“I am very glad that you can say what you say after reading the entire novel; and Fanny’s compliments make me very happy. I had a confidence founded on it, but I lacked the certainty. That he likes Darcy and Elizabeth is enough. If she wants her, she can hate everyone else ”.
Letter to Cassandra Austen, dated February 9, 1813.
Do you know how difficult it is to write reviews when those books or author in question are important to you? I always have the feeling that I left something out. Or that I can’t put into words everything that he transmits to me. And the case of Jane Austen is one of the most special. She is one of the authors I have admired the most since I read Pride and Prejudice as a child and I was incredibly surprised by her way of portraying the society to which characters like Elizabeth Bennet belonged, who stands out for her way of thinking and acting , quite ahead of its time.
Since then, I have not stopped reading his novels and stories. And, I have been wanting to read her collection of letters for so long, that when I saw this edition I thought it would be a great way to start, as it is a small compilation of some of the letters that she sent and were sent to her during her stay in Chawton, Hampshire ), who also explains (before each of the letters) the circumstances that mark her day-to-day life and her work as a writer. And I think it’s a nice way to start learning about the life of this young woman who, at that time, was around 25 years old and had already written and was writing some of her best-known works.
Many of the letters, sent to her sister Cassandra, contained seemingly insignificant details of her daily routine, as well as news of her siblings, parents, and Austen neighbors and friends. But it is very interesting to see how some of these details influence her novels and how the irony that characterizes the author so much is also glimpsed in her letters. And we also see in her letters the strong relationship that united Jane and Cassandra Austen, which influences the life and work of the writer so much.
Jane Austen would recount in detail her visits to friends, family and neighbours, going shopping, seeing exhibitions or going for a walk or having tea, all this added to all kinds of information about the people and families they both knew: if she they had married, if they had lost all their money, if they had seen them in situations they did not expect… And, although some of the letters are merely informative, the affection he professes her and the desire he had to be in her company is perfectly clear.And, in all of them, we observe the style that characterizes her writing so much, the time she dedicates to reading and the importance it also had for her to keep her works anonymous and the few people who knew the truth about it. And it’s a delight to be able to read it again, this time in the true essence of her, in her daily routine. And it is incredible that we can count on this correspondence, not too personal, but essential and basic to learn a little more about why she wrote how she wrote and the topics that she decided to deal with above others. Because she, like Elizabeth Bennet, was also an independent woman ahead of her time.
Chawton’s letters, brought together in this beautifully illustrated book, along with commentary on the circumstances in which each of the letters were written, have been a great (and highly recommended) way to start learning about some of the ins and outs of life. of this famous writer. While it is true that we see, at the end of the book, that the author is at a great moment in her life, and perhaps falls short. For this reason, I think the time has come to get hold of the complete collection of her letters, in which I hope to be able to meet her in other circumstances and at different times in her life.