Volume the First
From the age of eleven, Jane Austen was writing short pieces of fiction, poetry and drama, often parodying contemporary novels and often violent and risqué. She copied some of these stories into notebooks – ‘Volumes’ – for family and friends to read. This book presents a photographic facsimile of the first of the three surviving notebooks, offering a rare and sometimes quite shocking introduction to the young Austen, along with an introduction, ‘A Writer’s Apprenticeship’, by Kathryn Sutherland.
Volume the Second
In Her Own Hand
Austen’s second notebook contains some of her funniest pieces, including the epistolary stories ‘Love and Friendship’ and ‘Lesley Castle’, a young lady’s guide to behaving badly, and her hilarious parody ‘The History of England’, illustrated with watercolour portraits by her sister Cassandra.
Jane Austen's first novel, Lady Susan is written in epistolary style and tells the story of the recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon, an intelligent and highly manipulative woman intent on procuring financially secure matches for herself and her daughter. The novel is read here by a full cast led by Harriet Walter.