Jane Austen’s Summer Reading List

Summertime and we’re ready to lounge around like any good bookworm, but what, oh what shall we read? I’m whipping up a list of books (with links to the free text!) Jane herself would have read, which could give you a new perspective on your favorite books.

  1. Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe – This will be a trial in patience, but it honestly gave me more insight into Northanger Abbey.
  2. Belinda by Maria Edgeworth – Another Northanger Abbey predecessor, sure to make you smile at Jane’s wit.
  3. Evelina by Frances Burney – I have been meaning to read this one myself, so I assume a copy of it will be in my beach bag soon.
  4. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott – Sir Walter was popular during Jane’s time and would probably have been on her summer reading list too.
  5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding – Scandalous for a woman to be reading, but Jane did what she wanted.
  6. The Monk by M.G. Lewis – I hope this one leaves us all gasping and reaching for our smelling salts.
  7. Shakespeare – Jane would have read his work and probably been a bit inspired by his more vivacious heroines,
  8. Lover’s Vows by Elizabeth Inchbald – Because we have to know the juicy ending to that play.
  9. Works of Lord Byron – The Bridge of Abydos and The Giaour are mentioned in Persuasion, but any of his works should leave you swooning with feels.
  10. Sermons to Young Women by James Fordyce – Lolllll I’m so kidding.

Let us know what works you’ve read on this list! We’d love to hear if reading any of the works she would have changed your perspective on the books themselves.

– Admin B

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4 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s Summer Reading List

  1. I’ve read The Monk and it was really entertaining (and very scandalous)! I read it in a gothic fiction class back to back with Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian, which Lewis was responding to with his novel. Radcliffe’s work was subtle with its creepiness and the plot slowly unfolded, whereas Lewis’s novel is straight up guilty pleasure sensationalism. Both were great novels, but I have to admit that The Monk kept me hooked and constantly surprised by what came next.

  2. There’s also “The Female Quixote.” I was quite surprised by the comedy in that one, although it is one sustained joke premise. I’ve read “The Monk” and some of those novels with a girls name ending in “a” and hardly remember a thing about them. I’ve read “Lover’s Vows” and also “The Heir at Law,” which is the play Tom Bertram wanted to do. “Lover’s Vows” has two story lines; one is melodrama and the other is light romantic comedy.

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