Jane Austen(1775-1841) was the seventh of eight children
born to George Austen, an Anglican rector, and Cassandra Austen in
Steventon, Hampshire, England. During her adolescence, she penned
humorous pieces that greatly entertained her close-knit family. At
19, she wrote a novella, Lady Susan, and soon after began
drafts of what would become Sense and Sensibility and
Pride and Prejudice. After her father died in 1801, Austen,
her mother, and beloved older sister Cassandra, moved frequently
due to financial difficulties. In 1809, they settled in Chawton in
a cottage owned by her brother, Edward. While residing there, she
revised Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
and wrote Emma and Mansfield Park - all published
anonymously. Though popular at the time, the novels did not achieve
the success or acclaim they enjoy today. In 1816, Austen fell ill
with a malady that remains undiagnosed. She died at age 41.
Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published
posthumously and Austen's authorial identity was at last revealed.
It is estimated that Jane Austen wrote as many as three thousand
letters during her lifetime. One hundred and sixty-one of her
letters are known to have survived.
Barbara Heller's career in film and television encompasses finding furnishings and props for many shows including The Americans and When They See Us; location managing films for Francis Coppola, Nancy Meyers, and Barbet Schroeder; making award-winning short films that have played at festivals around the world (Cannes, Berlin, Sundance); and reporting on why hotels fold the end of the toilet paper into a point for NPR. She lives with her son in New York City.
"The letters in Heller's edition of Pride and Prejudice
are painstakingly detailed, from the style of folding (letters
didn't have envelopes, so they served as their own containers) to
the postal markings and wax imprints indicating price, mileage,
date, etc.... These letters, with the various character traits that
their appearances indicate, can bring 21st-century readers closer
to Austen's world." --Ted Scheinman,
"This exquisite book presents the novel's full text along with 19 letters 'handwritten' by Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Caroline Bingley and others. Their notes, complete with appropriate postmarks, are dropped into pouches placed at just the right moments in the story. More than a gimmick, it's a dramatic way to experience the central role that correspondence plays in the novel." --The Washington Post Book Club