For today, we have two entries: a short conclusion to a letter begun the day before in 1816, and a lengthier one from 1814 to niece Anna.
This 1814 one is a gem, for the whole of it is a critique of a novel that Anna has been writing and of which she has shared several completed ‘books’ with her Aunts Jane and Cassandra and her grandmother (G.M.) — Despite the post-quote used today which opens the letter, Jane Austen goes on to give a very balanced critique overall, both critical where she sees need and encouraging where she sees merit. I can only imagine Anna’s grateful reception of it, but more than that, this must be a letter of great interest to any of us who write for public readership – and, even though a part of me quakes at the thought, especially reading a few of her targeted criticisms [“The scene with Mrs Mellish, I should condemn; it is prosy & nothing to the purpose”], it leaves me wishing I had this “beta reader” at my disposal for my own writing! It also leaves me wishing we had Anna’s narrative books to peruse!
Enjoy today’s letter from
9th September 1816 (conclusion of previous day’s)