Stock MontageGetty Images
While she lived and wrote over 200 years ago, Jane Austen’s heroines remain beloved to this day. Her stories are rendered timeless with modern day adaptations like Clueless, fire island, and Bride and Prejudice and her influence is practically unmatched with her books still being read in university lectures and high school classrooms around the world today.
“She is canonical in a way that she probably would not have anticipated,” explains Stanford English professor Alex Woloch. “Her work falls so easily into dialogue not just with past literature but, strangely, with novels that had yet to be written.”
Here, a complete list of all of Austen’s work, from her juvenilia to various posthumous releases.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Love and Friendship is one of Austen’s earliest works. And while it’s unknown at what age she wrote the story, it is definitively one of her first published writings. A satirical take on the romance novel, the story takes its shape through a series of letters between two friends, Laura and Marianne.
The Beautifull Cassandra
Princeton University Press
As a pre-teen, Austen wrote The Beautiful Cassandraa short novel that follows a mischievous young girl on a visit to London who she steals from shops and spies on locals. The Princeton University Press calls the 12-chapter book, which features 465 spelling mistakes and a lighthearted story, “an irreverent and humorous little masterpiece.”
Lesley Castle: An Unfinished Novel In Letters
Austen wrote this novel when she was around 16 years old, but it remains unfinished. Like Love and Friendship, Lesley Castle is an epistolary novel, chronicling the correspondence between two friends. Margaret Lesley and Charlotte Lutterell, who gossip about the scandals in their respective high society circles. While the book isn’t completed, it offers an early look into what Austen would later go on to become famous for: her wit, her humor, and her ability to create a charming female leads.
This novella’s titular character, Lady Susan, is a charming and beautiful widow who has a way of seducing every man she meets. Eventually she captures the hearts of two men: the married Mr. Manwaring, and her sister-in-law’s brother, Reginald. To further complicate matters, Lady Susan’s daughter, Fredrica, also falls for Reginald. Austen shows her gift in creating humorous plot points, love-struck characters, and of course, annoying but hilarious male antagonists.
While Sense and Sensibility was first published anonymously, it’s now a beloved classic that many Austenites consider a must-read. The first of Jane Austen’s core six books follows the Dashwood sisters: Elinor who leads from the head (sense) and Marianne who leads from the heart (sensibility). The romantic relationships of both sisters force the women to reexamine their perspectives—with Marianne learning not to chase a fairytale love story and Elinor letting her guard down every once in a while.
Even a non-Austen expert will know this title. The famed Pride and Prejudice follows the Bennet sisters as they face the pressures of the marriage market due to the family’s financial strain. When the eldest sister Jane meets Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth Bennet is captivated yet repulsed by Bingly’s handsome and brooding friend, Mr. Darcy. If you’re an Austen lover, you’re all too familiar with how these enemies-to-lovers tale between Elizabeth and Darcy goes. The novel is arguably Austen’s most famous book and this regency-era story is still enjoyed two centuries on, no doubt spurned by numerous film adaptations including the Oscar-awarding winning movie starring Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen.
Austen’s third full-length novel, Mansfield Park, is known for being more mature than Austen’s other works. Rather than love, the novel is more focused on the consequences of greed and recklessness as the story’s heroine, Fanny Price, witnesses the romances that take place in Mansfield Park between the Bertrams and the Crawford siblings. While the title may not share the same fame as Pride and Prejudicemany of Austen’s famous themes, including class disparity, are written beautifully into Mansfield Park.
Austen’s next release, Emma, takes a fun and flirty turn in the tale of a spoiled young high society woman of Highbury, Emma Woodhouse, and her attempt to play matchmaker for her friend Harriet Smith. Emma soon finds out that she’s naive about what love means and to further complicate matters, she develops feelings for her neighbor Mr. Knightly. A timeless coming-of-age story, Emma‘s been adapted many times in films ranging from a 2016 version starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film Clueless.
Oxford University Press
Persuasion is Austen’s last completed novel, and it features another heroine who has become an Austenite favorite: Anne Elliot. A few years after breaking off an engagement to the love of her life, Frederick Wentworth, Anne’s once wealthy family falls from grace after experiencing financial struggle. Wenthworth who had been a lowly naval officer is now a wealthy man famous for his war-time accomplishments and he has not quite forgiven Anne for calling off the marriage. The famous will-they-or-won’t-they story is a favorite among many English literature lovers and was recently adapted for Netflix, with Dakota Johnson starring as Anne.
The final book of Austen’s core six is Northanger Abbey, which was published posthumously in December of 1817, five months after Austen’s death. The novel, divided into two sections, is both a satire fo the gothic genre and a coming-of-age story following Catherine Moreland as she is charmed by Henry Tilney. When Tilney invites Catherine to his family estate, her imagination runs wild.
Although Austen abandoned The Watsons in 1804, leaving it unrevised, her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh published the work in a biography titled A Memoir of Jane Austen. The story follows the daughter of widowed clergyman, Emma Watson, who’s been well educated and raised by her wealthy aunt. Life is good for Emma until her aunt remarries, forcing Emma to go back home with her father, brothers, and sisters. Upon her return, she is burdened with finding husbands for her unrefined and backless sisters. Even without an ending, The Watsons is worth the read.
Austen’s writing legacy ends with Sanditon, as she passed away without finishing the novel. The story follows Mr. Parker, who aspires to develop the town of Sanditon into a bustling seaside resort with the help of a wealthy widow named Lady Dunham. While it remains unfinished, this story is still read by Austen completist, and the story serves as a jumping off point for a TV series with the same name.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below