Sense and Sensibility (The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library), by Jane Austen, annotated by Margaret C. Sullivan, illustrated by Cassandra Chouinard – A Review

Sense and Sensibility (The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library), by Jane Austen, annotated by Margaret C. Sullivan, illustrated by Cassandra Chouinard (2011)As 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, we are offered another annotated edition to help us understand the social and historical context of the world that Jane Austen places us into in late eighteenth century England.

The Sense and Sensibility (The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library) is the first Jane Austen novel, in what I hope will be the bookend of Jane Austen’s six major works, to be offered in eBook format from Girlebooks. Yes, the format is digital gentle readers – and I think it quite appropriate that Margaret Sullivan is leading the way for us as its annotator. Many know Margaret as the editrix of AustenBlog.com, but she is also a strong advocate of digital books, and has for many years been waving their flag in attempt to prepare us for the inevitable. That time has come. This is the first book I am reviewing for Austenprose that is being produced solely for the digital market.

Sense and Sensibility is the tale of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, each cut from the same cloth, yet facing financial, social and romantic trials together from totally different perspectives, and – with varying degrees of hardship and success. Level headed and practical Elinor is the older of the two and often the only one in the family to keep her widowed mother and impetuous younger sister on a straight path. Marianne is wildly romantic and hell-bent to stretch the limits of proper decorum into the next county. Three men will change their life paths: Edward Ferrars, a reserved and stoic eldest son whose family aspires to greatest, yet he craves the simple life a country parson; Colonel Brandon, retired from the army and from love because of the loss of his first love many years hence; and Mr. Willoughby, handsome, charming and impassioned, but at a price. As the young ladies search for love, honor and financial security, Austen weaves in a rich social tapestry of minor characters, social commentary and the dry humor that she is renowned for.

While Sense and Sensibility offers some recognizable themes of the era of financially challenged young women searching for love and security in a society whose constraints sharply narrow their possibility of success, Austen has infused deep social context as well. Of all of Austen’s six major novels, S&S is driven by legal inheritance laws of primogeniture in England and how women were affected by them. These can be very puzzling to the contemporary reader and Sullivan’s notes throughout the text can help smooth a few furrowed brows. For example, in Volume One, Chapter two “Mrs. John Dashwood now installed herself mistress of Norland; and her mother and sister-in-law were degraded to the condition of visitors.” This one sentence is the lynchpin of the novel. If you understand why the widow Dashwood and her three daughters are be to displaced, downsized in social standing, the rest of the narrative will all fit into place. If you don’t you’re in trouble and will miss much of the inside story that Austen wants you to experience. If you tap on the numbered endnotes within the text, it will take you to the explanation. Tapping on the number again will take you back to the text. It is that simple.

With only 97 endnotes, this edition is not as extensively annotated as this year’s The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, Edited and Annotated by David M. Shapard, Anchor Books (2011), however, it does contain: A biography of the authoress; A bibliography and further reading; Information and Jane Austen’s life and culture; Author’s having fun with Jane Austen’; Fiction inspired by Sense and Sensibility; Films adapted from and inspired by Sense and Sensibility; and a buoyant forward and an unerring eye by the annotator. The illustrations by Cassandra Chouinard add levity, but are not expandable, so it was difficult to appreciate any detail. One must also take a leap of faith and assume that this is an unabridged text, but what version used, is not stated.

The eBook is available in Adobe Reader PDF, Kindle/Mobipocket PRC, ePub & Microsoft Reader LIT for the modest price of $2.99. Yes, there are a lot of “free” editions of S&S out there to be had for digital readers. Don’t be fooled by “free” gentle readers. Not all eBooks are created equal. The expert formatting and craftsmanship exhibited by this Girlebook edition is well worth the value.  For a middlin’ annotated edition, this Bicentenary Library presentation is “everything that is worthy and amiable.”

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my eleventh selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

Sense and Sensibility (The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library), by Jane Austen, annotated by Margaret C. Sullivan, illustrated by Cassandra Chouinard
Girlebooks (2011)
Available at Girlebooks, Kindle US, Kindle UK, Nookbook Store & Smashwords

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Robert Morrison – A Review

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Robert Morrison (2011)Last year, the good folks at the Harvard University Press presented the first installment in their commitment to annotate all six of Jane Austen’s major novels. Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks set the standard for the series: an unabridged first edition text, annotations by an Austen scholar, full color illustrations, over-sized coffee table format (9.5” X 10”), extensive scholarly introduction, and supplemental material – all pulled together in a beautifully designed interior and stunning cover. It was a grand slam home run. Now, just in time for holiday gift giving, Persuasion: An Annotated Edition was released this month supplying the same powerful presentation; this time to Jane Austen’s final, most profound and poignant novel, Persuasion.

Packed in the side margins of almost every page are running commentaries by editor Robert Morrison. Adding explanations, asides and illuminations, readers will be aided in understanding the narrative that may appear to the first time reader as a simple story of love lost and regained, but in actuality, is quite layered in complexity: laced with historical context, social commentary and influenced by Austen’s personal life. The illustrations run the gambit from paintings and line drawings of country manor houses and city dwellings similar to the residences of the principal characters, portraits of the monarchy, political figures, contemporary authors, Austen and her family, title pages of books of the era including Austen’s, maps, fashion plates, and images from famous illustrated editions of Persuasion by A. Wallis Mills, Charles Edmund Brock and Hugh Thomson. Of note are the helpful and interesting appendixes which include the two canceled chapters of Persuasion that were deleted by Austen herself, “Biographical Notice of the Author’ written by her brother Henry Austen, a list of further reading, and credits for the illustrations.

Students will be happy to know that quotes from major Austen scholars abound: for example, the famous “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.” love letter in volume II, chapter 11 (p 290) from Captain Wentworth to Anne Elliot rightly receives two plus pages of small type commentary from leading Austen experts such as Stuart Tave, Roger Gard, Deidre Lynch, Mary Favret, John Wiltshire, and Tony Tanner alone. There are numerous others as well, placing this edition in the scholarly category because of the numerous citations.

Besides the unabridged text, scholarly notations and quotes from deep thinkers, this edition is sumptuous eye candy for the Janeite. It is a real pleasure to have so much information collected and assembled for our edification and enjoyment. Morrison offers a lengthy and lucid introduction, but I wished that he had continued his personal observations and opinions more extensively in his annotation and not relied so heavily on quoting others. If this edition has any shortcomings, like its predecessor, the quality of the illustration does not match the content therein.

Next year we will be treated to their next annotated edition, Emma. After HUP has completed Austen’s six major novels, one secretly hopes that they might consider her novella, Lady Susan. Often overlooked, it is one of my personal favorites and could attract more readers if properly explained.

4.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited Robert Morrison
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2011)
Hardcover (360) pages
ISBN: 978-0674049741

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, Edited and Annotated by David M. Shapard – A Review

The Annontated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, Annotated & Edited by David M. Shapard (2011)How appropriate that The Annotated Sense and Sensibility is being published during the bicentenary year of Jane Austen’s first published novel.

This new book includes the complete text of Jane Austen’s classic with annotations by Dr. David M. Shapard, an expert in eighteenth-century European History who also brought us similar annotated editions of Pride and Prejudice in 2007 and Persuasion in 2010. I enjoyed both of his previous works. I find annotated editions of classics fascinating, especially if they are written from the perspective of historical and social events and not weighed down with scholarly opinions. Dr. Shapard’s agenda here is obviously to enlighten the reader by opening up Austen’s two hundred-year old text with facts, tidbits, asides, and information that a novice reader or veteran can relate to so they can appreciate the story even more.

This volume weighs in at a hefty one pound and six ounces and contains 784 pages of wow factor for any Jane Austen fan or literature lover. Jane Austen’s complete and unabridged text is included on the left hand page and the enumerated annotations on the right. No stone has been left unturned. Even the illustration on the front cover depicting two fashionably attired Regency-era young ladies walking in the countryside with an umbrella receives its own corresponding page of enlightenment on the history of the umbrella, walking as an amusement, large muffs as a winter accoutrement, and an observation on the picturesque landscape depicted in the illustration. This keen sense of the era in relation to the text continues throughout the over 2,000 annotations including: textural explanations of historical and social details, black and white illustrations of art works, caricatures, cartoons and maps, definitions of archaic words, citations from Jane Austen’s life and letters, a chronology of the novel, extensive bibliography, fifteen page introduction by the editor, and his literary interpretations of plot and characters. It is a monumental achievement that I will spend years coming back to and exploring.

I know that there has been criticism of Dr. Shapard’s unscholarly approach to annotation in his two previous editions. He uses open and accessible language for the layperson, and for the sake of clarity, he repeats definitions so the reader does not have to jump back and forth throughout the book for answers. In my view, this is considerate and not tiresome as some have complained. After all, who is this book’s primary audience? Pleasure readers and students, or scholars?  If you are a scholar you should be seeking primary source material and interpreting it in your own style, as Dr. Shapard has chosen to do in this volume. Amusingly, I find objections to the un-pedantic qualities of his writing an irony that Jane Austen would take delight in.

Overall, this new edition was mesmerizing. My only complaint is that not every inch of the right hand page is packed to the brim with annotation – but I am a greedy Janeite. Retailing at $16.95, this is a bargain resource book that every Jane Austen and Regency-era history enthusiast should own.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my fifth selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

A Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, Edited and Annotated by David M. Shapard by leaving a comment by midnight PT Wednesday, June 14, 2011 stating who your favorite character is in Sense and Sensibility and why, or what intrigues you about reading an annotated edition of Sense and Sensibility. Winners will be announced on Thursday, June 15, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only.

The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, Edited and Annotated by David M. Shapard
Anchor Books (2011) New York
Trade paperback (784) pages
ISBN: 978-0307390769

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, by Emma Thompson – A Review

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, by Emma Thompson (1995)Nominated for seven Academy Awards®, the 1995 movie Sense and Sensibility remains one of my most cherished interpretations of a Jane Austen novel. Everything about this film project seems to be touched with gold; from the award winning screenplay by actress Emma Thompson; to the incredible depth of British acting talent: Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter, Greg Wise, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson; stunning film locations in Devonshire; and the fine brush-work of the Taiwanese director Any Lee. The movie touched many and introduced Jane Austen’s classic story of two divergent sisters searching for happiness and love to millions. I never tire of viewing it, basking in its beautiful cinematography, enjoying its thoughtful performances and marveling at its exquisitely crafted screenplay – both reverent to Austen’s intensions and engaging to modern audiences.

Reading The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries written by Emma Thompson and introduced by the movie producer Lindsay Doran was such a pleasure. What a labor of love this movie was for both actress/writer Thompson and producer Doran who spent fifteen years to bring it to the screen. This highly acclaimed film won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and Golden Globe in 1996 for Thompson and the praise of hundreds of film critics and fans. Her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes was so witty and Austen-like that the film clip is a perennial favorite on Youtube. This book contains the complete screenplay, over fifty photos of the actors and scenes from the film and Thompson’s candid and often hilarious daily entries of what it was like to be involved in this incredible project. Here is a great excerpt:

Tuesday 11 April: No one can sleep for excitement. Costume designers John Bright and Jenny Beavan wish they had three more weeks but have done truly great work. The shapes and colours and inimitable. Lindsay’s already in Plymouth frantically trying to cut the script. It’s still too long. The art department object to us bathing Margaret in the parlour. Apparently they always used a kitchen or bedroom in the nineteenth century. Perhaps the Dashwoods are different, I suggest, unhelpfully.

“Thompson’s rare and personal perspective makes The Sense and Sensibility: The Screenplay and Diaries an irresistible book for students of film and Austen devotees, as well as for everyone who loved this extraordinary movie.” This is a must read for Jane Austen and period movie fans, and I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my fourth selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

A Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson by leaving a comment by midnight PT Wednesday, May 11, 2011 stating who your favorite character is in the 1995 movie or what intrigues you about a movie adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only.

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson
Newmarket Press (2007) reprint of 1995 edition
Trade paperback (288) pages
ISBN: 978-1557047823

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks – A Review

Just when I thought I had more editions of Pride and Prejudice than I should ever own up to, I will freely admit to just one more. After all, what Janeite could resist this tempting package? An unabridged first edition text; Annotations by an Austen scholar; Color illustrations; Over-sized coffee table format; Extensive introduction; And, supplemental material – all pulled together in a beautifully designed interior and stunning cover. *swoon* Where are my aromatic vinegars?

This new annotated edition appeals to modern readers on many levels beyond being a pretty package of a beloved classic. Austen is renowned for her witty dialogue and finely drawn characters, but not for her elaborate physical descriptions or historical context. When Pride and Prejudice was originally published in 1813, this brevity was accessible to her contemporary readers who assumed the inferences, but after close to two hundred years words have changed their meaning, insinuations and subtle asides have become fuzzy, and cultural differences from Regency to twenty-first century are worlds apart. Anyone can read Pride and Prejudice and follow the narrative, but it is so much more enjoyable if you can read it on an expanded level understanding it in social, cultural and historical context. Editor Patricia Meyer Spacks has not only added extensive notes on plot, characters, events, history, culture and critical analysis from a vast array of Austen and literary scholars, but added her own personal insights and observations from years of reading Austen and her experience as a college professor. From shoe roses to Fordyces Sermons to military floggings to the 19th-century meaning of condescension, readers will be informed and enlightened on every aspect related to the novel, the author and her times. In a nut shell, she has vetted great resources, gathered nuggets of knowledge and placed them at our feet.

As with all of Austen’s characters, this new annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice has its own charms, “frailties, foibles and follies.” Weighing in at over three pounds, and encompassing 464 pages of unabridged text and fine print margin notes, this book easily reigns as the most all-inclusive and well-researched editions of Jane Austen’s masterpiece that I have ever encountered. Considering that the elaborate annotation classifies it as a reference work in addition to a full text, it is quite puzzling that it lacks an index. In addition, the illustrations are expertly selected but sadly lost some of their refinement in the printing process, coming across dark and murky in places. However, I was pleased to see a list of further reading and illustration credits listed in the back of the book to encourage readers to “add something more substantial, in the improvement of [their] minds by extensive reading.

Beautiful, sumptuous and satisfying, Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition is a monumental achievement that should be on the top of your holiday wish list and considered one of few editions available to be esteemed truly accomplished.

5 of of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen, edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2010)
Hardcover (464) pages
ISBN: 978-0674049161

© 2007 – 2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Which edition of Pride and Prejudice should you read?

“How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 11

There are hundreds of Pride and Prejudice editions currently in print. Which ones do I like, and why? Here is a list of my ten favorite award winners (if I was giving out awards).

Best “prettyish kind of wilderness” cover

Pride and Prejudice (White’s Fine Edition), cover design by Kazuko Nomoto. Let’s start with the vanity editions because we all know that “vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride — where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.” Thank you very much Mr. Darcy for giving me permission to buy yet another edition of Pride and Prejudice for my library solely based on pride in my library. This lovely new edition of P&P has a striking cover design by Kazuko Nomoto of Regency-era slippers, Hessian boots, frocks and breeches that wraps around to the back; Decorative end papers; Colored page tops; Marker ribbon; Elegant type face; An authorative text (without attribution) and Thick, acid-free paper. Elegant and stylish, the couples are facing each other and I assume dancing, but since we do not see above their waists, they could be kissing! Naaagh. It is truly an edition to “exhibit” on your coffee or bedside table and not one to just read; its hefty 1 pound 9 ouches alone being the main deterrent. White’s Books (2009), hardcover, unabridged text (376) pages, ISBN: 978-0955881862

Best not your “common garden variety” cover

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition), cover design by Reuben Toledo. Even though the silhouettes might look like stick insect runway models strutting to the black and white ball at Netherfield, I recognize them as our favorite literary duo appropriately walking away from each other after Darcy steps on her dress! I just imagine that Darcy has just given Lizzy the “be not alarmed Madame letter” and it all works for me. Get hip Janeites. We can now all be Austen fashionistas and exhibit our superior designer taste on our bedside tables. Now, (pray forgive) if our husbands, boyfriends, significant others or friends were ever in doubt of our obsession, this will certainly seal the deal. In defense, you can remind them that this new edition with the haute couture cover contains Penguin Classics definitive text and a brief biography of Jane Austen that Paris Hilton won’t read, but she might deem useful as a door stop. Read my full review of this edition here. Penguin Group (2009), trade paperback, unabridged text (339) pages, ISBN: 978-0143105428

Best “classic commentary” by dead authors

Pride and Prejudice (The Modern Library Classics Edition), introduction by Anna Quindlen. Supplemental material: Commentary by noted authors; Notes on the text; Brief biography of the author and a reading group guide. This compact and lightweight edition’s highlights (besides the obvious text) are the essays by authors Margaret Oliphant, George Saintsbury, Mark Twain, A. C. Bradley, Walter A. Raleigh and Virginia Woolf. Great for a student or veteran who needs to stash an extra copy in their car boot or desk drawer at work just in case you get in a debate and need a quick reference to quote passages illustrating why Mr. Darcy is proud and not shy. Random House (2000), trade paperback, unabridged text (304) pages, ISBN: 978-0679783268

Best “copycat” edition

Pride and Prejudice (Dover Classics Edition), preface by George Saintsbury, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. This beautiful replica of the ‘peacock edition’ of Pride and Prejudice is the next best thing to the ‘real thing’ since original copies of this highly collectible 1894 edition now command a handsome sum. Hugh Thomson’s illustrations tempered for the Victorian-era book market are a bit saccharine for me, but still beautiful. The preface by leading historian and literary critic of the day George Saintsbury is amusing. Even in 1894 Jane Austen had her fanboys. “In the novels of the last hundred years there are vast numbers of young ladies with whom it might be a pleasure to fall in love, – but to live with and marry, I do not know that any of them can come into competition with Elizabeth Bennet.” Dover Publication (2005), unabridged hardcover, text (476) pages, ISBN: 978-0486440910

Best “Twilighted” marketing ploy

Pride and Prejudice (Harper Teen Edition), no introduction. Supplemental material: No forward, no notes or appendixes in sight, but cool (for teens) selection of P&P Extras: The Jane Austen – Twilight Zone, by Shirley Kinney and Wallace Kinney; Which Pride and Prejudice Girl are You? Quiz; 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Austen; What if Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy Lived Now and Were on Facebook?; and a short biography of the author thrown in for good measure. I will side with Mr. Collins in his evaluation of young ladies book taste in that “I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I confess; for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction.” The lack of supplemental information that might have “explained” the hard bits to young or neophyte readers would in this case, have been an advantage. Otherwise, the cover is a nice rip-off of the Twilight black background and inanimate objects representing the Twilight characters and wholly unconnected to Miss Austen’s. Harper Teen, trade paperback, unabridged text (472) pages, ISBN: 978-0061964367

Best “anecdotes and asides” for young readers with a Christian slant

Pride and Prejudice (Insight Edition), foreword by Nancy Moser. Supplemental material: Questions for conversation and a short biography of the author. The editors attempt to disarm reproof right out of the gate by stating that no “Regency historian, Austen scholar or doctoral literary critic” was harmed in the making of this edition. Well not quite. But that is my pithy (or not) take. The tidbits and factoids listed in the margins are from Austen fans and admirers from the Bethany House staff (one presumes since no individuals are credited) and they “highlight, inform and entertain” by tagging passages or words with symbols for: Historical and cultural details and definitions from England in the early 1800’s; Facts and tidbits from Austen’s life that parallel or illuminate the novel; References to Pride and Prejudice in today’s culture, particularly in films; Tips for love and romance; Themes of faith drawn from Austen’s life and Pride and Prejudice; Comments and asides on the book’s characters and plot and parts of the novel that just make us smile. They are very user friendly and not scholarly pedantic or religiously didactic. So sorry Mary Bennet and Mr. Collins, but you must look elsewhere for the advantages of instruction along the Fordyce’s Sermon’s vein. Great for a new readers, or fans that just want to squee along. Bethany House Publishers, trade paperback, unabridged text (360) pages, ISBN: 978-0764203886

Best “midlin” supplemental material

Pride and Prejudice (Oxford World’s Classic), introduction by Fiona Stafford. The supplemental material includes: Notes on text; Select bibliography; Chronology of Jane Austen; Explanatory notes on text; Appendix A Rank and social status; Appendix B Dancing and Textural notes. One of my favorite compact working editions of P&P, the supplemental material is excellent (except for the eh introduction) and the definitive text and notes are very “instructive”. Great for students who want a bit more explanation with notes that are presented in the back of the book highlighting historical, cultural and personal references to Austen and her family throughout the text. Pleasure readers will appreciate the compact size and beautiful design. Read my full review of this edition here. Oxford University Press (2008), trade paperback, unabridged text (333) pages, ISBN: 978-0199535569

Best “kick ass” introduction

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics Edition), introduction by Vivien Jones. Supplemental material includes: Brief author biography; Reinstated original Tony Tanner introduction; Chronology of Jane Austen; Further reading and General notes on the text. It is not often that when a new edition of a classic novel is re-issued that it also includes an introduction from a previous edition from thirty years ago. Tony Tanner’s 1972 introduction is considered one of the best ever written and so popular that it was also included as an appendix in this edition. This volume is very similar in size of supplemental material to the OUP edition mentioned above. In quality and purpose, they are neck and neck, with OUP having slightly more info and this edition the better introduction. Either one is an excellent choice for students and pleasure readers. Penguin Books (2005), trade paperback, unabridged text (435) pages, ISBN: 978-0141439518

Best “friendly” edition

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice (Anchor Books), introduction and annotation by David M. Shapard. Supplemental material includes: Note on the text of the novel; Chronology of the novel; Bibliography and Maps. The most extensively noted edition that I have read, it is packed full of every cultural, historical and aside on Jane Austen and her family’s that one could wish for. The book is easily navigated with the text on the left hand page and the annotation on the right. This makes for a hefty volume of 739 pages of pure text and facts culled from innumerable resources. I like having so much information at hand in one volume. First time readers, student and veterans love this edition. So do I. Random House (2007), trade paperback, unabridged text (739) pages, ISBN: 978-0307278104

Best “powerhouse” edition

Pride and Prejudice (Longman Cultural Edition), edited and introduced by Claudia L. Johnson and Susan J. Wolfson. In addition to a biography, chronology, maps and a bibliography, this densely supplemented edition with a full text has numerous essays and selected excerpts of Austen’s contemporaries. This is definitely a labor of love by two eminent Princeton professors who present Jane Austen’s famous novel in several provocative and illuminating contexts – cultural, critical and literary. Suitable for AP high school & college students and serious Austen enthusiasts.  It is an impressive Austen achievement and a solid chunk of Pride and Prejudiceism, but the average pleasure reader could read this till the cows come home and not understand it all. Pearson Education (2003) trade paperback, unabridged text (459) pages, ISBN: 978-0321105073

Happy reading,

Laurel Ann

Sanditon, by Jane Austen (Hesperus Press): A Review

On the 27th January, 1817 Jane Austen began work on a novel that is now known as Sanditon. It was never completed. Her declining health robbed her of what she dearly loved most, writing, and on the 18th of March 1817 after penning 22,000 words she wrote the last lines of chapter twelve and put down her pen. Four months later at age 41 she would succumb to what is generally believed to have been Addison’s disease. 

Set in the emerging seaside village of Sanditon on the Sussex coast we are introduced to a large cast of characters dominated by the two minions of the community: Mr. Parker a local landowner with grand designs of turning a fishing village into a fashionable watering place offering the therapeutic or curative benefits of sea-bathing and his partner Lady Denham, the local great lady who has “a shrewd eye & self satisfying air” and cares little about the community and only her pocketbook.

The story unfolds from the perspective of Charlotte Heywood, a young lady experiencing her first trip away from her family as a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Parker. Sanditon is populated by a comical ensemble of residents and visitors who upon Charlotte’s first acquaintance are altogether different than they later appear. Lady Denham’s nephew Sir Edward Denham is handsome, amiable and titled but is prone to long inflated speeches in the most pompous and affected style in an attempt to reinforce his own notion that he is a romantic character born to seduce women “quite in the line of Lovelaces.”  (Lovelace refers to the villain Robert Lovelace in Samuel Richardson’s 1748 novel Clarissa who rapes and ruins the young heroine.) He has designs upon Lady Denham’s companion Clara Brereton who he shall either woo with affection or carry off. Clara is a poor relation of Lady Denham’s who is maneuvering to be her heir and in direct competition with Sir Edward for her favor.

Also sharing the spotlight is Mr. Parker and his four siblings, three of whom Charlotte is told are sad invalids, but after their arrival talk a great deal about their maladies but exhibit little consequence of their afflictions. Here we see Austen at her comedic height characterizing the foibles of those who attach illness as an identity and hypochondria as their religion. The one bright light of hope in the novel is Mr. Parker’s brother Sidney who we know of only through letters and others descriptions. He may be the only character besides Charlotte who has the potential to set things in balance with his sense of humor and honest opinions. Sadly he is destined to remain the mystery hero of Austen’s oeuvre. Add to that a lineup a nest of plot ironies to raise an eyebrow at business speculation and hypochondria, and a sharp jab at the effluvia of novels and poetry and you have a narrative that whizzes along until an abrupt halt just when we are hooked.  

The uncompleted novel is a great loss to literature but also to the characters who after a bright and comical beginning are left with uncertain futures. What does remain is more than a novelty of Austenalia. Sanditon’s levity despite the author’s failing health when it was written is quite remarkable. On first reading I thought it quite energetic and satirical, similar to the burlesque humor of Austen’s Northanger Abbey. I then put it aside and did not reflect on it further. My second reading after several years brought an entirely new reaction. Austen has taken a new and fresh direction from her usual three or four families in a country village and sets her novel not about an individuals struggle but an entire community. Money is still the fuel that powers the plot, but her physical descriptions of the landscape and town are entirely new in her cannon foreshadowing what may have been an evolution in her style. Sanditon is a gem that no Austen enthusiast should miss.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Sandition, by Jane Austen, foreword by Prof. A. C. Graying
Hesperus Press, London (2009)
Trade paperback (85) pages
ISBN: 978-1843911845

By the Seaside with Sanditon: Day 6 Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Sanditon, by Jane Austen (Hesperus Press) by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about Sanditon, or who your favorite character is by midnight PDT Friday, March 26th, 2010. Winners to be announced on Saturday, March 27th. Shipment worldwide, but it might have trouble reaching Antarctica.

On an aside. For any of you that are curious about the backside of a chicken staring at us on the cover, the Hesperus Press publicist offers this revealing insight. “Regarding the cover design for this title – our designers try to avoid clichés and so don’t always go for literal covers, thinking laterally instead. The tone of the image and its colour range suit the book well, and chickens and eggs are often taken as symbols of new life, which links to Sanditon’s plot, being about a new town.”

Upcoming event posts

Day 7 – March 21 Sanditon Continuations

Day 8 – March 22 Event Wrap-up

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Lady Susan, by Jane Austen – A Review

Lady Susan, by Jane Austen (Dover Publications) 2005Jane Austen’s epistolary novel Lady Susan has never received much attention in comparison to her other six major novels. It is a short piece, only 70 pages in my edition of The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Minor Works containing forty-one letters and a conclusion. Scholars estimate that it was written between 1793-4 when the young author was in her late teens and represents her first attempts to write in the epistolary format popular with many authors of her time. In 1805, she transcribed a fair copy of the manuscript but did not pursue publication in her lifetime. The manuscript would remain unpublished until 54 years after her death with its inclusion in the appendix of  her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh’s biography of his aunt, A Memoir of Jane Austen in 1871. 

The story centers around its titular character, Lady Susan Vernon, a very recent widow in her mid thirties. Described by her sister-in-law Catherine Vernon as “delicately fair” possessing “an uncommon union of symmetry, brilliance,” these positive attributes may be the only compliments that she receives in the whole novel. There is more than a breath of scandal preceding Lady Susan’s arrival at her in-laws estate of Churchill. The gossip mill claims that while staying as a guest at Langford, she was evicted by its Mistress Mrs. Manwaring for engaging at the same time, the affections of two men who were “not at liberty to bestow them,” namely her husband, and the fiancé of her young sister-in-law. Nonplused, she moves on to her next residence the country estate of her deceased husband’s younger brother Charles Vernon and his wife Catherine. When word reaches Mrs. Vernon’s younger brother Reginald De Courcy that Lady Susan will be her houseguest, he is eager to meet the most “accomplished coquette in England” promptly arriving knowing full well her scandalous past. Her unprincipled artifice and its fallout can all be explained, and very cleverly. Possessing a command of the language that can “make black appear white,” she prides herself upon the pleasure of making a person predetermined to dislike her convert to her advocate. It is not long before Reginald falls into her net of deceit and under her romantic control, much to the displeasure of his family. Revolving around this “Mistress of deceit” is her terrified sixteen-year old daughter Frederica who she is attempting to marry off to a wealthy buffoon Sir James Martin, the elderly De Courcy parents who hear all the news of the infamous Lady Susan through their daughter Mrs. Vernon, and Lady Susan’s confidant, the equally unscrupulous Alicia Johnson married to a gouty man who in Lady Susan’s view is “too old to be agreeable, too young to die.” They are two peas in a pod, and through Lady Susan’s disclosure to her friend, we see her schemes, machinations, and truly captivating wicked nature. 

Outrageously fun and artfully melodramatic, Lady Susan is the sleeper novel of Jane Austen’s oeuvre whose greatest fault lies in its comparison to its young sisters. Since few novels can surpass or equal Miss Austen’s masterpieces, Lady Susan should be accepted for what it is – a charming, highly amusing piece by an author in the making who not only presents us with interesting and provocative characters, but reveals her early understanding of social machinations and exquisite language. Its biggest challenge appears to be in the limitations of the epistolary format where the narrative is revealed through one person’s perspective and then the other’s reaction and reply, not allowing for the energy of direct dialogue or much description of the scene or surroundings. Given its shortcomings it is still a glistening jewel; smart, funny, and intriguing wicked. 

5 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Lady Susan, by Jane Austen
Dover Publications (2005)
Trade paperback (80) pages
ISBN: 978-0486444079

A Soirée with Lady Susan: Day 13 Giveaway 

Lady Susan, by Jane Austen (Dover Publications) 2005. 

Leave a comment by midnight PT on Sunday, September 13th to qualify for a free drawing on September 14th for one of four copies of the Dover Publications edition of Lady Susan, by Jane Austen (US residents only) 

Lady Susan AvatarUpcoming event posts
Day 14 – Sep 14          LS Wrap up & Giveaway announcement

Catharine and Other Writings, by Jane Austen (Oxford World’s Classics) – A Review

Catharine and Other Writings, by Jane Austen (Oxford World's Classics) 2009“Beware of swoons, Dear Laura …  A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is, I dare say, conducive to Health in its consequences — Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint –”  Letter 14, Laura to Marianne, Love and Freindship 

Jane Austen grew up in the perfect fertile environment for a writer. Her family was highly educated and passionate readers, including novels which were considered by some in the late 18th-century as unworthy. Educated predominately at home, her father had an extensive library of classics and contemporary editions at her disposal. In her early teens, she began writing comical and imaginative stories for her family and close friends as entertainments and transcribing them into three volumes that would later be known as her Juvenilia. The plots and characters of these short stories are filled with unguarded satire, comical burlesque and “splendid nonsense”; — shrewd parodies of contemporary novels, historical figures and even her own family engaged in unprincipled deeds: lying, cheating and occasionally murder. Described by her father as “Effusions of Fancy by a very Young Lady Consisting of Tales in a Style entirely new”  they represent the creative beginnings of a clever and perceptive mind whose skill at keen observation of social maneuverings and the importance of wealth, so valued in her mature works, are apparent from the early beginnings. 

If you have consumed all of Austen’s major and minor novels, this reissue by Oxford University Press of their 1998 edition is an enticing treasure. In Catharine and Other Writings, we are introduced not only to a writer in the making, but a collection of prayers, poems and unfinished fragments of novels written in maturity and rarely reprinted. As with the other Oxford editions of Jane Austen’s works reissued in the past year, this edition contains excellent supplemental material: a short biography of Austen, notes on the text, a select bibliography, a chronology of Austen’s life, textural notes, insightful explanatory notes and a superb introduction by prominent Austen scholar Margaret Anne Doody that details the inspiration from her family and her environment that influenced and formed Austen’s creative mind.  

“Jane Austen was not a child as a writer when she wrote these early pieces. She possessed a sophistication rarely matched in viewing and using her own medium. She not only understood the Novel, she took the Novel apart, as one might take apart a clock, to see how it works – and put it back together, but it was no longer the same clock. Her genius at an early age is as awe-inspiring as Mozart’s.” pp xxxv 

What I found so engaging in this collection was the lightness and comical devil-may-care freeness in Austen’s youthful approach. It was like a rush of endorphin to a dour mood, taking you outside of your troubles and elevating you into a magical world of a youthful imaginings and farcical fancy. I have several favorites that I will re-read when I need a laugh, especially Love and Freindship, The Beautiful Cassandra and The History of England. Not all of the works are comical. When Winchester races  is a verse written when Austen was mortally ill and dictated from her deathbed to her sister Cassandra three days before her death. It is her final work. A moralistic piece, it resurrects the ghost of St. Swinthin who curses the race goers for their sins of pleasure. 

When once we were buried you think we are gone

But behold me immortal! 

An interesting choice of subject for the last days of her life, and ironic in relation to what acclaim she has garnered since she has gone. Like St. Swinthin, Jane Austen is indeed immortal! 

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Catharine and Other Writings, by Jane Austen (Oxford World’s Classics)
Edited by Margaret Anne Doody and Douglas Murray
Oxford University Press, USA (2009)
Trade paperback, 424 pages
978-0199538423

Jane Austen Selected Letters (Oxford World’s Classics) – A Review

Jane Austen Selected=“You deserve a longer letter than this; but it is my unhappy fate seldom to treat people so well as they deserve.” Jane Austen, 24 December 1798 

Jane Austen’s personal correspondence has stirred up controversy since her untimely death in 1817 at age 41. The next year her brother Henry Austen wrote in the ‘Biographical Notice of the Author’ included with the publication of her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion that she ‘never dispatched a note or a letter unworthy of publication’. Years later, a niece Caroline Austen did not agree, ‘there is nothing in those letters which I have seen that would be acceptable to the public.’ In comparison to her published works, the letters do dwell upon ‘little matters’ of domestic life in the county, but to the patient reader we begin to understand Austen’s life and experiences beyond the minutia and realize through her clever descriptions and acerbic observations how this simple parson’s daughter became the author of novels that are so valued and cherished close to 200 years after their publication. 

This reissue by Oxford University Press of their 2004 edition of Jane Austen Selected Letters is more than worthy of a second printing. Not only does it include two thirds of the known surviving letters and a thoughtful introduction by scholar Vivien Jones chronicling the history of the letters stewardship with the family, its supplemental material alone makes it an incredible value for the price. As with the other Oxford World’s Classics of Austen’s major and minor works that have been reissued this past year, it includes a brief biography, notes on the text, a select bibliography, a chronology of Jane Austen’s life, and explanatory notes. Unique to this edition, and by far the highlight are the glossary of people and places and the detailed index for quick reference. 

For students and Austen enthusiast seeking a compact edition in comparison to the comprehensive and hefty Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye, this reissue is a sleek and densely informative package. Usually I abhor abridged editions of anything, but in this instance we are given an excellent selection of letters and a lively introduction at less than a third of the price of its competitor. In this economy, I say better and better.   

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Jane Austen Selected Letters (Oxford World’s Classics)
Selected, introduced and notes by Vivien Jones
Oxford University Press, USA (2009)
ISBN: 978-0199538430

Mansfield Park: Current Editions in Print Roundup & Review

THE SCOOP

Literary classics that are out of copyright can be a gold mine for publishers. With no living authors to negotiate contracts or pester them about marketing and promotions, they are at their leisure to do as they please, and do so, as is apparent in some choices of cover artwork! The competition in the marketplace for classics is stiff and really heats up when a renowned author such as Jane Austen enters the arena. Even her lesser known works such as Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park get equal treatment. Hurrah. We are all for equality in the book force.

There are at present over 50 editions of Mansfield Park available in printed book format on Amazon.com. Everyone has their preferred edition, but here are my selections of the best and brightest currently in print. I would love to hear about your favoured edition, so please share by leaving a comment between August 16 and the 30 to qualify for some of our free give-aways during Mansfield Park Madness.  

Books 

The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Volume III: Mansfield Park

Oxford University Press, USA (1988). First published in 1923, this third edition of Oxford’s classic volume is still the definitive text and supplemental material recommended by JASNA and many veteran readers of Jane Austen novels. Editor Dr. R.W. Chapman’s emendations and revisions of the text based on a “full collation between all the published editions in the author’s lifetime” is currently under debate by scholars, but the nuances will fly past the pleasure reader. This volume contains an impressive presentation of support material including: Introductory Note, the complete play Lovers’ Vows which the characters in novel attempt to produce, Appendixes on the Chronology of Mansfield Park, Improvements, and Carriages and Travel, and Indexes to the Characters &C. The size is quite workable in spite of its extras. Probably the most used supplemental material on Mansfield Park in my personal library. Hardcover, 584 pages, ISBN 978-0192547033. 4 out of 5 Regency stars           

Mansfield Park: Penguin Classics

Penguin Classics (2003). Revised edition. The interesting slant on this edition is that the editor Kathryn Sutherland used the text of the first edition of Mansfield Park (1814), which literally reverses the emendations by Chapman in the Oxford editions, and has not attempted to make any changes; not even spelling corrections or the ones that Jane Austen made herself for the second edition! She kindly refers the reader to the extensive ‘Emendations to the Text’ section and lists the changes from the first edition of 1814 to the second edition of 1816. Pleasure readers might be puzzled by all this posturing by Austen scholars, (which is a bit deep into subtle nuances), but the rest of the supplemental material is quite extensive and helpful including; Introduction, Chronology, Further Reading, Note on Text; Appendixes: Re-instated introduction by Tony Tanner, Emendations to the Text, Textural Variants between the First and Second editions and Notes broken down by chapters. This a tight and clean editionwith its chapter notes and the re-instated introduction by Tony Tanner make it well worth the price. Trade paperback, 480 pages. $8.00, ISBN 978-0141439808. 3½ out of 5 Regency stars           

Mansfield Park: Barnes & Noble Classics

Barnes & Noble (2004). Revised edition. The best thing going for this edition is its typesetting size and price. I could not find any mention of what edition or level of emendations where used on the text, so the editors are not shooting for the scholarly types; just plan old folks who don’t give two figs about what the textural battles are about. This is a slight oversight, since they had plenty of available space on the front pages to just mention what text they used and why. Oh well. Mansfield Park is Jane Austen, largest novel in size motivating publishers to try to cut down on price by using smaller print which can be quite vexing even to young readers, so this edition’s larger typeface is a pleasant surprise. The supplemental material is medium depth and includes; From the Pages of Mansfield Park which include some choice quotes, Biography of Jane Austen, The World of Jane Austen and Mansfield Park which is basically a chronology, Introduction by Amanda Claybaugh, brief Endnotes, Inspired by Mansfield Park which includes short blurbs on the movies Metropolitan and Mansfield Park (1999), Comments and Questions, and Further Reading. I will say that most of the comparably priced MP’s do not include any supplemental material, so B&N’s clout and deep pockets give readers a slight bonus. Hardcover, 427 pages, $7.95, ISBN 978-1593083564; softcover, 427 pages, $5.95, ISBN: 978-1593081546.  out of 5 Regency stars 

Mansfield Park: Oxford World’s Classics

Oxford University Press (2008). Revised edition. Oxford Press continues to impress me with their commitment to publish classics and revise them regularly. This new edition is much the same as its predecessor the 2003 edition, (which was truly a revision with new supplemental material), however, Oxford did spiff up the cover modernizing the design! This volume still shines in my estimation of what a great medium sized edition should be presenting an array of supplemental material that is easy to access, informative and inspiring including; Biography of Jane Austen, Introduction by Jane Stabler, Notes on the Text, Chronology; Four Appendixes: Lovers’ Vows (the play that the characters attempt to produce), Rank and Social Status, Dancing, Austen and the Navy; Textural Notes and Explanatory Notes. When it comes down to the wire, this edition is the best buy for the price at $7.95. Trade paperback, 418 pages, ISBN 978-0199535538.  out of 5 Regency stars 

Mansfield Park: Broadview Literary Texts Series

Broadview Press (2001). This hefty volume may just be the most in depth presentation of supplemental material available with an affordable price tag. The eight appendixes pull together a variety of interesting and comprehensive essays to help the reader place the novel in historical and social context, the author’s world and perspective at the time of its writing, and beyond. Some of the topics covered in the appendixes are (and space permits me from listing them all, so if you really need to know, go here) The Theatricals in Mansfield Park, Religion, Ideals of Femininity, The Improvement of the Estate, The West Indian Connection, Women’s Education, Contemporary Reception of Mansfield Park and Jane Austen’s Letters and Mansfield Park. This edition also includes a full introduction by noted scholar June Sturrock of Simon Fraser University, Notes on the text, a Chronology, and the full novel text! I can imagine that this would be very useful to advanced high school students, college level, and true Janeites who really want to dig deep into understanding the novel, its impact on literature, and the social context that inspired it. Trade paperback, 528 pages, $14.95, ISBN 978-1551110981. 5 out of 5 Regency stars 

Mansfield Park: Norton Critical Edition

W.W. Norton & Co, Inc. (1998). Another authoritative presentation of in-depth supplemental material for scholars and serious students to digest, covering an incredibly impressive array of topics mentioned in, inspired by, or about the novel, all edited and introduced by Princeton University Professor, and Austen scholar Claudia L. Johnson. The major categories of the supplemental material include; a full Introduction, Map of England, Notes on the Text; Contexts including twelve essays ranging from poet William Cowper to landscape designer Humphry Repton; and Criticisms by Jan Fergus, Lionel Trilling, Alistair Duckworth, Nina Auerback, Joesph Litvack, Edward Said, Brian Southam, and Joseph Lew. I doubt that anyone could sit down and read this from cover to cover in one sitting, however, there is so much depth of subject and detail, that one could truly spend an entire lifetime using this edition as a resource. An incredible STEAL for the price. Trade paperback, 544 pages, $11.00, ISBN 978-0393967913. 5 out of 5 Regency stars 

Mansfield Park: The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen

Cambridge University Press (2005). This mysterious edition (to me) may just be the Flying Dutchman and the Holy Grail of Jane Austen editions, for I have yet to see one in hand, nor does my local library carry it, or are any other libraries willing to let it out of there sights by inter-library loan! Conclusively, it must be a treasure, and since it costs a bloody fortune, it most certainly is locked away in a University library special reading room where only scholars with white gloves can handle it!! I wish I could enlighten you all on what it contains, but alas, after an exhaustive attempt to obtain a copy short of paying the hefty price tag, I came up empty. Oh well. There always needs to be an unattainable Austen book out there to keep us Janeites dreaming. Hardcover, 826 pages, $130.00, ISBN: 978-0521827652. ? out of 5 Regency stars 

Upcoming posts
Day 3 – Aug 17            MP 1983 movie discussion
Day 4 – Aug 18            MP Naxos (Juliet Stevenson) audio
Day 5 – Aug 19            MP novel discussion chapters 9-16
Day 6 – Aug 20            Metropolitan movie discussion

Oxford World’s Classics Pride and Prejudice: Our Diptych Review

Cover of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, Oxford World Classics, (2008)

his perfect indifference, and your pointed dislike, make it so delightfully absurd!” Mr. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 57

Gentle readers, Please join us for the second in a series of six diptych reviews of the revised editions of Jane Austen’s six major novels and three minor works that were released this summer by Oxford World’s Classics. Austenprose editor Laurel Ann is honored to be joined by Austen scholar Prof. Ellen Moody, who will be adding her professional insights to complement my everyman’s view. 

 

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Oxford World’s Classics Revised edition, (2008) 

Laurel Ann’s Review 

Any reader of the novel Pride and Prejudice, be it novice or veteran, has certain expectations and apprehensions based on its incredible popularity and renown. The same can be said for the media, whose recent over-use of its famous opening line, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged…’ can be found repeated in the opening of many a news, magazine or blog article announcing some creditable or dubious connection to Jane Austen’s characters or plot. Interestingly, it has become the meme of the day passed along and re-used by those who want to appear in the know, but are sadly missing the point. It is debatable if Pride and Prejudice’s profound truths can be reduced to just universally acknowledged one-liners. If the novel was that easy to figure out we would not care two figs about it, and after nearly two hundred years, it would have been lost to obscurity! What one can expect though is so much more; an engaging plot that keeps you thinking and re-evaluating characters every step along the way, witty, sharp and humorous dialogue that others wish to emulate but never quite achieve, and a love story which just might reign supreme for all eternity. With all of these expectations before us, who could not be a little intimidated?  

The Oxford World’s Classics new edition of Pride and Prejudice might just meet your need to read and explore Jane Austen’s classic novel. This edition presents the reader with a wide variety of supplementary material to help you along in your discovery of the universal truths in Pride ad Prejudice. Like many editions, it supplies us with an unabridged text that has been carefully edited by prominent scholars since it was first published in 1813. ‘Carefully’ is the operative word here, since the debate is on about what has been changed or removed from the text. I will again defer to my learned co-reviewer Prof. Moody to delve into that arena. In addition to the brief biography of Jane Austen, select bibliography, chronology of her life, and two appendixes on dancing and social status that are repeated in each of the six editions in this series, (and previously mentioned in our first review), this volume includes a twenty-six page introduction by Fiona Stafford, notes on the text including a publishing history, textural notes and explanatory notes unique to this edition filled with insights and facts neatly organized and easy to find. 

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