Jane Austen’s Letters Deirdre Le Faye

Jane Austen’s Letters Deirdre Le Faye – Great condition. Collected and edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Printed cream sideboards with a Regency floral design.

£23.00 LETTERS AND PAPERS FROM PRISON Written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Eberhard Bethge & Irina Ratushinskaya. Stock no 1822981. Published by Folio Society. 1st therefore. 2000.

Jane Austen’s Letters Deirdre Le Faye

Jane Austen's Letters Deirdre Le Faye

£10.00 ENGLAND’S CONSTABLE Written by Joseph Darracott & John Constable. Illustrated by John Constable. Stock no 2129376. Published by Folio Society. 1st therefore. 1985.

Lefaye, Deirdre. Fanny Knight’s Diaries: Jane Austen Through Her Niece’s Eyes.

£10.00 YOUR PICTURES Written by Randolph Caldecott & Michael Hutchins. Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. Stock no 1811201. Published by Frederick Warne & Co Ltd.. 1st. 1976.

£12.00 A MEMOIR OF JANE AUSTEN Written by J.E. Austen-Leigh & Fay Weldon. Stock no 2140250. Published by Folio Society. 1st therefore. 1989.

£48.00 ORDNANCE SURVEY LETTERS MEATH Written by Michael Herity & et al. Stock no 2140540. Published by Four Masters Press. 1st IRELAND. 2001.

£16.00 WORD VALUE A LIFE IN LETTERS Written by Juliet Barker. Stock no 1608036. SIGNED – see description for details. Published by Viking. 1st. 2002.

Pride And Prejudice

£38.00 ORDNANCE SURVEY LETTERS DONEGAL Written by Michael Herity & Brian Friel & et al. Stock no 2140539. Published by Four Masters Press. 1st IRELAND. 2000.

£90.00 THE BEING OF THE RHINE Written by Eleanor Sleath. Stock no 1821634. Published by Folio Society. 1st. 1968.

£75.00 CASTLE OF WOLFENBACH Written by Eliza Parsons & Devendra P. Varma. Stock no 1821332. Published by Folio Press. 1st therefore. 1968.

Jane Austen's Letters Deirdre Le Faye

£140.00 CHESTERFIELDS LETTERS Written by Philip Dormer Stanhope. Stock no 656640. Published by J. Dodsley; Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope. 1777.

Amazon.com: The Letters Of Jane Austen: 9781528706193: Austen, Jane: Books

£15.00 THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND Written by Jane Austen. Illustrated by Cassandra Austen. Stock no 2139225. Published by Folio Society. 1st therefore. 1993. The book follows the third edition of Jane Austen’s letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye with an introduction by her. A thick book and an absolute must read for anyone studying or just enjoying reading her novels, not to mention students of Regency period history.

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Jane Austen’s Country Life: Le Faye, Deirdre: 9780711231580: Amazon.com: Books

Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and that are specifically used to collect user personal data via analytics, advertisements, other embedded content are called non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to obtain user consent before using these cookies on your website. Scholar of Jane Austen who has edited the author’s family record, chronology and letters with minimal recourse to interpretation

Deirdre Le Faye’s day job for more than half of her 40 years of Austen research was as an administrator in the British Museum’s Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities. Photo: Jane Austen’s House

No one seriously interested in Jane Austen can learn much about her without turning to the work of Deirdre Le Faye, who has died aged 86. Described by literary biographer Claire Harman as the “acknowledged super-authority” on Austen, Le Faye edited the novelist’s letters (1995), compiled a chronology about her that runs to almost 800 pages (2006), and excellent produced further books and articles about Austen and her family.

Jane Austen's Letters Deirdre Le Faye

All this work was based on painstaking archival research. Her achievement, according to Harman, was to provide an “unparalleled factual basis” for Austen studies, a source of definitive information marred as little as possible by unfounded interpretation. To her fellow Janeites, professional or otherwise, she issued a stern warning: interpretation must be undertaken with caution.

Jane Austen’s Life

The watercolor portrait of Jane Austen by James Andrews which provided her image on the British £10 note issued in 2017. Photo: Laura Lean/PA

At least in print. For Le Faye was also a scholar who could reveal a fantastic piece of Austen family gossip with the remark: “Miaowww!” She was generous in sharing information with fellow enthusiasts – gossip and dubious speculation included. Such things had to be weighed and judged along with everything else; but it was the facts, preferably facts as “crisp as lettuce”, that had to be published.

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This spirit of discernment is embodied in her first book, Jane Austen: A Family Record (1989), which expands greatly on Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters: A Family Record (1913), written by two descendants of Austen’s cousin James Edward Austen – Leigh. That Le Faye was licensed by the family to do so effectively made her the authorized biographer of a long-dead writer.

There was still much to be put on the record, despite Austen’s ever-increasing popularity. For her update of the Family Record, Le Faye drew on all kinds of unpublished (and widely available) material, ranging from letters and diaries to parish records and naval logs. She tracked down family gravestones and followed Austen’s footsteps across the south of England. The card index she made to compile her discoveries amounted to around 10,000 entries.

Jane Austen’s Letters, 1811 1813

Le Faye has mapped Austen’s world down to its infancy, as shown in her Chronology. This is the place to learn that Austen had a cold on Wednesday 9 March 1814, or that, two days later, at Godmersham, Kent, where her brother Edward lived, the snow was “deep”. It is also the place to discover that in July 1813, as Austen was probably finishing Mansfield Park (Le Faye’s favorite of the novels), her authorship was still a relatively well-kept secret even within the family; and that in September 1817, a few weeks after Austen’s death, her publisher John Murray saw fit to inform Lord Byron that he was going to publish two new novels by “the ingenious Author of Pride & Prejudice”. What readers may be able to separate into trivialities and events of greater significance emerge here side by side.

Jane Austen’s Letters, Collected and Edited by Deirdre Le Faye. She was working on a fifth edition at the time of her death

Such things mattered to Austen lovers. As Le Faye noted at the time of her Family Record, there had been little original research in this direction since RW Chapman produced his edition of Austen’s Letters in 1932. She was well aware that the novelist was still somewhat of an enigma. Of an estimated 3,000 letters written by Austen, for example, only 161 survive. The little ones were therefore probably worth preserving, at the same time as they had to be guarded against wilder claims.

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Jane Austen's Letters Deirdre Le Faye

This attitude led Le Faye to resist the identification of a young Austen as the sitter in the so-called Rice Portrait, the subject of a complicated argument in which she fiercely participated. (She sent a cartoon postcard of Wind in the Willows to a contact at the National Portrait Gallery, writing: “I find the Toad family portraits more convincing!”) Nevertheless, in 2010, after 40 years of Austen research and several revisions of her work, Le Faye can still argue that more research needs to be done and perhaps further discoveries need to be made. For 23 of those years, Le Faye had a day job, as an administrator in the British Museum’s department of medieval and later antiquities.

Deirdre Le Faye

She was born in Bournemouth to Leslie Smith, a retired army officer, and his wife, Anne Marie (née Lucovich). The family moved to Farnborough and then Reading, where Deirdre attended the Abbey School after winning a scholarship. (The school was renamed in honor of the forerunner that Austen herself briefly attended in the 1780s, and used as a model for Mrs. Goddard’s “real, honest, old-fashioned boarding school” in Emma.) .

Deirdre left school after her father died not long before she turned 16, and her mother got her a scholarship intended to “train virtuous girls in a virtuous trade”, enabling her set to train as a secretary. In 1952, Anne-Marie changed her name by deed poll to Le Faye, adopting a version of her mother’s maiden name (thinking it might help the legal career of Deirdre’s older brother Kenneth), and her daughter followed.

Le Faye took various administrative posts in London before joining the British Museum in 1975. At the time, Austen was of less interest to her than local history, and joining archaeological digs, she discovered, meant cheap holidays in the countryside. (Equally, she later wrote, Austen research meant “neatly combining literary tracking with cheerful holidays” in “very attractive places in the south of England”.) Her interests were wide. She studied palaeography and the history of child rearing, basket weaving and clay pipes unearthed during roadworks outside her office.

In the 1970s, as a member of

Letter: Deirdre Le Faye Obituary

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