Love and Friendship
and Lesley Castle
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There was nothing of the literary woman in the external affairs of her life and its conduct. Born on 16 December, 1775, at Steventon in Hampshire, of which her father was rector, she passed the intervening years almost entirely in the country. She lived with her family in Bath from 1801 to 1806, and at Southampton from 1806 to 1809. Later, she paid occasional visits to London where she went not a little to the play; but she never moved in “literary circles,” was never “lionised” and never drew much advantage from personal contact with other people of intellect. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote three additional novels, Lady Susan, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, all published posthumously, and began a fourth, which was eventually titled Sanditon. Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817, at the age of 41, before completing it.
Love and Freindship is a juvenile story by Jane Austen, dated 1790. From the age of eleven until she was eighteen, Jane Austen wrote her tales in three notebooks. The notebooks still exist – one in the Bodleian Library; the other two in the British Museum. They include among others Love and Freindship. Virigina Woolf called it "Spirited, easy, full of fun, verging with freedom upon sheer nonsense — Love and Freindship is all that; but what is this note which never merges in the rest, which sounds distinctly and penetratingly all through the volume? It is the sound of laughter. The girl of fifteen is laughing, in her corner, at the world."
Lesley Castle is an unfinished novel by the sixteen year old Jane Austen. It consists of eleven letters and is a part of Austen’s Juvenilia, written throughout her teen years mostly for the entertainment of her family. Written with characteristic humour, the letters contain amusing scenes, clever characterisation and sharp wit. The voices of the letters are distinct and the purpose of their creator satiric. Sub-plots abound: an adulterous elopement, an abandoned child, divorce and remarriage, a bridegroom’s fatal riding accident just before his wedding and the problems of step-families.
Zona Gale, New York Times Book Reviews, 1922 — Henceforth it is a part of literary experience to have read Jane Austen's Love and Freindship written when she was 17. First, the joy of it. For the return of zest. For the forgotten faculty to ripple with inward laughter. Next for the love of Jane. We have admired her and she has amused us; but have we ever loved her? Ever called her Jane? And third, for the fun of shaking those leaves of hers before English literature classes.
Virginia Woolf: Jane Austen, The Common Reader 1925 - Jane Austen was the authoress of an astonishing and unchildish story, Love and Freindship, which, incredible though it appears, was written at the age of fifteen. It was written, apparently, to amuse the schoolroom; one of the stories in the same book is dedicated with mock solemnity to her brother; another is neatly illustrated with water-colour heads by her sister. These are jokes which, one feels, were family property; thrusts of satire, which went home because all little Austens made mock in common of fine ladies who “sighed and fainted on the sofa”.