane, Temperance Jane, Marketing with Jane, Armed Services Jane, Chick-lit Jane, etc…

JB: For years, I periodically rearranged the shelves of the cheap Austen reprints that I acquired, grouping books on the dining room table and elsewhere to see what patterns emerged—patterns of aesthetics, formats, prices, audiences, etc.  I wanted to explore patterns that would allow me to go beyond the usual mere temporal lists of publications (“and then this edition, and then this one”).  While the story of the “pinking” of Jane Austen during the 1950s and 60s showed itself fairly quickly, the most meaningful patterns were impossible to see until after I gained access to the books of other collectors whose plentiful shelves contained many more examples to sort (physically or mentally). All in all, it probably took nine years of looking before the one year of writing to feel that I had a book’s worth of findings to share.

Deb: The seven Vignettes you include in the book tell the stories of book owners of the many Austen novels you have found. These are enlightening, sometimes wrenching – but such a personal tribute to Austen’s many readers through the past 200 years. A name, a date, maybe an address would send you on a deep-dive adventure into census, birth, marriage and death records – thank goodness for the internet and ancestry.com, making such research even possible! What was your favorite connection that you found?

JB: Locating the backstories and former owners behind particular copies was indeed the most rewarding part of researching and writing this book.  However, asking me to pick between these people and their books is like asking a mother which child is her “favorite.” As you say, some of the backstories proved tearjerkers while other copies offered up endearing or surprising anecdotes about the lives of real Austen readers.  The vignette that makes me smile most broadly is probably the one about the young Harvard law student named Heman Burr who, on his very first trip to Paris in 1879, binge read all of Jane Austen’s novels.

Deb: What was the most elusive, that you just couldn’t let go? – and finally found something…

JB: Unlocking the ownership history of one cheap mid-nineteenth-century copy of Mansfield Park depended upon locating the official naval record of the officer whose name matched the ownership signature. Even after I found his record, I needed help from a colleague familiar with naval terminology and a knowledge of specific ships and battles to see that his navel career mapped neatly onto the Austen novel that he had so treasured.

Deb: And the one(s) where you hit a brick-wall and ended at a dead end?

JB: There were dozens and dozens of books whose ownership signatures I could not trace with certainty in the historical record – sometimes because the name was too common or the inscription lacked mention of a location to help triangulate it. The anonymity that an all-too-common name conveys has its own cosmic sadness.  For a provenance researcher there is nothing more deflating than the proud ownership signature of a “Miss Smith.”

Deb: How many more stories do you have, not included in Lost Books, but possibly to be published elsewhere? Can we hope for a Vignettes sequel??

JB: There were handfuls of worthy backstories and many clusters of odd reprints that did not make it into the final book.  While a sequel is not in the cards (sweet of you to ask!), I have published a few of those findings as separate essays for the Los Angeles Review of Books and also for Literary Hub.

Another such essay (about the ignored marginalia of those who disliked Austen) is scheduled to appear in the May/June issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine.

‘Sense and Sensibility’ in the Marguerite Series from Miles & Miles (London), no date – Barchas collection (page 112)


Deb: Throughout this past decade of research, you located and purchased as many of these cheaply published works as possible; or you found collectors willing to share their shelves with you; or you found the odd one in a scholarly institution:

– What surprised you the most?

JB: The sheer number of cheap reprints not listed in Jane Austen’s bibliographies. I had assumed that bibliographies were, barring oversight and human error, objective records of publications.  I was taken aback by how subjective the discipline of bibliography is and how biased towards “important” highbrow editions.

Deb: Your most amazing discovery?

JB: A well-thumbed copy of Mansfield Park from the 1890s that served as an attendance prize in a temperance society for coal miners.  Coal miners!

Deb: Most elusive find?

JB: A paperback copy of Elizabeth Bennet published in Philadelphia in 1845 and which originally sold for 25 cents.

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Deb: What is now the most prized book in your collection, and why?

JB: The cheap colorful copy of Northanger Abbey published by Blackie & Sons which was awarded as a school prize in Forfar Scotland in 1911 to one “Annie Munro.”  During my research, I discovered that only six months later Annie tragically died from diphtheria, age 13, and that this volume could be the sole artifact she left behind. It was an honor to be able to tell Annie’s story in the book’s last vignette, and it remains an honor to safeguard her prized book.


Deb:  Tell us about the cover, specially done for you – it is such a combination of the old, the new, the charming – just a perfect introduction to the feast that awaits the reader on the inside!

JB: The incredible artist who created the book sculpture for the cover is Mike Stilkey, who works with discarded library books and lives in Los Angeles.  He is famous for his large wall-sized installations on which he paints unique figures and animals.  In a fan letter, I told him about my own Lost Books project.  He then created his “Jane Austen” sculpture from discarded books for possible use on the cover.  Everyone at the press instantly loved it.  I agree that Stilkey’s work strikes the perfect note and I remain grateful to him for responding with such generosity to this project.

Deb: You end your book with a “call to action”: that this “gobsmackingly incomplete historical record” of the publishing of Jane Austen has much more to be added to – you wish / hope that other collectors, scholars, laypeople, and institutions will share with you any such “low-brow editions” they might have – you envision some sort of digital bibliography – how do you hope to move forward with this idea? How can people help?

JB: Ambitiously, I now hope that collectors of such reprints as I discuss in Lost Books will agree to donate these relatively inexpensive but scarce volumes to institutions with proper special collections, where these books can allow further research into publishing history and Austen’s reception.  The major Austen collector that I worked with has generously agreed to donate her Jane Austen reprints to a special collections library that has, in turn, agreed to house such a gift (cataloguing and storage costs are non-trivial).  I have agreed to add my own books to hers, trusting that, jointly, our donations will help to save information for the future and prompt others to do the same. Books such as this need to be together to maximize the information they contain as historic artifacts.  Interested parties can contact me about inquiring about similar donations.  In addition, a collector in Australia wrote me that he has reacted to my project by starting a blog that shows other collectors how to trace prices and provenance of “cheaper” reprints: https://bookcollectingheaven.com/2020/03/30/price-and-provenance/ .

Deb: And finally, what’s up next?

JB: This year, with the help of a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and a stay at the Lewis Walpole Library, I have begun a new project, called Renting in the Age of Austen.  When Jane Austen is born in 1775, the burgeoning consumer culture of late-Georgian England increasingly allowed temporary ownership over some luxury goods for a fee. Books and artworks could now be borrowed, furniture and musical instruments rented, carriages or horses hired, and whole country mansions let. Some Georgian rentals were bizarre (e.g. pineapples), but all complicated identity politics. Rented objects blur traditional social signals of rank.  Whereas old sumptuary laws aimed to fix luxury goods as markers of class, in Austen’s era privilege could be flaunted with kit and carriages not one’s own. My project explores the messy logistics of what was rented (where, to whom, and at what prices?) to reveal the social implications for this early economy of temporary possession.

Deb: Anything else you would like to share?

JB: I would like folks to know of my unexpected lockdown project: “Pride & Plague” on Twitter (@PridePlague). On this channel celebrity couple William Shakespeare and Jane Austen have been posting updates to their fans while in social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. Even those not on Twitter can see it here for a chuckle: https://twitter.com/PridePlague.  I think of this project as my contribution to morale [and a welcome contribution it is! See below for some examples…]

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Thank you Janine for sharing your insights – I do most heartily recommend this book to everyone – and please, look at your shelves and see if perchance you might have your very own “unsung reprints” lying about – you too could add to the knowledge of Jane Austen’s publishing history and be a part of this fascinating story.

 

About the author:

Janine Barchas is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor in English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity and the prize-winning Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel.  She is the creator behind the digital project What Jane Saw wherein we can view two Georgian blockbusters as witnessed by Jane Austen (Joshua Reynolds in 1813 and the Shakespeare Gallery of 1796). She has also written essays for the Washington Post, New York Times, Lit Hub, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her newest work, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, about the many unsung editions of Jane Austen, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press this past October.

Janine is also the President of NAFCH, the North American Friends of Chawton House, a group that works to raise funds and garner support for the Chawton estate of Jane Austen’s brother Edward and its Library devoted to early women writers.

Further reading:

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The Lost Books of Jane Austen, by Janine Barchas
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019
284 pages. Color illustrations throughout.

You can purchase it at your local bookseller or here at Amazon.

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As noted above, Janine is currently working through the present sheltering-in-place crisis by finding daily humor in the antics of Jane and Will and posting all about them on her twitter page “Pride & Plague.” You can follow the fun here: https://twitter.com/PridePlague

©2020 Jane Austen in Vermont

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Breaking news!  what a birthday gift for some Austen collector out there:  the Sotheby’s auction today saw the sale of Emma: first edition, all volumes with the ownership signatures of Jane Austen’s closest female friend Martha Lloyd ( Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium:  37,250 GBP); and another Emma first edition, volumes 1 and 3 (lacking volume 2), the copy sent by Jane Austen to her fellow novelist Maria Edgeworth, with the ownership signature “Maria Edgeworth” on title page of volume 1, (Hammer price with Buyer’s Premium, 79, 250 GBP) – more on this in a full post tomorrow….
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First, the grand announcement that the latest JASNA Persuasions On-Line Vol. 31, No.1, [click here for the Table of Contents ],  published annually on Jane Austen’s birthday, December 16th, is now available for viewing.  As always, a treasure-trove of essays on all things Austen – some from the 2010 AGM on Northanger Abbey, where “mystery, mayhem and muslin” ruled, and other “Miscellany” on topics ranging from Austen films and chick-lit, gender issues, to new thoughts on Austen’s death and Juliet McMaster on “Jane Austen’s Children” [perhaps signalling a new area in Austen research – see my posted interview with David Selwyn on his new book Jane Austen and Children and my upcoming review]…

And new this year, the “Jane Austen Bibliography”  has been reinstituted.  This annual compilation has not been published since 2006, since the death of the long-term compiler Professor Barry Roth in 2008.  Yours truly has taken on the task with this 2009 bibliography – my background in librarianship and antiquarian bookselling, as well as a love of bibliography [how weird is that!], not to mention Austen knowledge, has led me to this JASNA task – I will be tackling the missing years of 2007 and 2008 and those will be published along with the 2010 biblio in the 2011 Persuasions On-Line next December.  Any additions, corrections, suggestions appreciated…

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But now on to the Birthday Celebration!  I was away and did not get to Maria Grazia at her Jane Austen Book Club blog in time to be a part of her Birthday Blog Tour – but I send you to her site and encourage you to follow the links to the other 15 Austen bloggers, all posting today on this 235th year of our “Dear Jane” – visit and comment – there are many wonderful Austen-inspired prizes!

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For this year’s Birthday post, I have decided to compile a selection of presents that I think Austen would appreciate herself – we are so taken with all the Austen-related items for sale, slipping them onto our “want lists” and discretely leaving said lists around inconspicuous places for family and friends to find, or buying for our Austen-loving friends the latest and greatest in Austen-land books and paraphernalia for their birthdays and holidays – but what about Jane?  This is after all her day – and if we read the letters and her works and the various biographies, we get a true sense of what meant the most to her.  She led a fairly penny-pinching lifestyle once her father passed away and only through the generosity of family was she able to live the life of the gentry she was born to – a widowed mother and two unmarried sisters – exactly the stuff of her novels – and without any men of “good fortune” to “rescue” them, they learned to live frugally and well, but Jane still had her passions for certain things – and so if I could, I would give her all of these [and this is just a small sampling of all the possibilities!] ~ 

Tea:  from Twinings of course – “I am sorry to hear there has been a rise in tea…I do not mean to pay Twining until later in the day.” (Ltr. 98)

and served in a Wedgwood cup and saucer; “On Monday I had the pleasure of receiving, unpacking & approving our Wedgwood ware.” (Ltr. 75)

 

Teacup:  Wedgwood Harlequin  

*Note that Edward Austen’s dinnerware is up for sale at auction today at Sotheby’s – estimate is 50,000 – 70,000 GBP – the very set that “we went to Wedgwoods where my Br & Fanny chose a Dinner Set. – I beleive the pattern is a small Lozenge in purple, between Lines of narrow Gold; – and it is to have the Crest.” (Ltr. 224)

 

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Stationary:  an unlimited supply of paper, ink and postage stamps, so she can write all that she will with no need to stop at one sheet or hope for a charitable “franking”:

Writing Paper and ink:  from Plazaverde.net

 

Postage stamps:  from Stamp Circuit

Calling cards:  From Cambria Cove, so she can visit all over Hampshire, Kent, Bath, and London to her heart’s content:

 [please substitute an “A” for the “C”…]

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Fashion needs and accessories:  never enough for Jane of any of these, but I present to her for this birthday:

1.  A New Bonnet, this one fashionably covered in fruit, from HorrorShirts.co.uk ~ “Flowers are very much worn, & Fruit is still more the thing. – Eliz: has a bunch of Strawberries, & I have seen Grapes, Cherries, Plumbs & Apricots – There are likewise Almonds & raisins, french plumbs & Tamarinds at the Grocers, but I have never seen any of them in hats…” (Ltr. 20) ~

 or maybe this one at Miss Amelia’s Miniatures:   

 

2.  A variety of Floral ribbon trimmings at HymanHendler.com ~ “Must we buy lace , or will ribbon do?” (Ltr. 47)

or this:

  

3.  Fabric: a painted cotton from India at Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion:  and hopefully it will be “as wide as it used to be” (Ltr. 72) – “I shall want two new coloured gowns for the summer, for my pink one will not do more than clear me from Steventon.” (Ltr. 33)

  

4.  Stockings: always in need, never enough money –  “You say nothing of the silk stockings; I flatter myself, therefore, that Charles has not purchased any, as I cannot very well afford to pay for them; all my money is spent in buying white gloves and pink persian.” (Ltr. 1) – here is a year’s supply from Liverpool Museums ~

 

5.  And “a kerseymere Spencer” which will be “quite the comfort” in this year’s snow-bound England! (Ltr. 55)

 [from Costumes.org ]

6.  and for the men in her life ~ A Pattern for a Great Coat, which she so lovingly bestows upon her Hero Henry –  “And then his hat sat so well, and the innumerable capes of his greatcoat looked so becomingly important!” (NA, v.II, ch. 5) – this is from Reconstructing History:

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Books for Jane’s Library: 

1.  A Magazine subscription to the Lady’s Monthly Museum – so she will be forever current in news, literature, and fashion:

[from Monash University Library] and Google Books for the volume from 1817.

2.  From her beloved “Dear Dr. Johnson”, a copy of  Samuel Johnson’s  Rasselas:

  

3.  Samuel Richardson, author of her favorite book, Sir Charles Grandison, and the author referenced in Austen’s only footnote (NA, v.I, ch. 3), I offer a lovely bound copy of Richardson’s  Pamela at Stikeman Bindings:

  “Samuel Richardson; “The Complete Works” in Twenty Volumes in Deluxe Bindings, Autograph Edition; From a set of Twenty Volumes, this is the Novel “Pamela” in Five Volumes, 4to, of Full Green Crushed Morroco; Boards of Wide Borders in an Art Nouveau style, four Bright Scarlet Tulipform onlays on each board, and three Red Rose Onlays in the spine compartments (55 onlays in all); Spines sunned, here digitally retouched to approximate the original green. Hinges cracked and starting © Jeff Stikeman”

Travel accommodations:  her very own Barouche so she can travel at her own whim rather her brothers’ schedules:  “I liked my solitary elegance very much, & was ready to laugh all the time, at my being where I was. I could not feel that I had naturally small right to be parading about London in a Barouche.” (Ltr. 85) – she will now have all the right possible…

 

Food:  and just because she mentions it so much, she must have some true affection for it! ~ her very own Bowl of Gruel:  from BBC News 

  

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Popular Culture:  just because I think she would get a chuckle out of all this… 

1.  Lost in Austen at Amazon or your local bookseller

 

2.  Such a lover of puzzles might like her very own:

 

3.  A Larger-than-life wall poster of the generations-obsessed-over Mr. Darcy ~ [please take your pick…]

or

 or

or

or

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7.  And lastly, her “own darling Child” (Ltr. 79) ~ Pride and Prejudice – the  1st edition:  so she would at last get a portion of the worth of her own pen!

[From Paul Fraser Collectibles.com]

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Happy Birthday Jane ~ enjoy your handsome and “noble Gifts” [though alas! no Ermine Tippet this year!] (Ltr. 98)

Readers all ~ what would you give Jane Austen for her birthday?

Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour: Your Gaskell Library

 

Welcome to the 14th stop on today’s celebration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday – September 29, 1810!  Please join me in this blog tour honoring Gaskell as 15 bloggers, under the direction of Laurel Ann at Austenprose, each post something related to Gaskell – a look at her life and times, book reviews, movie reviews, a tour to her home in Manchester [see at the bottom of this post for the links to the various posts on the blog tour], and my post on “Your Gaskell Library” ~  where to find Gaskell in print, online, on your iPhone,  on your iPod, and on film – she is Everywhere!  By the end of the tour you will know more about Gaskell than you thought possible and be the better for it!!  There is also the opportunity to win a Naxos recording of North and South by just making a comment on any of the blogs.  Enjoy yourself as we all wish a hearty Happy Birthday to Mrs. Gaskell!

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I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is,
even at the worst time of all,
when I had no hope of ever calling her mine…

North and South
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865) is best known to us as the author of the then-controversial biography of Charlotte Bronte, where she laid bare the oddities of the Bronte household, publicizing the behavior of the semi-mad father and the destructive life and affairs of the son. But Gaskell was a well-respected and popular author in her own day; we have been seeing a resurgence of that popularity with the broadcast of Wives & Daughters (1999), North & South (2004) [the film that rocketed Richard Armitage to fame, and rightly so!], and Cranford (2007, 2009). So I give a very brief review of her life and works [this was originally posted here], followed by a select bibliography. 

Born in Cheshire to William Stevenson, a Unitarian minister, Elizabeth was raised by her aunt, the sister of her mother who died shortly after her birth.  The town of Knutsford and the country life she experienced there became her setting in Cranford and her “Hollingford” in North & South.  She married William Gaskell of Manchester, also a Unitarian minister, in 1832, had four daughters and one son, who died in infancy.  The loss of her son had a devastating effect on her and to keep herself from sinking into an ever-deeper depression, she took pen in hand and started to write.  She published her first book Mary Barton in 1848 (using the pseudonym Cotton Mather Mills), though there is some speculation that she actually started to write Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) first but put it aside to write the more socially conscious Mary Barton.  Gaskell, according to Lucy Stebbins, was chiefly concerned with the ethical question of ”The Lie”, i.e. a belief that “deception was the greatest obstacle to the sympathetic understanding which was her panacea for individual and class quarrels.” (1)  This reconciliation between individuals of different classes and between the wider world of masters and workers was her hope for humanity and it was this zeal that often led her into false sentiment in her novels and stories.(2)  But because she saw both sides of the labor question and pitied both the oppressor and the oppressed, she was thus able to portray with often explicit candor the realities of her world.  But Stebbins also says that life was too kind to her as a woman to make her a great artist.  Her tales of vengeance and remorse were written more to satisfy public taste, after she started publishing in Dickens’ Household Words.  And David Cecil calls Gaskell “a typical Victorian woman….a wife and mother”….he emphasizes her femininity, which he says gives her the strengths of her detail and a “freshness of outlook” in her portrayals of the country gentry, while at the same time this femininity limits her imagination.  In comparing her to Jane Austen, Cecil writes: 

         It is true Mrs. Gaskell lived a narrow life, but Jane Austen, living a life just as narrow, was able to make works of major art out of it.  Jane Austen…was a woman of very abnormal penetration and intensity of genius. ….. [Gaskell] cannot, as Jane Austen did, make one little room an everywhere; pierce through the surface facts of a village tea-party to reveal the universal laws of human conduct that they illustrate.  If she [Gaskell] writes about a village tea-party, it is just a village tea-party…(3) 

   Cecil is critical of her melodrama, her “weakness for a happy ending”, her overlong works that lack imagination and passion.  But he does credit her four major works (Sylvia’s Lovers, Cranford, Wives & Daughters, and Cousin Phillis) as classic and worthy English domestic novels.  

[Cranford, illustrated by Hugh Thomson.  London : Macmillan, 1891..
This copy is also available at the Illustrated Cranford site. ]

Anne Thackeray Ritchie, in her introduction to Cranford, published in 1891, also compares Gaskell to Austen, and finds the latter lacking: 

Cranford is farther removed from the world, and yet more attuned to its larger interests than Meryton or Kellynch or Hartfield….Drumble, the great noisy manufacturing town, is its metropolis, not Bath with its successions of card parties and Assembly Rooms.” …. and on love, “there is more real feeling in these few signs of what once was, than in all the Misses Bennett’s youthful romances put together…only Miss Austen’s very sweetest heroines (including her own irresistible dark-eyed self, in her big cap and faded kerchief) are worthy of this old place….”  and later, “it was because she had written Mary Barton that some deeper echoes reach us in Cranford than are to be found in any of Jane Austen’s books, delightful though they be. (4) 

Margaret Lane in her wonderful book of essays on biography, Purely for Pleasure [which also includes the essay “Jane Austen’s Sleight-of-hand”], has two essays on Mrs. Gaskell.  Lane calls her one of the greatest novelists of the time, and especially praises Wives & Daughters over Cranford for its stature, sympathies, mature grasp of character and its humour, and its effect of “creating the illusion of a return to a more rigid but also more stable and innocent world than ours” and we feel refreshed in spirit after a reading. (5) 

Wives & Daughters, Gaskell’s last work, and considered her finest, was published as a serial novel in Cornhill, the last unfinished part appearing in January 1866.  Gaskell had literally dropped dead in the middle of a spoken sentence at the age of 55, and the work remained unfinished, with only a long note from the Cornhill editor following the last serial installment.  Wives and Daughters tells the story of Molly Gibson and her new stepsister Cynthia, and their coming of age in the male-dominated mid-Victorian society of “Hollingford.” 

But it is Lane’s essay on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” in which she so highly praises Gaskell’s achievement in her biography of Charlotte Bronte.  While Gaskell obviously suppressed some facts (the letters to M. Heger) and exaggerated others (Mr. Bronte as a father and Branwell as a son), Lane says “her great biography remains a stirring and noble work, one of the first in our language…. and it is in essence ‘truer’ than anything about the Brontes which has been written since…”(6) 

Such contrary opinions!…certainly reminiscent of Austen’s admirers and critics!   Perhaps as Pam Morris says in her introduction to W&D, “Gaskell resists any simple categorization…her work ranges across the narrative forms of realism and fairytale, protest fiction and pastoralism, melodrama and the domestic novel.”(7) 

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Notes:
1.  Lucy Poate Stebbins. A Victorian Album: Some lady Novelists of the Period (Columbia, 1946) p. 96.
2.  Ibid.
3.  David Cecil.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation (Chicago, 1962) p. 187.
4.  Anne Thackeray Ritchie.  Preface to Cranford (Macmillan, 1927) pp. vii, xix.
5.  Margaret Lane.  Purely for Pleasure (Hamish Hamilton, 1966)  p. 153.
6.  Ibid, p. 170.
7.  Pam Morris.  Introduction to Wives and Daughters (Penguin, 2001) p. vii. 
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I append below a “Select Bibliography” of Gaskell’s works, biographies and critical works, as well as links to what can be found online, iPhone, audio, and film – and most everything Gaskell wrote IS available.  Many of her writings were originally published in the periodicals of the day, such as Howitt’s Journal, Sartain’s Union Magazine, Harper’s Monthly Magazine, Dickens’s Household Words and All the Year Round, and Cornhill Magazine; and many of these writings were later published in collections of tales. And, like Dickens, some of her novels were originally published in serial form [Cranford, North and South, Wives and Daughters].  I list below the novels as first published in book form, a list of short stories and essays with date of original appearance in print, and a list of current editions you can find in your local bookstore [I list only the Oxford, Penguin and Broadview editions – there are many others and reprints of all kinds – best to look for an edition with a good introduction and notes.]  There is a lot of information here, with links to even more information available on the web – there is no lack of writing on Mrs. Gaskell! – But what I really want to emphasize are her short stories, which often get lost in the hoopla about her major novels – there are many as you will see, with links appended – try some – you will not be disappointed!  

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Bibliography: Selected list   [see links below for more complete bibliographies] 

Works:  Books, Short Story Collections 

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1848; 1 volume, New York: Harper, 1848.
  2. Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras: A Lancashire Tale. London: Hamilton, Adams, 1850.
  3. The Moorland Cottage. London: Chapman & Hall, 1850; New York: Harper, 1851.
  4. Ruth: A Novel. 3 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; 1 volume, Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.  
  5. Cranford. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; New York: Harper, 1853.
  6. Hand and Heart; and Bessy’s Troubles at Home.  London:  Chapman and Hall, 1855.
  7. Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales. London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; Philadelphia: Hardy, 1869.
  8. North and South. 2 vols.  London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1855.
  9. The Life of Charlotte Brontë; Author of “Jane Eyre,” “Shirley,” “Villette” etc.. 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1857; New York: Appleton, 1857.
  10. My Lady Ludlow, A Novel. New York: Harper, 1858;  republished as Round the Sofa. 2 vols. London: Low, 1859.
  11. Right at Last, and Other Tales.  London: Low, 1860; New York: Harper, 1860.
  12. Lois the Witch and Other Tales. Leipzig: Tauchnitz 1861.
  13. Sylvia’s Lovers.  3 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; 1 vol. New York: Dutton, 1863.
  14. A Dark Night’s Work.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; New York: Harper, 1863.
  15. Cousin Phillis: A Tale. New York: Harper, 1864; republished as Cousin Phillis and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865.
  16. The Grey Woman and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865; New York: Harper, 1882.
  17. Wives and Daughters: An Every-Day Story.  2 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1866; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1866.

 

Works:  Short Stories and Essays [in order of publication] – most of these are available online at The Gaskell Web, Project Gutenberg, IPhone (Stanza – Munsey’s), etc. 

  1. On Visiting the Grave of my Stillborn Little Girl (1837)
  2. Sketches Among the Poor, No.1 (1837)
  3. Notes on Cheshire Customs (1839)
  4. Description of Clopton Hall (1840)
  5. Life In Manchester:  Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (1847)
  6. The Sexton’s hero (1847)
  7. Emerson’s lectures (1847) [attributed]
  8. Christmas Storms and Sunshine (1848)
  9. Hand and Heart (1849)
  10. The Last Generation in England (1849)
  11. Martha Preston (1850) – re-written as “Half a Lifetime Ago”
  12. Lizzie Leigh  (1850)
  13. The Well of Pen-Morfa (1850)
  14. The Heart of John Middleton (1850)
  15. Mr. Harrison’s Confessions (1851)
  16. Disappearances (1851)
  17. Our Society in Cranford (1851)
  18. A Love Affair at Cranford (1852)
  19. Bessy’s Troubles at Home (1852)
  20. Memory at Cranford (1852)
  21. Visiting at Cranford (1852)
  22. The Shah’s English Gardener (1852)
  23. The Old Nurse’s Story (1852)
  24. Cumberland Sheep Shearers (1853)
  25. The Great Cranford Panic (1853)
  26. Stopped Payment at Cranford (1853)
  27. Friends in Need (1853)
  28. A Happy Return to Cranford (1853)
  29. Bran (1853)
  30. Morton Hall (1853)
  31. Traits and Stories of the Huguenots (1853)
  32. My French Master (1853)
  33. The Squire’s Story (1853)
  34. The Scholar’s Story (1853)
  35. Uncle Peter (1853)
  36. Modern Greek Songs (1854)
  37. Company Manners (1854)
  38. An Accursed race (1855)
  39. Half a lifetime Ago (1855) [see above “Martha Preston”]
  40. The Poor Clare (1856)
  41. The Siege of the Black Cottage (1857) – attributed
  42. Preface to Maria Susanna Cummins Mabel Vaughan (1857)
  43. The Doom of the Griffiths (1858)
  44. An Incident at Niagara Falls (1858)
  45. The Sin of a Father (1858) – re-titled Right at Last in collection
  46. The Manchester Marriage (1858)
  47. The Half-Brothers (1859) – in Round the Sofa collection
  48. Lois the Witch (1859)
  49. The Ghost in the Garden Room (1859) – re-titled “The Crooked Branch” in Right at Last collection
  50. Curious if True (1860)
  51. The Grey Woman (1861)
  52. Preface to C. Augusto Vecchi, Garibladi at Caprera (1862)
  53. Six Weeks at Heppenheim (1862)
  54. Shams (1863)
  55. An Italian Institution (1863)
  56. The Cage at Cranford (18863)
  57. Obituary of Robert Gould Shaw (1863)
  58. How the First Floor Went to Crowley Castle (1863)
  59. French Life (1864)
  60. Some Passages from the History of the Chomley Family (1864)
  61. Columns of Gossip from Paris (1865)
  62. A Parson’s Holiday (1865)
  63. Two Fragments of Ghost Stories [n.d]

Works ~ Collections: 

  • The Works of Mrs. Gaskell, Knutsford Edition, edited by A. W. Ward. 8 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1906-1911.
  • The Novels and Tales of Mrs. Gaskell, edited by C. K. Shorter. 11 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1906-1919.
  • The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell, ed. Joanne Shattuck, et.al.  10 vols.  London:  Pickering and Chatto, 2005-2006.  Click here for more info on this set.

Currently in print ~ Individual Works and Collections: [only the Penguin, Oxford and Broadview Press editions are noted here – there are a number of available editions of Gaskell’s individual works – search on Abebooks, Amazon, or visit your local bookseller; and there are any number of older and out-of-print editions available at these same sources!]

  • Cousin Phillis and Other Stories.  Intro by Heather Glen. Oxford, 2010.
  • Cranford.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin 2009; intro by Charlotte Mitchell.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Elizabeth Langland.  Broadview, 2010.
  • Gothic Tales. Intro by Laura Kranzler.  Penguin 2001.
  • Life of Charlotte Bronte.  Intro by Elizabeth Jay.  Penguin 1998; Intro by Angus Easson.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Mary Barton.  Intro by MacDonald Daly.  Penguin, 1997; Intro by Shirley Foster.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Jennifer Foster.  Broadview, 2000.
  • North and South.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin, 1996; Intro by Sally Shuttleworth.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Ruth.  Intro by Angus Easson.  Penguin, 1998; Intro by Alan Shelston.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Sylvia’s lovers.  Intro by Shirley Foster.  Penguin, 1997;  Intro by Andrew Sanders.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Wives and Daughters.  Intro by Pam Morris.  Penguin, 1997


What’s Gaskell Worth Now?

Austen’s works show up at auction fairly regularly, but what about Gaskell – how does she compare to the high prices that Austen’s first editions command?  There is an upcoming Sotheby’s auction set for October 28 in London:  The Library of an English Bibliophile, Part I – all of Austen’s first editions are in the sale with high-end estimates; there are three Gaskell titles in the sale, so this gives a good idea of value:

  • Mary Barton.  London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.  First edition.  est. 4,000 – 6,000 GBP
  • Ruth.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1853.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP
  • North and South.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1855.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP.

 Letters / Diaries: 

  • Chapple, J.A.V. and Arthur Pollard, eds.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Chapple, J. A.V.; assisted by by J. G. Sharpes. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester: 1980.
  • Chapple, John and Alan Shelston, eds. Further Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.
  • Chapple J. A. V. and Anita Wilson, eds.  Private Voices: the Diaries of Elizabeth Gaskell and Sophia Holland.  Keele:  Keele UP, 1996.
  • Whitehill, Jane, ed.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton, 1855-1865.  London: Oxford UP: 1932.

Bibliographies: 

  • Selig, R. L.  Elizabeth Gaskell; A Reference Guide.  Boston: G.K. Hall, 1977.
  • Jeffery Welch, Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1929-75. New York: Garland, 1977.
  • Weyant, Nancy S.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1976-1991. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1994.
  • ______________.   Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Guide to English Language Sources, 1992-2001.  Metuchen, NJ:  Scarecrow, 2004. 
    See also Weyant’s online Supplement, 2002-2010 [updated semi-annually]
  • See the Gaskell Web page for an online bibliography

Biographies: 

  • Chapple, John.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1980.
  • ___________. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1997.
  • Easson, Angus.  Elizabeth Gaskell. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979.
  • Ffrench, Yvonne.  Mrs. Gaskell.  London:  Home & Van Thal, 1949.
  • Foster, Shirley.  Elizabeth Gaskell:  A Literary Life.  Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
  • Gerin, Winifred. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
  • Handley, Graham.  An Elizabeth Gaskell Chronology.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  • Hopkins, Annette Brown. Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Work. London: Lehmann, 1952.
  • Pollard, Arthur.  Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Uglow, Jenny.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories. London: Faber and Faber, 1993.
  • Unsworth, Anna.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Independent Woman.  London:  Minerva, 1996.

Studies: 

  • Barry, James Donald. “Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell,” in Victorian Fiction: A Second Guide to Research, edited by George H. Ford. New York: MLA, 1978.
  • Beer, P. Reader, I Married Him. . . . London: Macmillan, 1974.
  • Cecil, David.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation.  Chicago, 1962.
  • Craik, W. A.  Elizabeth Gaskell and the English Provincial Novel. London: Methuen, 1975.
  • Easson, Angus, ed.  Elizabeth Gaskell: The Critical Heritage.  London, 1992.
  • Ganz, Margaret. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Artist in Conflict. New York: Twayne, 1969.
  • Lane, Margaret.  Purely for Pleasure.  London: Hamish Hamilton, 1966.  See chapters on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” and “Mrs. Gaskell:  Wives and Daughters’.
  • Lansbury, Coral. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Novel of Social Crisis.  London:  Paul Elek, 1975.
  • Lucas, John. “Mrs. Gaskell and Brotherhood,” in Tradition and Tolerance in Nineteenth Century Fiction, by D. Howard, J. Lucas, and J. Goode. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966.
  • Matus, Jill L. The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007.
  • Morris, Pam.  “Introduction to Wives and Daughters”.  New York: Penguin, 2001.
  • Ritchie, Anne Thackeray.  “Preface to Cranford”.  New Edition.  London: Macmillan, 1907.
  • Rubenius, Aina.  The Woman Question in Mrs. Gaskell’s Life and Work.  Uppsala: Lundequist ; Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1950; reprinted by Russell and Russell in 1973.
  • Sharps, John Geoffrey Sharps. Mrs. Gaskell’s Observation and Invention: A Study of the Non-Biographic Works.  London: Linden, 1970.
  • Spencer, Jane.  Elizabeth Gaskell.  London: Macmillan, 1993.
  • Stebbins, Lucy Poate. A Victorian Album: Some Lady Novelists of the Period.  New York: Columbia UP, 1946.
  • Wright, Edgar. Mrs. Gaskell: The Basis for Reassessment.  London: Oxford UP, 1965.

Papers: 

Links:  

 

Ebooks:  

  1. Mary Barton
  2. North & South
  3. Cranford 
  4. Wives & Daughters  
  5. Life of Charlotte Bronte
  1. An Accursed Race
  2. Cousin Phillis
  3. Cranford
  4. Curious, if True Strange Tales
  5. A Dark Night’s Work
  6. Doom of the Griffiths
  7. The Grey Woman and other Tales
  8. Half a Life-Time Ago
  9. The Half-Brothers
  10. A House to Let
  11. Life of Charlotte Brontë — Volume 1
  12. Life of Charlotte Bronte — Volume 2
  13. Lizzie Leigh
  14. Mary Barton
  15. The Moorland Cottage
  16. My Lady Ludlow
  17. North and South
  18. The Poor Clare
  19. Round the Sofa
  20. Ruth
  21. Sylvia’s Lovers — Complete 
  22. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 1 
  23. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 2
  24. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 3
  25. Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages (as Contributor)
  26. Wives and Daughters  
  1. Cranford    
  2. Dark Night’s Work, A
  3. Doom of the Griffiths, The
  4. Half a Life-Time Ago
  5. Lizzie Leigh
  6. Mary Barton    
  7. My Lady Ludlow
  8. Poor Clare, The
  9. Wives And Daughters    
  10. An Accursed Race
  11. Half-Brothers, The    

Ebook editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders: 

  • The [Kindle] Works of Elizabeth Gaskell – at Amazon, for $3.99 you can download most of her works to your Kindle; but if you search further, there are several free downloads of the individual novels, and other various collections; review the contents before selecting.
  • Barnes & Noble:  same as Amazon, some collections for $3.99, many free options.
  • Borders:  has various similar options 

iPhone Apps:   

Whatever you use for books on your iPhone, there are plenty of free Gaskells available.  I use Stanza, which is a free app [there are many others – visit your iTunes store and search “books” under Apps and see what I mean!], and from there you can choose the following: Feedbooks has several; Project Gutenberg has the same as online noted above; but Munsey’s takes first prize for having the most – seems to have all the novels and stories as best I can make out – so if you are stranded at an airport or in stopped traffic, what better way to pass the time than a Gaskell short story?! 
 

Audiobooks:  

  1. Cousin Phillis (unabridged)
  2. Cranford (unabridged)
  3. North and South (abridged)
  4. North and South (unabridged)
  5. Wives and Daughters (unabridged)
  6. Wives and Daughters (abridged)
  • Silksounds:  has only My Lady Ludlow, read by Susannah York  [very good!]
  • CSA Word:  Best of Women’s Short Stories, vol. 1& 2.  Read by Harriet Walter [a.k.a. Fanny Dashwood] Includes Gaskell’s “Right at Last” and “The Half Brothers”; CSA Word also has an abridged version of Mary Barton [read by Maggie Ollerenshaw] and North and South [read by Jenny Agutter].
  • LibriVox:
  1. North & South
  2. Other Gaskell works in various states of completion 


Movies:
 [see the various blog posts listed below for movie reviews]

  1. Wives & Daughters (1999)
  2. North & South (2004) – with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe ~ sigh!
  3. North & South (1975)  – with Patrick Stewart and Rosalind Shanks
  4. Cranford (1972) 
  5. Cranford  / Return to Cranford (2007, 2009)
  6. Cousin Phillis (1982)
  7. The Gaskell Collection – DVDs  – includes 7 discs:  W&D, N&S, CRANFORD and all special features.

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Well, there’s a fine list for winter reading, listening and viewing! And somewhere in the middle of all that, treat yourself to a re-watch of Armitage in North and South! [and then of course READ it again … here is a link to an older blog post about the book and movie

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This is a rather quick list of goodies – if any of you know of a particular edition of a book, or an ebook, or an audio edition you particularly like, or a movie that I do not mention, please let me know so I can add it to the list – thank you! 

Follow this link to to the next blog on the Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour by Tony Grant at London Calling:  Plymouth Grove – A Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester

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The Gaskell Blog Tour:  Here is the complete tour through the 15 blog posts celebrating Gaskell’s Birthday today: and remember that one lucky commenter will win a copy of an unabridged edition of North and South by Naxos AudioBooks read by Clare Willie. That’s 18 hours of Margaret Hale and John Thornton sparring and sparking in Gaskell’s most acclaimed work.  Here is a list of participants. You can visit them in any order and all comments during the contest will count toward your chance to win. Good luck and Happy Birthday Mrs. Gaskell!

Biography

Novels/Biography

Novellas

Resources

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

[Posted by Deb]

Your Jane Austen Library ~ Gilson’s Bibliography ~ a Review

Gilson, David.  A Bibliography of Jane AustenNew Introduction and Corrections by the Author.  Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies  / New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1997.

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 I am often asked what I would consider the most important book to add to ones own “Jane Austen Library.”  Primary sources of course, the Chapman Oxford set of all the novels, minor works, juvenilia, etc – these volumes remain the source for citation in any scholarly work.  The new Cambridge edition would be lovely, but presently beyond my pocketbook, so the local University Library suffices for this ;  though I do wonder when this edition of the works will supplant the Chapman for citation purposes – shall start saving now…

But after that, what?   I would choose and most highly recommend David Gilson’s Bibliography of Jane Austen.  Originally published in 1982, Gilson had set out to revise and update the Sir Geoffrey Keynes’ 1929 Nonesuch Press Austen bibliography, after discovering the lack of information in the Keynes relating to the early American editions of Austen’s works.  Gilson wrote about these and other discoveries of the various early translations in his articles for The Book Collector.  At Keynes’ suggestion, Gilson began a second edition but found it best to present a whole new work based on Keynes but with much additional information and to include the work of Chapman in his 1955 Austen bibliography.  The 1997 edition is not a revision of the 1982 work but does include a new introduction, corrections, some additions, and a brief bibliographic essay on material published since 1978It is less physically attractive and lacks the frontispiece illustrations of the 1st edition, but I consider this very comprehensive work [at 877 pages!] the starting point for all Austen research. Gilson writes a very informative essay prefacing each of the twelve chapters, includes a chronological listing of editions and reprints and an exhaustive index that links back to all the entries.

I offer here a brief capsule of each of these chapters:  

A.  The Original Editions:  Gilson follows the principles set down by Philip Gaskell in his New Introduction to Bibliography [1972] and the entry for each original edition is exhaustive: full bibliographical details of the physical book [title; collation; contents; technical notes on the paper, printing, headlines, chapter headings and endings, binding; etc]; its publishing history; reviews and contemporary comments; later publishing history; auction records [fascinating!]; listing of copies examined; and other copies known to exist. [I LOVE this stuff!] 

B.  First American Editions:  as Austen mentions nothing about foreign editions of her work, Gilson assumes she knew nothing about the Emma that was published by Matthew Carey in 1816, a very rare edition, and unknown of by the earlier bibliographers – [Gilson B1].  Gilson again gives full bibliographical data as for the original editions, noting the textual variations in punctuation and spelling. 

C. Translations:  as Gilson states, despite that “JA’s opinion of the French seems not to have been high [citing her letter of Sept  8, 1816]…the French first paid her the compliment of translating her novels in 1813 and 1815.” [Gilson, p. 135]  Same full bibliographic details here for the various translations. 

D.  Editions Published by Richard Bentley:  no reissue of Austen’s novels is known after 1818 until 1832 when Richard Bentley decided to include them in his series of Standard Novels [quoting Chapman].  The copyrights had been sold to him by Cassandra for £210 and the P&P copyright was purchased from Egerton for £40.  [Gilson, p. 211]  Covers all the Bentley editions through 1882, with bibliographical details. 

E.  Later Editions and Selections:  lists “as far as it has been practicable” all other later editions of the novels from the 1830s onwards, with cursory bibliographical details and a focus on the statistical details for these editions, excepting the “textually significant edition edited by Chapman (E150)” [Gilson, p. 238] – there are 425 entries in this section. 

F.  Minor Works:  great literary history here! – with complete bibliographical details for Lady Susan, The Watsons, Charades, Love & Freindship, Sanditon, “Plan of a Novel”, Persuasion chapters, Prayers, the Juvenilia, etc. 

G.  Letters:  Brabourne, Bodley Head, Chapman editions, Le Faye coming later [the new 3rd edition, in 1995] 

H.  Dramatisations:  Gilson states that in 1929 Keynes could only find three dramatic adaptations, but fifty are listed here, and only those that are published works, and surprise of surprises, P&P being the most popular. [Gilson, p. 405]

J.  Continuations and Completions  [no “I” so not skipping anything]:  Gilson lists 14, adds a good number in his 1997 update, but since then the world has been inundated with all manner of sequels, prequels, and mash-ups –  this chapter is a good starting point for some of the less known early sequels that have gotten lost in the back room library stacks – some are quite good [Brinton and Bonavia-Hunt for example]

K.  Books Owned by Jane Austen:  there is much evidence of what Austen actually read – in Chapman’s indexes and other studies on literary influences on her – but as Gilson states, “the actual copies prove more elusive” [p. 431], so these twenty entries listed are noted in some way to have been subscribed to by her or inscribed in some way – the essay here is very informative and great to learn of the provenance of some of these titles Austen owned and read.  [Note:  I have set up a page in the Bibliography section on this blog titled Jane Austen’s Reading ~ a Bibliography –  a list of all the books that Austen owned or is known to have read, compiled from various sources – it makes a great reading list! – (it is still a work in progress…)]

L. Miscellaneous:  the ever-needed catch-all and quite a little find, as Gilson says “unclassifiable miscellanea (with yet a curious fascination of their own!) [p. 449] – for example an Elizabeth Goudge short story “Escape for Jane”, a romanticized re-telling of the Harris Bigg-Wither episode (L24), a number of works adapted for children, and a few works on the Leigh-Perrot trial.

M.  Biography and Criticism:  everything from 1813 on, to include books, journal articles, reviews, etc, chronologically arranged and annotated [though not consistently], 1814 items in total, with a bibliographical essay in the updated version to touch on recent resources, ALL examined by Gilson personally.  No words here to adequately explain this section – just an amazing piece of scholarship –

Appendix:  ca chronological listing of all editions, reprints and and adaptations of JA’s works recorded in the bibliography

Index:  pp. 753-877 – exhaustive!

… but here of course is where any printed book falls short – before it hits the stands, it is outdated. Recent efforts to keep Austen bibliography current have been largely produced by Barry Roth in his three works:

  • Roth, Barry and Joel Clyde Weinsheimer.  An Annotated Bibliography of Jane Austen Studies, 1952-1972.  Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1973.
  • Roth, Barry. An Annotated Bibliography of Jane Austen Studies, 1973-1983.  Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1985.
  • __________.  An Annotated Bibliography of Jane Austen Studies, 1984-1994.  Ohio University Press, 1996.
  • __________ .  bibliographies  in Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line published annually by the Jane Austen Society of North America [JASNA]: each annual issue has a bibliography titled “Jane Austen Works and Studies” [and later the  “Jane Austen Bibliography”] and is available online since the 1999 bibliography appeared in the 2001 Persuasions On-Line. [Note that the bibliographies in the earlier issues of Persuasions were compiled by Patricia Latkin, and later by Latkin and Roth together, then just by Professor Roth.]

And now the Internet with such immediate access to journals and books, tons of bibliographies, etc. has made all of us capable of being completely on top of everything every minute of the day – but for me, there is nothing quite like going to my Gilson to get back to those earlier days of bibliography, when a scholar such as he lovingly handled each work and made the effort to describe with such fullness each edition so it may become present before you [because you certainly cannot afford them!] and thus we are brought a little bit closer to the Austen we all love and admire – indeed, we can feel as excited as she did upon receipt of her own first copy of Pride & Prejudice as she exclaimed to Cassandra I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London “ [Le Faye, Letter 79, p. 201]

If you don’t have this book, get it – it makes for fascinating reading! [I confess to being a librarian and I know we are all a little bit weird about this bibliography and classification thing, but this book will give you much to ponder, trust me…]

Further Reading:

  • Chapman, R.W.  Jane Austen:  A Critical Bibliography. 2nd ed.  London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
  • Keynes, Geoffrey.  Jane Austen:  A Bibliography.  NY:  Burt Franklin, 1968 [originally published in London, 1929]
  • The Roth bibliographies noted above 

A few other sources, mostly Gilson, though not a complete list:

  • Gilson, David.  “Auction Sales,” in A Jane Austen Companion, ed. J. David Grey.  NY:  Macmillan, 1986.  See also his “Editions and Publishing History,” “Obituaries, “ and “Verses” in this same volume.
  • ____________. “Books and Their Owners: Some Early American Editions of Jane Austen.” Book Collector 48 (1999): 238-41.
  • ___________. “The Early American Editions of Jane Austen.”  The Book Collector 18 (1969): 340-52.
  • ___________. “Henry Austen’s ‘Memoir of Miss Austen,” Persuasions 19 (1997):12-19.
  • ___________. “Later Publishing History with Illustrations” in Jane Austen in Context, ed. Janet Todd. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen, Cambridge University Press, 2005.      
  • ____________.  Putting Jane Austen in Order.  Persuasions 17 (1995):12-15
  • ____________.  “Serial Publication of Jane Austen in French,” The Book Collector 23 (1974): 547-50.
  • Latkin, Patricia.  “Looking for Jane in All the Wrong Places: Collecting Books in Gilson’s Category J.”   Persuasions 15 (1993):  63-68.       

[Image from Ackermann’s via hibiscus-sinensis.com]

* I will be posting occasional reviews of books recommended “For Your Austen Library” – these will be listed on the bibliography page so titled.  You can also visit the the other Bibliography pages for more reading recommendations.

[Posted by Deb]