Volume the First

This is the first of three books of juvenilia copied out by Jane Austen in 1792-3, when she was thirty-six. The manuscript eloquently expresses the circumstances in which she wrote. Contrary to the myth that she composed her novels in secret, it shows that she was a member of a supportive and highly literary household. Literature was entertainment, a part of daily life, and the copies of the stories in this manuscript – originally written when Austen was aged between twelve and fifteen – were ‘trifles’ intended for the amusement of family and friends. A convivial, gently satiric humour characterizes Volume the First. Some of the dedications, such as the one displayed here, to her sister Cassandra, are parodies of the more obsequious type of letter penned by authors to their patrons.

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Autograph

184 pages, 199 x 160 mm

Late eighteenth-century English notebook: quarter brown sheepskin over marbled boards