The Best Books About Jane Austen

atkins-bookshelf-booksIn honor of her enduring work, the Jane Austen Centre, host of the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, recently declared that December 16 is Jane Austen Day (the date of her birth, December 16, 1775). Austen died at the relatively young age of 41; she would be 239 today (although a proper lady would never divulge her age, of course). Although it is an unofficial designation, the special day will be commemorated worldwide with various Austenesque events —  dramatic readings, dressing up in Regency costumes, meeting for tea al fresco, visiting sites mentioned in her books, or recreating scenes from film adaptations or the novels themselves.

During Austen’s lifetime her novels were published anonymously and although generally well-received, they were not runaway bestsellers; it was only after her death that her popularity grew dramatically. Today, of course, her novels are considered classics and Austen remains one of the world’s most widely read writers in English literature, along with William Shakespeare (who preceded her) and Charles Dickens (who followed her). Although not as prolific as her literary counterparts, her six romantic novels have been adapted into many films, plays, and television mini-series over the decades — proof that her insightful and biting commentary on society and championing of feminism are still very relevant today. Her novels have also inspired dozens of books about her life, her characters, her culture, and her writing. In honor of Jane Austen Day, Bookshelf presents some of the best books about Jane Austen for Janeites, young and old.

The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Jane Austen by Carol Adams
Jane Austen’s England
by Roy Adkins

Walking Through Jane Austen’s London by Louise Allen
Jane Austen: In Her Own Words and the Words of Those Who Knew Her by Helen Amy
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (Knickerbocker Classics) by Jane Austen

In Her Own Hand (Facsimilies of her early manuscripts) by Jane Austen
Emma: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
Persuasion: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition by Jane Austen
The Works of Jane Austen (6 Volume Set, Easton Press) by Jane Austen (illus. by C.E. and H.M. Brock)
A Memoir of Jane Austen by J. E. Austen-Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew)
The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas
Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity by Janine Barchas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black
Jane Austen’s Manuscript Works edited by Linda Bree
Why Jane Austen? by Rachel Brownstein

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne
The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood by Paula Byrne
A Truth Universally Acknowledge: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen by Susannah Carson
The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen by Edward Copeland

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
A Jane Austen Christmas: Celebrating the Season of Romance, Ribbons, and Mistletoe by Carlo DeVito
Jane Austen’s Names: Riddles, Persons, Places by Margaret Doody
Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah-Jane Downing

The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen by Dominique Enright
Jane Austen’s Country Life: Uncovering the Rural Backdrop to her Life by Deirdre Le Faye
Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels by Deirdre Le Faye

Celebrating Pride and Prejudice: 200 Years of Jane Austen’s Masterpiece by Susannah Fullerton
A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball by Susannah Fullerton
Performing Jane: A Cultural History of Jane Austen Fandom by Sarah Glosson
Dear Cassandra: The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen by Penelope Hallett
101 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon
Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Private Journal by Edith Hawe
The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen by Penelope Hughes-Hallett

Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James
A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen by Richard Jenkyns
The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor
Jane Austen: The Complete Novels in One Sitting by Jennifer Kasius
Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly
Jane Austen and Names by Maggie Lane
Jane Austen’s World: The Life and Times of England’s Most Popular Author by Maggie Lane
The Making of Jane Austen by Devoney Looser
Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen by Gabrielle Malcolm
Jane Austen on Love and Romance edited by Constance Moore
What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullan
The Jane Austen Rules: A Classic Guide to Modern Love by Sinead Murphy
Jane Austen Obstinate Heart: A Biography by Valerie Myer
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart by Laurel Ann Nattress
The Jane Austen Miscellany by Lauren Nixon
Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou and Massimo Mongiardo
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England by Daniel Pool
The List Lover’s Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh

What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen by Potter Style
Jane Austen in Bath: Walking Tours of the Writer’s City by Katharine Reeve
Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross
The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy: A Novel by Maya Slater
The Jane Austen Writers’ Club: Inspiration and Advice from the World’s Best-Loved Novelist by Rebecca Smith
The List Lover’s Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers by Margaret Sullivan
The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan
Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels by Janet Todd

Jane Austen: A Life by Clair Tomalin
Dinner with Mr. Darcy: Recipes Inspired by the Novels of Jane Austen by Pen Vogler
A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England by Sue Wilkes

At Home with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
The Hidden Jane Austen by John Wiltshire
Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley
Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe
Jane Austen: The Illustrated Library by Midpoint Press

Read related posts: How Much is a Jane Austen First Edition Worth?
The Books that Influence Us
What to Read Next
Why Read Dickens?
Most Famous Quotations in British Literature
Famous Love Quotes from Movies

For further reading:

2 thoughts on “The Best Books About Jane Austen

    • Hi Laurel Ann: Thank you for visiting Bookshelf and posting a like. Unless you follow publishing closely, you would never realize how many books about Austen are published each year. Your blog, Austenprose is truly exceptional — a testament to Austen’s enduring impact on literature and culture, as well as your passion. Thank you for sharing your labor of love with world. Cheers, Alex.

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