‘She has poured forth her tender tale of love in vain and exposed herself forever to the contempt of the whole world’
These three short works show Jane Austen experimenting with a variety of different literary styles, from melodrama to satire, and exploring a range of social classes and settings. The early epistolary novel Lady Susan depicts an unscrupulous coquette, toying with the affections of several men. In contrast, The Watsons is a delightful fragment, whose spirited heroine Emma Watson finds her marriage opportunities restricted by poverty and pride. Written in the last months of her life, the uncompleted novel Sanditon is set in a newly established seaside resort, with a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and speculators and shows the author contemplating a changing society with a mixture of scepticism and amusement.
Margaret Drabble’ introduction examines these three works in the context of Jane Austen’s major novels and her life, and discusses the social background of her fiction. This edition features a new chronology.