A beautifully illustrated account of the letters and correspondence of Jane Austen. It has been said that Jane Austen the woman and Jane Austen the author are all of a piece, and nowhere is this more evident to the lovers of her novels than in the pages of her letters. This handsome celebration of Austen’s letters is illustrated with portraits, facsimile letters, topographical engravings and fashion plates, all helping to bring to life the world Jane Austen inhabited. The letters, with an accompanying commentary by Penelope Hughes-Hallett, are separated into six periods of Jane Austen’s life, between the years 1796, when she was twenty, and 1817, the year of her death. They celebrate Jane Austen’s talent for expressing exactly what she perceived, making this an illuminating companion to her novels. Although the book follows a broadly chronological scheme, the letters are arranged round visual themes, including the Hampshire countryside, social life in Bath and London, domestic pursuits, paying visits and travelling by carriage. The author, who was born in Jane Austen’s Hampshire village of Steventon, lectured on English Literature for the Open University and the Oxford University Department of External Studies.