Teaching “Love and Freindship”



Do the juvenilia belong in the classroom at all? is a fair question, given the scarcity of time in most courses for covering great works of literature. If you have a chance to teach Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park, dare you jettison it for a selection of items from Volumes the First, Second, and Third? Put this way, the question possibly requires the answer “No.” I am too confirmed an admirer of the six great novels to miss any opportunity of teaching them when it arises. I have taught Pride and Prejudice at the High School level and to university freshmen, and Emma to freshmen and in survey courses on the English novel. And from time to time — O frabjous day! — I have the chance to teach all six novels in a specialized undergraduate class, or in a graduate course. In these last cases, I make time for some of the juvenilia, and particularly for “Love and Freindship,” as a way into the novels. Graduate students, who have some knowledge of the sentimental tradition that it parodies, are bowled over by it. And even in teaching Jane Austen at the lower and less specialized levels, I usually get in “Love and Freindship,” if only in the form of some selected readings, as a way into the Jane Austen novel at hand.


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  1. 1.
    This paper was first published in Jane Austen’s Beginnings, ed. J. David Grey (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989), 135–51.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: The Tradition in English, New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1985, pp. 209–32. Professors Gilbert and Gubar’s close and revealing study of “Love and Freindship” in The Madwoman in the Attic, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979, pp. 113–19, is an excellent feminist reading.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Marvin Mudrick has plausibly argued that Elizabeth Nugent Bromley’s Laura and Augustus: An Authentic Story: In a Series of Letters, three volumes, London, 1784, is the most likely candidate as the single butt of “Love and Freindship.” Jane Austen: Irony as Defense and Discovery, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1968, pp. 5–12.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. Walton Litz, Jane Austen: A Study of Her Artistic Development, London: Chatto & Windus, 1965, p. 18.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Samuel Richardson, Clarissa (1747–8), ed. Angus Ross, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985, p. 291.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Brian Southam, Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964, p. 3.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    We can infer that “First Impressions” was epistolary from the fact that Jane Austen’s father cited Evelina as the model when he wrote to the publisher Cadell in 1797. See A. Walton Litz, “Chronology of Composition,” in The Jane Austen Companion, ed. J. David Grey, A. Walton Litz and Brian Southam (New York: Macmillan, 1986), p. 47.Google Scholar

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© Juliet McMaster 1996

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