Friday 15 October 2010


Spent an enjoyable afternoon in a coffee shop finalising the list of novelists and poets for my What Jane Read reading project. It may change because I don't know who is still in print but it's good to have a plan!

Maria Edgeworth
Elizabeth Inchbald
Charlotte Smith
William Cowper
Fanny Burney

Further recommendations, thoughts or advice are always welcome. The best thing about blogging (for me) is the communication with other readers.


Buried In Print said...

Are you already using Dale Spender's Mothers of the Novel as a resource? It seems exactly what you're looking for!

Audrey said...

Can't offer any suggestions, but I think your project is fascinating! Looking forward to hearing more about these writers. And I agree with your last point...I learn so much this way.

Rebecca H. said...

Ann Radcliffe? Or perhaps you're already familiar with her? My guess is that you can find all those writers in print -- not certain about Cowper, actually, but the novelists should be available. I'm not sure if Austen read Mary Wollstonecraft, but she's another possibility. Oh, and Samuel Richardson! Henry Fielding! So many possibilities :)

Anonymous said...

I can't help you, but just wanted to say that your project is fascinating. I'll be looking on from the sidelines to see which books I should read as well.

Anonymous said...

While somewhat different in her treatment of women, you might want to take a peak at Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. Loved it on PBS and just found a copy of the book in a secondhand bookstore. It sits, patiently, waiting for me.
I look forward to posts on your project.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ann Radcliffe would be my suggestion as well.

My tutor at university was an expert in Charlotte Smith and was always talking about her and how good she was so I presume there are copies of her work in print somewhere.

I'm sure that she would have read Richardson and Fielding as well - I think in Carol Shields' biography of Jane Austen, which is excellent by the way, if you haven't read it, she talks a lot about the books Jane read as a child. I wish I was at home and had my copy to hand but alas I am several thousand miles away, sorry!

lyn said...

How about Mary Wollstonecraft? She was a prominent feminist & wrote some fiction, Mary & The Wrongs of Women (in print OUP). She also famously wrote a feminist tract, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Penguin). Last year I read her Collected Letters (OP) & A Short Residence in Sweden (Penguin). Her personal life was fascinating too. She died in childbirth, her daughter was Mary Shelley. There's an excellent biography by Claire Tomalin.

Anonymous said...

Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield perhaps? I know Austen referred to the book in one of her novels (Emma?) This looks like such a wonderful reading project...looking forward to following your progress!

potterjotter said...

Look forward to hearing how this all develops ... if we like what Jane WROTE, am sure we will love what she read.

LizF said...

Gosh you are improving my education Nicola!
While I had heard of a lot of the writers you mention, it hadn't occurred to me to seek them out as I think I felt they would be too 'difficult' but your enthusiasm and that of your commenters makes me feel that I should stretch my reading muscle!

Shelley said...

Okay, that does it. All writers love coffee, and I've been craving a white mocha latte, and your photograph has just pushed me over the edge!

Although I'm not sure I'm up for reading those books, I think your project is absolutely worthy. Austen was a writer, and what she read was more important than dresses, food, fashions, or

debbie bailey said...

What about Elizabeth Gaskell? They may have been contemporaries, though. William Makepeace Thackaray, too.

I can't wait to see your finished project. I bet you've had fun doing it.

Hannah said...

I am so excited to see what all you read! I was astonished to find so much "18th century chick lit"--including some great selections by early women writers in that huge "1001 Books You Must Read" collection.

Desperate Reader said...

I know the Vicar of Wakefield was very influential generaly so it probably deserves a place on the list, Anne Radcliffe and Hugh Walpole? Looking forward to following this project.

Vintage Reading said...

Buried in Print - no I'm not but thank you, I'm going to check it out.


Dorothy, yes, I was thinking about Radcliffe, but I've not read her. I've kind of excluded the male novelists of Austen's day simply because I tend to mostly read women but Henry Fielding interests me.

iris, hi, I'm not a very fast reader so posts may be sporadic but I'll get there!

lifeonthecuff, I've read Cranford and I enjoyed it very much. I believe Gaskell was inspired by Edgeworth to write Wives and Daughters so I need to read that, too.

booksnob, ooh I've got Carol Shield's biog of Jane - I'll look up her childhood reading. How fabulous to have a tutor who was an expert in Charlotte Smith!

lyn, thanks, I've always been aware of Wollstonecraft and her work but never actually read her. Yes I'll add her to my 'reserve list!'

makedoandread, oh yes, The Vicar of Wakefield. Doesn't Jo read that up in the attic in Little Women? I must have missed the reference in Emma - now I really want to read it!

potterjotter, it's fascinating reading Edgeworth back to back with Austen, you really see how the novel must have fired her imagination.

Lizf, the novels I've picked are quite light - I don't do 'heavy reading' had enough of that at uni!! I'm always in awe of some of the reading lists book bloggers tackle.

Shelley, I do like a latte but I mostly drink tea - maybe writers like coffee and readers like tea!

Debbie, hi, I want to read Gaskell's Wives and Daughters so I'm going to add it to my 'reserve list.'

Lifetime Reader - oh 18thC chicklit - great title - I must use that in a blog post!

Desperate Reader - I'm intrigued by the Goldmsith now - it's had quite a few recommendations - I want to read it!

Desperate Reader said...

I've meant to read the Goldsmith for years (think I have a copy) if it comes up on your list I'll try and do it at the same time.


I agree with Audrey. This is a brilliant idea and I will be watching to see what you think of Jane's compatiots.

Anna said...

What a lovely reading plan! I read Evelina (that very edition, in fact) because Jane Austen read her, and it worked out wonderfully. It was a great book--trust Jane Austen to choose well.


I love the idea of reading plans but as you've noticed they seem to go awry as soon as we make them. I think this one in particular is a great idea and a way to make reading Austen even better — if such a think is possible. And I agree that Persuasion is the best.

*ೃ༄ Jillian said...

This looks like an awesome project. At some point, I want to do this, too.