CONTACT: LINZEE MCCRAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2008; fax (319) 335-2055
New UI Press book collects poetry of Jane Austen and family
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jane Austen, well-known for her skillful depiction
of family affairs, was also a witty poet who often wrote light verse in
a literary game she played with her family, according to a new book from
the University of Iowa Press.
"The Poetry of Jane Austen and the Austen Family," edited
by David Selwyn, contains all the known poems by Jane herself as well as
a selection of work by her mother, her sister Cassandra, four of her brothers,
her uncle James, her nieces Anna and Fanny, her nephew James Edward, and
The family poems were considered a lively entertainment in late 18th-century
Great Britain, and the Austen family were accomplished players, writing
poems for nearly every occasion and composing ingenious riddles and charades.
Well-known for her novels, such as "Emma," "Sense and Sensibility"
or "Persuasion," Austen's lesser known literary life comes alive
in this new collection.
The book includes poems written as a group activity, such as "Verses
to rhyme with 'Rose,' which begins, "This morning I woke up from a
quiet repose/ I first rubb'd my eyes and I next blew my nose..." Other
works include a recipe for pudding in verse and a promise to a dog.
On a more serious note, there are also verses penned to loved ones upon
their marriage, the death of a beloved pony, or a serious illness.
Skilled and witty, these poems will give pleasure to general readers
familiar with Austen's novels and provide scholars with insight into a
largely neglected, essentially private aspect of Austen's writing. Published
in association with the Jane Austen Society, the volume of verses enhances
understanding of Jane Austen and her world.
Editor David Selwyn has written numerous reviews, articles, and libretti;
he has composed music of all kinds, including six operas. A regular lecturer
on both music and literature, he lives and teaches in Bristol.
He provides an introduction and full explanatory notes.
"The Poetry of Jane Austen and the Austen Family" is available
at bookstores nationwide for $12.95 as trade paperback original. The book
can also be ordered from UI Press by calling (319) 384-3807 (for calls
within Johnson County) or 1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).
Information is also available at the UI Press website: http://www.uiowa.edu/~uipress/