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Jane Austen and the Regency:
A Selected Bibliography

Want to read more about Jane Austen, the culture of England's Regency period, or the Napoleonic wars? Stephanie does. Always. There's a large universe of possibilities out there, and she's sure she's ignored several books worthy of inclusion. But here are some she's liked and used as background sources to her detective novels.

Many of these books are out of print, but can be borrowed from libraries, purchased used online at, or ordered from the remarkable Pat Latkin, who runs Jane Austen Books. Her monthly sale catalogue is available at (312) 266-0080.

On Jane:

1. Jane Austen's Letters. Third Edition. Deirdre Le Faye, editor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Essential Jane.

2. Jane Austen: A Family Record, by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh. Revised and Enlarged by Deirdre LeFaye. London: The British Library, 1989. Occasionally annoying in its cloying Victorian overlay, but useful for illuminating periods when the letters fail.

3. Jane Austen, by Carol Shields. New York: Viking Penguin, 2001. This is less a biography than a summary in a slim little volume, that tells us more about what Austen meant to the late writer Carol Shields than it does about anything else. Worth reading for that reason alone.

4. Jane Austen, by Claire Tomalin. New York, Knopf, 1997. The best of the Austen biographies, well-researched, well-written, and dead-on regarding Jane's personality, character, soul.

5. Jane Austen: Her Life, by Park Honan. New York: Ballantine, 1987.

6. Jane Austen the Woman, by George Holbert Tucker. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. A delightful series of sketches of Jane through the things she loved most--good reading, good conversation, good music, good gossip.

7. The Life of Jane Austen, by John Halperin. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Dense.

8. Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, by Claudia L. Johnson. University of Chicago Press, 1988. A feminist approach--enlightening, provocative, valuable.

Jane's World: Interpretations

1. Jane Austen and the Clergy, by Irene Collins. London: The Hambledon Press, 1993. Where did that Mr. Collins come from?

2. Jane Austen and the French Revolution, by Warren Roberts. London: The Athlone Press, 1979. Loved this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

3. Jane Austen: Real and Imagined Worlds, by Oliver MacDonagh. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. How Jane's experiences contributed to her characters' imagined lives.

4. Jane Austen and Representations of Regency England, by Roger Sales. London: Routledge Press, 1994. Some people call this book difficult, obscure, and meaningless. It's all of those things on certain days, but on others it's bloody brilliant.

5. The Language of Jane Austen, by Myra Stokes. London: The MacMillan Press, 1991. Words she used, words she didn't, and what that tells us.

Domestic Life: Houses, Furniture, Gardens

1. The Country House Kitchen Garden, 1600-1950. C. Anne Wilson, Ed. London: Sutton Publishing, 1998. How produce was grown and used.

2. The Georgian Country House: Architecture, Landscape and Society. Dana Arnold, Editor. London: Sutton Publishing, 1998.

3. Georgian Gardens: The Reign of Nature, by David Jacques. Great Britain: Bt Batsford Ltd., 1983. Capability Brown, Humphrey Repton.

4. The Improvement of the Estate: A Study of Jane Austen's Novels, by Alistair M. Duckworth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971.

5. The Jane Austen Cookbook, by Maggie Black and Deirdre LeFaye. London: British Museum Press, 1995.

6. Jane Austen's Town and Country Style, by Susan Watkins. New York: Rizzoli, 1990. For all of us who wish we'd lived then. And had those houses.

7. The Making of the English Landscape, by W.G. Hoskins. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955.

8. Regency Furniture, by Clifford Musgrave. Glasgow: Robert MacLehose & Co., Ltd., 1961.

9. The Servants' Hall: A Domestic History of Erddig, by Merlin Waterson. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 1980. A study of the serving class, from spider-brushes to stillroom maids.

10. A Treatise on Carriages: Comprehending Coaches, Chariots, Phaetons, Curricles, Whiskies, Etc., Together with their Proper Harness, by William Felton, Coachmaker. New Jersey: Astragal Press, no date. Facsimile edition of original publication by J. Debrett, Piccadilly, London, 1794-1796. Volume I.

11. The World of Jane Austen, by Nigel Nicolson. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991. Kent. Bath. And everywhere in between. More on the houses--those Jane visited, lived in, and might have given to her characters.


1. Ackermann's Costume Plates: Women's Fashions in England, 1818-1828. Stella Blum, Ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1978. By a curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume collection.

2. Federalist and Regency Costume: 1790-1819, by R.L. Shep. Distributed by the Author, copyright 1998.

3. A Frivolous Distinction: Fashion and Needlework in the Works of Jane Austen, by Penelope Byrd. Bath: Bath City Council, 1979.

4. An Illustrated Dictionary of Hairdressing and Wigmaking, by James Stevens Cox. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1966. Astounding powder-room reading.

5. Late Georgian Costume: The Tailor's Friendly Instructor (1822), by J. Wyatt, and The Art of Tying the Cravat (1828), by H. LeBlanc. R.L. Shep, Ed. Distributed by the Editor, copyright 1991.

The Napoleonic Wars:

1. Band of Brothers: Boy Seamen in the Royal Navy, 1800-1956, by David Phillipson. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996. A terrific study of the children sent to war in the kinds of ships captained by Jane's brothers.

2. The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Female Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars, by Nadezhda Durova. Mary Fleming Zirin, translator. London, Angel Books, 1988. A woman cornet of hussars, 1807.

3. The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company, by John Keay. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1991. Fascinating, exhaustive. Discusses Austen family friend Warren Hastings, his legacy, and lengthy parliamentary trial.

4. Jane Austen's Sailor Brothers, by J.H. and E.C. Hubback. Westport, CT: Meckler Publishing, 1986. Reprint of original published London, 1907. A thorough account of the careers, commands, and engagements of Jane's brothers Francis and Charles, written by Francis's American descendants.

5. Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy, by Patrick O'Brian. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1974. A handy little picture guide to fast frigates and other ships of the line.

6. Naval Surgeon: The Voyages of Dr. Edward H. Cree, Royal Navy, as Related in His Private Journals, 1837-1856. Michael Levien, Ed. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1981.

7. Horatio Nelson, by Tom Pocock. London: Random House, 1987.

8. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Royal Navy. J.R. Hill, Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

9. The Peninsular War, 1807-1814: A Concise Military History, by Michael Glover. London: David and Charles, 1974.

10. Trafalgar: Countdown to Battle, 1803-1805, by Alan Schom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

11. The Wheatley Diary: A Journal and Sketchbook Kept During The Peninsular War and the Waterloo Campaign. Introduced and Edited by Christopher Hibbert. London: Longmans, Green and Company Ltd., 1964. One of my favorite books of all time: front-line reporting with watercolor impressions from a young English officer in the King's German Legion.

People and Places:

1. Beau Brummell, by Hubert Cole. London: Granada Publishing Ltd., 1977.

2. Castlereagh, by Wendy Hinde. London: Collins, 1981

3. A Charming Place: Bath in the Life and Novels of Jane Austen, by Maggie Lane. Bath: Millstream Books, 1988.

4. The Diary Of Frances, Lady Shelley: 1787-1817. Richard Edgcumbe, Ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912. The adoring fan/sometime mistress of the Duke of Wellington.

5. The Diary of Princess Lieven. Harold Temperley, Ed. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1925. The Princess was the cleverest woman in London, a formidable social arbiter, the wife of the Russian Ambassador to London, and Metternich's mistress.

6. The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal, by Philip Mason. London: Pimlico, 1982.

7. The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800, by Lawrence Stone. Abridged Edition. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1979.

8. Fashionable Brighton, 1820-1860, by Antony Dale. London: Oriel Press, reprint 1987. "If one could but go to Brighton!"

9. Further Memoirs of the Whig Party, 1807-1821, by Lord Holland. Henry Richard Vassal's memoirs of Lord Harold Trowbridge's heyday. London: John Murray, 1905.

10. Georgian London, by John Summerson. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1978. The Metropolis as it was in Jane's day.

11. Georgiana, by Brian Masters. Foreword by the Duchess of Devonshire. London: Allison & Busby Ltd., 1987.

12. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman. New York: Random House, 1998. Fabulous look at the most fascinating woman of Jane's day.

13. The Gentleman's Daughter: Women's Lives in Georgian England, by Amanda Vickery. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

14. A Governess in the Age of Jane Austen: The Journals and Letters of Agnes Porter. Edited by Joanna Martin. London: The Hambledon Press, 1998.

15. Harriette Wilson's Memoirs. London: The Folio Press, 1979. The essential volume of kiss-and-tell by the most celebrated courtesan of the Regency.

16. King Mob: The London Riots of 1780, by Christopher Hibbert. New York: Dorset Press, 1958. A neat little study of the Gordon riots and political campaigning when Jane was a child.

17. A Lasting Relationship: Parents and Children over Three Centuries, by Linda Pollack. University Press of New England: 1987.

18. London: A Social History, by Roy Porter. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994. An absorbing look at the life and evolution of a city.

19. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979. Groundbreaking feminist lit crit.

20. Married Women's Separate Property in England, 1660-1833, by Susan Staves. London: Harvard University Press, 1990. If you owned it, he got it as soon as you said "I do." And you never got it back as long as Jane was alive.

21. Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency, by Saul David. Great Britain: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.

22. The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline, by Flora Fraser. New York: Alfred I. Knopf, 1996. The wife the Prince of Wales loved to hate.

23. A Vindication of the Rights of Women, by Mary Wollstonecraft. London: J.M. Dent, 1995. It has been suggested that as Jane's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Austen, possessed a copy of the work, that this early feminist tract was not unknown in the Austen family.

24. Voices of Eighteenth-Century Bath: An Anthology, compiled by Trevor Fawcett. Bath: Ruton Press, 1995.

25. Wives and Property: Reform of the Married Women's Property Law in Nineteenth-Century England, by Lee Holcombe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983. How that property you lost in marriage could eventually be yours again--including the kids.

Social Mores, Social Problems:

1. Astor's Country Dances for the Year 1803 with proper Tunes and Directions to each dance as they are performed at COURT, BATH, and all PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES. California: Marchioness Publications, 1997. Facsimile edition of a work originally published in London by G. Astor, 1803.

2. The Compleat Angler: Or, the Contemplative Man's Recreation, by Izaak Walton New York: Modern Library, 1998. Why Darcy loved coarse-fishing at Pemberley.

3. The Dictionary of Cricket, by Michael Rundell. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Jane refers to gentlemen of her acquaintance playing the game.

4. An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England, by Venetia Murray. New York: Penguin, 1998. May possibly err on the side of the scatological, but it makes engrossing reading.

5. From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance, by Elizabeth Aldrich. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1991. "If a Gentleman presumes to ask you to dance without an introduction, you will of course refuse. It is hardly necessary to supply the fair reader with words to repel such a rudeness..."

6. Jane Austen's Christmas: The Festive Season In Georgian England, by Maria Hubert. London: Sutton Publishing, 1996.

7. Jane Austen's Music. Compiled by Ian Gammie and Derek McCulloch. Hertfordshire, UK: Corda Music Publications, 1996. Notes and catalogue to three hundred works held by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust at Chawton.

8. The Penguin Social History of Britain: English Society in the Eighteenth Century, by Roy Porter. Revised Edition. London: Penguin Books, 1990.

9. Pleasures and Pains: Opium and the Orient in 19th-Century British Culture, by Barry Milligan. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1995.

10. The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century, by John Brewer. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1997. An exhaustive and exhausting compendium of the Georgian arts.

11. The Regency Companion, by Sharon Laudermilk and Teresa L. Hamlin. New York: Garland Press, 1989. A lighthearted look at the Regency period's main social themes, movers and shakers, hobbies.

12. Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces (1811), by a Lady of Distinction. R.L. Shep, Ed. Distributed by the Editor, 1997. A facsimile edition of an original book of social hints.

13. Shattered Nerves: Doctors, Patients, and Depression in Victorian England, by Janet Oppenheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. A bit after Jane's time, but valuable as a reference to the sort of women she termed "poor honeys."

14. The Smugglers: Picturesque Chapters in the History of Contraband, by Lord Teignmouth, Commander R.N., and Charles G. Harper. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1923. The definitive word on the Gentlemen of the Night.

15. Smuggling in Hampshire and Dorset, 1700-1850, by Geoffrey Morley. Berkshire: Countryside Books, 1983. Part of a series on the issue broken down by county.

16. Thieves' Kitchen: The Regency Underworld, by Donald A. Low. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1982. Of clubmen and prostitutes, gamblers and highwaymen.

17. The Thieves' Opera: The Mesmerizing Story of Two Notorious Criminals in Eighteenth-Century London, by Lucy Moore. Pre-dates Jane's dabbling in crime, but no less useful for the period.

18. The Thurtell-Hunt Murder Case: Dark Mirror to Regency England, by Albert Borowitz. Louisiana State University Press, 1987. A compelling story of willful murder among the sporting set.
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