Jane Austen's earliest writing dates from when she was just eleven years, and already shows the hallmarks of her mature work: wit, acute insight into human folly, and a preoccupation with manners, morals and money. But they are also a product of the eighteenth century she grew up in - dark, grotesque, often surprisingly bawdy, and a far cry from the polished, sparkling novels of manners for which she became famous. Drunken heroines, babies who bite off their mother's fingers, and a letter-writer who has murdered her whole family all feature in these very funny pieces. This edition includes all of Austen's juvenilia, including her 'History of England' - written by 'a partial, prejudiced, and ignorant Historian' - and the novella 'Lady Susan', in which the anti-heroine schemes and cheats her way through high society. Taken together, they offer a fascinating - and often surprising - insight into the early Austen.
This major new edition is the first time Austen's juvenilia has appeared in Penguin Classics. Edited by Christine Alexander, it includes an introduction, notes and other useful editorial materials.