Skip to main content
The University of Iowa Libraries


Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott Library Resource Guide: Jane Austen resources

This is a resource guide for Professor Anne Stapleton's course Selected British Authors Before 1900: Jane Austen and Walter Scott; 008:078:001 (ENGL:2309:0001) created by


Oxford's Dictionary of National Biography provides a detailed account of Austen's life and work, including information on her family, the contemporary reception of her writing, her legacy, and a list of standard sources to consult for further reading.

The University of Iowa's Main Library holds these works of biography of Jane Austen:

A Memoir of Jane Austen is an important early biography of Austen, written by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, based on accounts of her life from those who knew her. (PR4036 .A8 2002)

My Aunt Jane Austen: a Memoir is another important early biography of Jane Austen, written by her niece Caroline Mary Craven Austen. (PR4036 .A76 1952)

Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters: a Family Record is an early twentieth-century account of Austen's life and work written by her descendants. (PR4036 .A86 1913)

A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family, published by Cambridge University Press, is a 'unique chronology', according to its publisher, contains 'some ten thousand entries', allows the reader to 'discover where she was and what she was doing at many precise moments of her life', and 'includes family trees for the extended Austen and Knight families from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.' (PR4036 .L42 2006)

There are also a number of more recent biographies in the library's collections. Four to start:

Jane Austen: Her Life, by Park Honan (1987) (PR4036 .H66 1987)

Jane Austen: a Life, by David Nokes (1997) (PR4036 .N65 1997)

Jane Austen: a Life, by Claire Tomalin (1997) (PR4036 .T66 1997)

Jane Austen: a Literary Life, by Jan S. Fergus (1991) (PR4036 .F47 1991)

Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen

Cambridge University Press is the publisher of the definitive, scholarly, and critial edition of Jane Austen's novels. Each volume contains, according to the publisher, 'the text itself, with an introduction giving a full publishing history of the work, together with explanatory notes and textual apparatus, and relevant appendices.' The Main Libray holds the following volumes in this edition:

Sense and Sensibility (PR4034 .S4 2006) (electronic text)

Persuasion (PR4034 .P4 2006)

Pride and Prejudice (PR4034 .P7 2006) (electronic text)

Emma (PR4034 .E5 2005) (electronic text)

Mansfield Park (PR4034 .M3 2005) (electronic text)

Jane Austen: the Critical Heritage

Find contemporary reviews of Austen's writing in the 'Jane Austen' Critical Heritage volumes, available as e-books:

Volume 1 (1811-70)

Volume 2 (1870-1940)

Also availbe in print, in the Main Library's stacks. (PR4037 .S59 1968)

Wiley-Blackwell's A Companion to Jane Austen

This reference work may be particularly helpful in understanding the contexts and traditions Austen's writing was formed by and helped form. According to its publisher, 'Reflecting the dynamic and expansive nature of Austen studies, A Companion to Jane Austen provides 42 essays from a distinguished team of literary scholars that examine the full breadth of the English novelist's works and career.'

Letters of Jane Austen

Jane Austen's Letters, ed. Deirdre Le Faye. The most recent edition of Austen's letters, published by Oxford University Press in 2011, 'this new fourth edition incorporates the findings of recent scholarship to further enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealing view yet of her life and family. In addition, Le Faye has written a new preface, has amended and updated the biographical and topographical indexes, has introduced a new subject index, and had added the contents of the notes to the general index.' (PR4036 .A4 2011)

Additionally, the Brabourne Edition of Austen's letters is available on the web. Published in 1884, its text is now in the public domain. Although the edition is outdated (it is not complete, and the text can be in unreliable in places), its easy accessibility here makes it a convenient resource for newcomers to Austen's letters and for anyone without immediate access to an academic library.

Scholarship and Criticism on Jane Austen and Her World


MLA International Bibliography (MLAB) is a subject index for books, chapters in books, and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics. It is produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), an organization dedicated to the study and teaching of language and literature. The electronic version of the Bibliography dates back to 1925 and contains over 2 million citations from more than 4,400 periodicals (including peer-reviewed e-journals) and 1,000 book publishers.

Annual Bibliography of English language and Literature (ABELL) contains 880,000 records, covering monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews and collections of essays published anywhere in the world from 1920 onwards.


Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line is a peer-reviewed, open access journal devoted to the study of Jane Austen. Search here to find recent, high-quality scholarship in the field of Austen studies.


Jane Austen, a Study of Her Artistic Development, by A. Walton Litz (1965) (PR4037 .L57)

Jane Austen: a Study of Her Novels, by P. C. Chakrabarti (1992) (PR4037 .C48 1992)

A companion to Jane Austen, edited by Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite (PR4037 .C65 2009)

Jane Austen, or, The secret of style, by D.A. Miller (PR4037 .M535 2003)

Women and literature in Britain, 1800-1900, edited by Joanne Shattock (PR115 .W58 2001)

Britons : forging the nation, 1707-1837, by Linda Colley (DA485 .C65 2009)

The Cambridge companion to Jane Austen, edited by Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster (PR4036 .C3 1997)

LinkDear reader : the conscripted audience in nineteenth-century British fiction, by Garrett Stewart (PR878.A79 S74 1996)

The Reception of Jane Austen and Walter Scott: a Comparative Longitudinal Study, by Annika Bautz (2007) (PR4037 .B38 2007)

Her One Portrait Done from Life

courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, UK