There is an interesting book of literary criticism by Helena Kelly which starts with an overview of Austen’s life and then examines each book or major work she wrote in detail including the last manuscript fragment. The Author, Kelly poses a lot of interesting questions  and theories: about the editing process, the different publishers and the final product, versus the context of what Austen may or may not have intended with her manuscripts.

This view of criticism leans to historical and political views Austen may or may not have woven into the text of her prose with a strong focus on the social classes and the anti-slavery movements with all its connotations and consequences.  There are many citations to Austen’s own letters and to other contemporary authors, as well as magazines, journals and newspapers of the same historical time.  The author, also quotes from many JASNA articles and from other Jane Austen scholars from the historical to the contemporary.

To note, the footnotes were all end the end of the pages in small text which were harder to read but much more handy than having to turn to an index and find them — you got the gist of her cite right away to the material she was referencing — I think that was very well formatted and executed.

Many of the theories both about Austen’s work and her family and personal life, are interesting (no spoilers but I will say there were a few I’d say you could file under being classified as out there or simply being a ‘doozy’), I’m not sure I agree or jump to agree a hundred percent with the author, but they are worth reading about.

If you like to think of reading Austen as more straightforward take or leave it etc., less with shades of nuance perhaps with darker undertones this probably isn’t a book you will enjoy, and the author, Helena Kelly says something similar in the first part/introduction as well.

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