As you all know by now, I am a Jane Austen fangirl, and the people in my life support that fandom. I own several Austen mugs, film and TV adaptations, and paraphernalia of all sorts. My in-laws found a compilation of Austen writings, called The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen. I’m normally not a huge person for compilations, as I’d often just rather read the books themselves, but I did find this one unique. I’m glad my in-laws gave this to me to add to my collection.
Dominque Enright compiles this short anthology, and she does so by theme. Even more remarkably, she draws heavily on Austen’s lesser-known body of work: letters and the juvenilia, which often go overlooked. Austen’s letters to her sister, brothers and sisters-in-law, and nieces, are fully of juicy gossip and the same wry humor we’ve admired her for. And the juvenile writings, while a bit rough in spots, have the same kind of observations that we see emerging in the novels. We see all sorts of commentary on society, marriage, parenting, church, and many other aspects of ordinary life. And while Austen did not live past the age of 41, we get a glimpse of the rich and interesting life she lived in the guise of a fairly ordinary background.
If you are an Austen fangirl, do give this a read. It’s fun and interesting, and it treads new ground that you may not know. I certainly found a few gems that made me chuckle in delight.
Cross-posted to my blog.