Who did Jane Austen read?

I am going to start posting about authors Jane Austen read, liked and by whom she was inspired. Please leave comments if you know more authors. This is a work in progress.

Books were an expensive luxury two hundred years ago. In 1810 a new novel would have cost around £100 at today’s prices, or around half a week’s wages for a skilled worker at that time.Purchasing new works of fiction would have been beyond the likes of the modest Austen family. Jane, who read extensively from a young age, relied on her family’s libraries, borrowing from friends and Circulating Libraries.

(via http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/0/21122727)

Here is a list of some of books the experts say were her favorites:

The first one is was an Irish novelist who’s early “Gothic” works had untold influence on Jane Austen’s life and writing. Austen admired her so much, that she sent her a complimentary copy of Emma when it was published in 1815.


Read complete article here: http://www.janeausten.co.uk/maria-edgeworth-jane-austen



Another author that influenced Jane Austen was Fanny Burney, byname of Frances d’Arblay, née Burney.

(Born June 13, 1752, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK—died January 6, 1840, London). English novelist and letter writer, daughter of the musician Charles Burney, and author of Evelina, a landmark in the development of the novel of manners.

Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/85638/Fanny-Burney




The History of Sir Charles Grandison, epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson, published in seven volumes in 1754. The work was his last completed novel, and it anticipated the novel of manners of such authors as Jane Austen.

Source: www.global.britannica.com

This is said to be one of Jane Austen’s favorite books.


Another favorite of our dear Jane by Samuel Richardson.


Read more here: http://austenprose.com/2010/08/10/jane-austen-and-the-father-of-the-novel-samuel-richardson/


George Noel Gordon – Lord Byron at age 25
Portrait by Richard Westall -1813


Ann Radcliffe

(née, Ward 9 July 1764 – 7 February 1823) was an English author and a pioneer of the Gothic novel. Her style is romantic in its vivid descriptions of landscapes and long travel scenes, yet the Gothic element is obvious through her use of the supernatural. It was her technique of explained Gothicism, the final revelation of inexplicable phenomena, that helped the Gothic novel achieve respectability in the 1790’s. It also gave Austen the material for Northanger Abbey, in which 17-year-old Catherine Morland is obsessed with Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho.

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Mentoring Jane Austen: Reflections on “My Dear Dr. Johnson”

Read more about his influence here: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number11/gross.htm




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3 thoughts on “Who did Jane Austen read?

Add yours

  1. She read the work of Sarah Burney (half sister of Frances Burney)
    “Clarentine”. She didn’t like it though but read it a few times. It was referenced in one of Austen’s letters to Cassandra Austen.

    Liked by 1 person

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