Virginia Woolf was obsessed with Jane Austen. She reviewed works by and about Austen and wrote essays called “Jane Austen,” “Jane Austen Practising,” “Jane Austen at Sixty,” and “Jane Austen and the Geese.” Even when reviewing the compositions of other authors, Woolf often dropped in references to Austen as a standard of comparison. Woolf made Jane Austen the ironic star of A Room of One’s Own and gave her cameo appearances in other essays, novels, and stories as well.
Edward Albee entitled his famous play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I would ask instead, “Who’s Afraid of, Annoyed with, Intimidated by, in Awe of, and in Dialogue with Jane Austen?” and answer, “Virginia Woolf.”1 I insist that without Jane Austen there would be no Virginia Woolf. Perhaps more of interest to Austen aficionados, I also argue that because Woolf knew firsthand the difficulty and exhilaration of perfecting one’s craft as a revolutionary woman writer, she produced some of the most perceptive and illuminating critical comments about Jane Austen ever made. Tracking down Virginia Woolf’s wide-ranging and evolving comments, allusions, and references to Austen proves an essential step in searching for Jane Austen and her legacy.
Woolf’s biographers tell us that her father, Leslie Stephen, read Austen aloud to the family, and that by age twenty Virginia Woolf had read all of Austen’s novels herself several times (Gordon 72, 77). References to Austen dot Woolf’s letters and diaries from the first to last volumes. Although she wrote huffily at one point that Jane Austen was not, as everyone assumed, one of her favorites, Woolf visited Austen’s tomb at Winchester, purchased from a bookseller some volumes of poetry that had belonged to Jane Austen, and spent an inordinate amount of time probing Austen’s prose style, life, and legacy.2 In a diary entry, Woolf announced her intention to “gorge on Jane Austen tonight and dish up something tomorrow” (12 August 1928). She confessed a wish to speak to her, noting, “Who would not spout the family teapot in order to talk . . . with Jane Austen about the art of fiction?” (qtd. in Todd 114). In a sense, Woolf did just that—spent much of her life talking to Jane Austen about fiction—, and the process helped her find her own voice and vision.
Although Woolf praised Austen for three decades, her own complicated relationship to Austen seems to have evolved over time. In early essays and references in novels, Woolf writes about Austen from a respectful distance and with considerable ambivalence. Later in her life, particularly after reading Austen’s juvenilia, Woolf appears to have identified more closely with Austen and to have become more intent on defending her from critics viewing her as a decorous maiden aunt writing “little” novels because of her “little” life.
The first piece Woolf published about Austen appeared in 1913 as an unsigned review on the front page of the Times Literary Supplement. James Edward Austen-Leigh’s 1870 Memoir of his aunt (a whitewashing job presenting her as “dear Aunt Jane”) shapes Woolf’s view of Austen. Woolf had no way of knowing as we do now that this memoir whitewashed the truth and censored the letters, robbing Austen of much of her professional ambition, keen intellect, and sardonic wit. “The chief reason why she does not appeal to us,” Woolf observes, “is that she . . . seems at times to have accepted life too calmly as she found it, and to any one who reads her biography or letters it is plain that life showed her a great deal that was smug, commonplace, and . . . artificial” (Southam 241). Austen-Leigh’s memoir presented Austen as a sweet maiden aunt uninterested in fame or fortune. The bowdlerized letters robbed Austen of sparkle, as when Austen’s witty remark about some neighbors, “I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow” became “I was as civil to them as circumstances would allow.”3 Relatives suppressed completely some of the most biting letters, anecdotes, and early sketches. No wonder Woolf found Austen “too little of the rebel” (241). Woolf acknowledges of Austen-Leigh, “his book can never be superseded,” and her remarks make it clear she has swallowed the family myth of Austen as “a quiet maiden lady” accepting her little world without question. Woolf focuses in her comments on Austen’s limitations, defects, fastidiousness, and “conservative spirit,” and she refers to Austen’s novels as “six neat volumes” (242, 241).
Even in this early review, however, Woolf acknowledges that Austen broke free of her supposed limitations, creating fictional microcosms of great scope. “More than any other novelist,” Woolf writes, “she fills every inch of her canvas with observation, fashions every sentence into meaning, stuffs up every chink and cranny of the fabric until each novel is a little living world, from which you cannot break off a scene or even a sentence without bleeding it of some of its life” (Southam 244). As a fellow writer, Woolf felt she could appreciate Austen’s intricate craft—and the labor it took to produce it—in a way that non-writers never could: “Only those who have realized for themselves the ridiculous inadequacy of a straight stick dipped in ink when brought in contact with the rich and tumultuous glow of life can appreciate to the full the wonder of her achievement, the imagination, the penetration, the insight, the courage, the sincerity which are required to bring before us one of those perfectly normal and simple incidents of average human life” (245). Woolf knew that her countrymen held conversations about Austen’s characters as if they were still alive, proving their vitality and universality: “Her characters are so rounded and substantial that they have the power to move out of the scenes in which she placed them into other moods and circumstances” (244). (Woolf must have seen into a future in which Emma would become Clueless, Pride and Prejudice would move to India and become Bride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park, in a piece of fan fiction, could be set in a trailer park in Tennessee [Stolzi].) Woolf seems even to have predicted JASNA conferences filled with devoted readers arguing over characters: “if some one begins to talk about Emma Woodhouse or Elizabeth Bennet, voices from different parts of the room begin saying which they prefer and why, and how they differ and how they might have acted if one had been at Box Hill and the other at Rosings, and where they live, and how their houses are disposed, as if they were living people” (244).
From a distance Woolf notes with amusement the fact that her countrymen argue over Austen characters—and over Austen herself. Woolf recognizes that the figure of Jane Austen provokes love and hatred—and hypocrisy. Long before D. W. Harding’s contention in 1940 that Austen’s fate was “to be read and enjoyed by precisely the sort of people whom she disliked” (167), Woolf presents fictional characters whose “insights” about Austen reveal their own blindness. In her very first novel, The Voyage Out, Woolf includes a conversation about Austen between the middle-aged Clarissa Dalloway and twenty-four-year-old Rachel:
[Clarissa Dalloway exclaims,] “Wuthering Heights! Ah—that’s more in my line. I really couldn’t exist without the Brontës! Don’t you love them? Still, on the whole, I’d rather live without them than without Jane Austen.” . . .
“Jane Austen? I don’t like Jane Austen,” said Rachel.
“You monster!” Clarissa exclaimed. “I can only just forgive you. Tell me why?”
“She’s so—so—well, so like a tight plait,” Rachel floundered.
“Ah—I see what you mean. But I don’t agree. And you won’t when you’re older. At your age I only liked Shelley. I can remember sobbing over him in the garden.” (58)
A bit later in the novel, Mrs. Dalloway chooses Persuasion to read aloud to her husband. When he learns that Rachel “can’t bear our beloved Jane,” Richard Dalloway responds, “That . . . is because you have not read her. She is incomparably the greatest female writer we possess. She is the greatest and for this reason: she does not attempt to write like a man. Every other woman does; on that account, I don’t read ’em.” Mrs. Dalloway reminds him, “Dick, it’s no good your pretending to know Jane by heart, considering that she always sends you to sleep!” (62).
Advising her husband that he’s not to think about his work as a legislator, about guns “or navies or empires or anything,” Clarissa Dalloway begins to read aloud the opening of Persuasion.
“Sir Walter Elliot . . . was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage.” . . . She read on in a light humorous voice. She was determined that Sir Walter should take her husband’s mind off the guns of Britain, and divert him in an exquisite, quaint, sprightly, and slightly ridiculous world. After a time it appeared that the sun was sinking in that world. . . . Richard’s eyelids were closing and opening; opening and closing. A loud nasal breath announced that he no longer considered appearances, that he was sound asleep.
“Triumph!” Clarissa whispered at the end of a sentence. (63)
Woolf achieves multiple layers of irony in this scene in her first novel. The naive Mrs. Dalloway triumphantly uses her supposedly “beloved Jane” as an escapist sedative, and the egotistical, pontificating Mr. Dalloway falls asleep unaware that he has just proven his own inability to appreciate Austen’s greatness as well as his blindness to how closely he resembles Sir Walter Elliot.
In her subsequent writing, Woolf begins to tackle not only hypocritical or misguided readers of Jane Austen but also her critics. Part of my title for this essay comes from the charming 1920 piece entitled “Jane Austen and the Geese.” Woolf listened with dismay to the belittling, disparaging, condescending remarks of honking, pecking critics—critics who called Austen “the most decorous of maiden ladies” (Higginson 156) and a little artist who lived a “pinched and narrow” life (Emerson 336).4 As Ezra Pound bluntly put it, “No one expects Jane Austen to be as interesting as Stendhal. A book about a dull, stupid, hemmed-in sort of life, by a person who has never lived it, will never be as interesting as the work of some author who has comprehended many men’s manners and seen many grades and conditions of existence” (Southam 84). In 1927 novelist Arnold Bennett condescendingly noted, “I like Jane. I have read several Janes. . . . She was a great little novelist. . . . But her world is a tiny one. . . . She did not know enough of the world to be a great novelist. She had not the ambition to be a great novelist. She knew her place” (Southam 288). Given the fact that thousands attend international Jane Austen Society meetings, not Arnold Bennett Society meetings, it would seem the “little novelist” did just fine for herself. I like the way Janet Todd puts it: “Elizabeth Bennet will always defeat Arnold Bennett” (111).
“Jane Austen and the Geese” shows Woolf defending Austen as if to defend herself and all women writers. Woolf turns her review of Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh’s Personal Aspects of Jane Austen into a slam against geese-like critics who belittle women writers by focusing on their personal lives rather than their works. (One almost begins to wonder if Virginia Woolf saw into the cinematic future and predicted myopic biopics such as Becoming Jane!) Woolf complains, “Never have we had before us such certain proof of the incorrigible stupidity of the reviewers. Ever since Jane Austen became famous they have been hissing inanities in chorus,” commenting that Austen did not like dogs or children and speculating about “whether she was a lady, whether she told the truth, whether she could read, and whether she had personal experience of hunting a fox” (134). Calling such petty comments “positively upsetting,” Woolf concludes, “We remember that Jane Austen wrote novels. It might be worth while for her critics to read them” (136).
Shortly before her blistering conclusion to “Jane Austen and the Geese” Woolf reveals a key fact: she had encountered in Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh’s work her first glimpse of the juvenilia, “some notes made by Jane at the age of twelve or thirteen upon the margin of Goldsmith’s History of England” (136). Although Woolf pronounces these notes “slight and childish,” she also seems taken by Austen’s “natural voice” as an antidote to her carping critics.
Fortunately Woolf lived long enough to read more of Austen’s juvenilia, those unconventional writings that reveal an irrepressible, irreverent, lively adolescent delighting in breaking rules. A decade later than the TLS piece calling Austen “too little of the rebel,” Woolf published in The New Statesman a piece called “Jane Austen Practising” reviewing “Love and Freindship,” Austen’s hilarious burlesque of sentimental fiction, and other pieces of the juvenilia. Woolf revised and recycled some of that material in her essay “Jane Austen” included in The Common Reader. Woolf describes a young Austen who “had few illusions about other people and none about herself” and wrote even as a teenager with timeless humor and universal vision: “Nothing is more obvious than that this girl of fifteen, sitting in her private corner of the common parlour, was writing not to draw a laugh from brother and sister, and not for home consumption. She was writing for everybody, for nobody, for our age, for her own; in other words, even at that early age Jane Austen was writing. . . . What is this note which never merges in the rest, which sounds distinctly and penetratingly all through the volume? It is the sound of laughter. The girl of fifteen is laughing, in her corner, at the world” (Common Reader 139).
Once having encountered that Jane Austen, Woolf objects to those who try to turn her into something she was not. It is time, Woolf argues in “Jane Austen Practising,” her 1922 review of the juvenilia, to strip off the stifling layers smothering the real Jane Austen. “All over England for the past ten or twenty years the reputation of Jane Austen has been accumulating on top of us like . . . quilts and blankets. The voices of the elderly and distinguished, of the clergy and the squirearchy, have droned in unison praising and petting, capping quotations, telling little anecdotes, raking up little facts. . . . So they pile up the quilts and counterpanes until the comfort becomes oppressive. Something must be done about it” (Essays 3.331-32). A decade later Woolf writes to R. W. Chapman, Austen’s tireless editor, “The people who talk of her as if she were a niminy piminy spinster always annoy me” (20 November 1936). She informs Chapman that she would like to write an essay on Jane Austen’s coarseness just to counter the overwhelming attempts to portray her as “niminy piminy”—in other words, as fussily dainty, mincing, and prim. As Jo March had put it in Alcott’s Little Women, “I hate affected, niminy piminy chits” (5). Woolf knew that even as a teenager Austen was no dainty chit but a precociously mature writer-in-training with a brilliant understanding of human foibles.
Patronizing critics sniping about Austen’s tiny life enraged Virginia Woolf. She refused to accept the idea that Austen must have been broken-hearted because she never married or led a “normal” life. Writing about herself, Woolf observed, “Happiness—what, I wonder, constitutes happiness? I daresay the most important element is work” (Diary 7 May 1919). Woolf knew Austen worked hard to hone her skills and found joy in her profession—yes, profession—as a writer. “She was happy in her life,” Woolf notes of Austen. “Life itself—that was the object of her love, of her absorbed study; that was the pursuit which filled those unrecorded years and drew out the ‘quiet intensity of her nature’” (Southam 243-44).
In her essays, reviews, and letters, Virginia Woolf seems increasingly determined to blast all niminy piminy critics out of the park. To do so, she trumpets to the world the indisputable, undeniable, unambiguous fact of Jane Austen’s artistic greatness. Woolf states categorically, “Never did any novelist make more use of an impeccable sense of human values” (Common Reader 143). Woolf praises Austen as a writer with “singularly perfect” gifts, “the most perfect artist among women” creating “the most perfect of English novels” (Common Reader 145, 149; Letters 28 February 1932).
Virginia Woolf makes it clear throughout her essays that Austen belongs in the pantheon of the world’s greatest writers. In an essay called “Personalities” she compares her to Shakespeare as a classic artist so great that one experiences only the immortal works, not the author’s mortal selfhood. “There is Jane Austen, thumbed, scored, annotated, magnified, living almost within the memory of man, and yet as inscrutable in her small way as Shakespeare in his vast one” (Essays 2.275). In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf marvels, “Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote . . . and when people compare Shakespeare and Jane Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason we do not know Jane Austen and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare” (A Room of One’s Own 114). Woolf runs together Shakespeare, Austen, and Proust in a sentence on the transformative power of literature: “Reading Lear or Emma or Remembrance of Things Past . . . seems to perform a curious couching operation on the senses; one sees more intensely afterwards; the world seems bared of its covering and given an intenser life” (Room 114). In her essay “Modern Fiction,” Woolf writes that “Fielding did well” but “Jane Austen even better” (Common Reader 150). Elsewhere she links Austen not only to the feminist achievements of the Brontës and George Eliot but also to the complexity of Tolstoy, the realism of Trollope, the comic genius of Peacock, the depth of characterization in Stendhahl, Dickens, and Chekhov, the structural perfection of Sophocles, and the artistry of Turgenev, who teaches rather than preaches (Todd 111).
Woolf recognizes that the seemingly ordinary events of Austen’s novels belie extraordinary depths, noting, “Jane Austen is thus a mistress of much deeper emotion than appears upon the surface. She stimulates us to supply what is not there” (Room 142). In the autobiographical “A Sketch of the Past,” Woolf admits her own sense of inferiority compared to Austen: “Every day includes much more non-being than being. . . . The real novelist can somehow convey both sorts of being. I think Jane Austen can. . . . I have never been able to do both” (Moments 70).
Woolf did not ever, however, become an uncritical Janeite. She finds Fanny Price boring and confesses to reading Mansfield Park “two words at a time” (Letters 2 February 1925). She seems to find Austen’s perfection, artistic control, aloofness, and inscrutability maddening at times, and she objects when readers link her own work or personality to Austen’s. She complains in her diary of Katherine Mansfield, “A decorous elderly dullard she describes me; Jane Austen up to date” (28 November 1919), insisting in letters that she does not want to be “Jane Austen over again,” particularly if it means that she has to suppress half her sexuality (Letters 5 December 1919, 20 November 1932). In the same letter censuring critics for treating Austen like a “niminy piminy spinster,” Woolf herself calls Austen “a limited, tart, rather conventional woman for all her genius” (20 November 1936).
Woolf displays ambivalence toward Austen’s tartness, particularly her gift for attacking folly. “Think of her fools! Think of Mr. Collins, Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Bates, Mrs. Norris, Mrs. Bennet, and in a lesser degree of Mrs. Allen, Lady Bertram, Sir William Lucas! What a light the thought of them will cast on the wettest day! How various and individual is their folly!” (Southam 243). Although she praises Austen for describing her fools without “a drop of bitterness in her spirit,” Woolf uses violent imagery—knives and whips—to describe the power of Austen’s words. “One after another she creates her fools, her prigs, her worldlings, her Mr. Collinses, her Sir Walter Elliots, her Mrs. Bennets. She encircles them with the lash of a whip-like phrase which, as it runs around them, cuts out their silhouettes forever. . . . Sometimes it seems as if her creatures were born merely to give Jane Austen the supreme delight of slicing their heads off” (Common Reader 143). Austen may have been a proper maiden aunt, yet Woolf finds her downright scary: “Here is Jane Austen, a great writer as we all agree, but, for my own part, I would rather not find myself alone in the room with her. A sense of meaning withheld, a smile at something unseen, an atmosphere of perfect control and courtesy mixed with something finely satirical, which, were it not directed against things in general rather than against individuals, would be almost malicious, would, so I feel, make it alarming to find her at home” (Common Reader 145).
Austen seems to confound any attempt Woolf makes to give her just one label. Woolf’s extensive comments on Austen leave us with a sense of implied oxymorons—Austen as a limited genius, an alarming domestic, a conventional rebel, an old-fashioned modern.
The most striking paradox comes in Woolf’s revolutionary essay A Room of One’s Own; here Austen makes not just a cameo appearance but a starring performance. As Katie Trumpener puts it in “The Virago Jane Austen,” “Austen hovers as a central—perhaps the central—figure in Woolf’s account” (147). Woolf’s use of Austen seems profoundly and deliberately ironic. Woolf contends, after all, that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” yet Austen had neither financial independence nor privacy (4). Woolf reminds her audience that although Austen had “no separate study to repair to,” faced constant interruptions, and chose to hide her manuscript pages from visitors, she amazingly was able to generate masterpieces: “I wondered, would Pride and Prejudice have been a better novel if Jane Austen had not thought it necessary to hide her manuscript from visitors? I read a page or two to see; but I could not find any signs that her circumstances had harmed her work in the slightest. That, perhaps, was the chief miracle about it” (71). Unlike other women writers, Austen did not allow anger to distort her prose. Elizabeth Bennet does not suddenly in the middle of Pride and Prejudice stop to launch into a feminist diatribe against inadequate opportunities for women, the way Jane Eyre does. Woolf tells us that Jane Austen doesn’t preach or rant; she simply refuses to allow “masculine values” to prevail in her fiction, despite their dominance in society. Biased critics inevitably judged men’s novels about the battles of men in war more important than women’s novels about “the feelings of women in a drawing-room,” but Austen knew better than that. As she put it in Northanger Abbey, her novels displayed “the greatest powers of the mind” and “most thorough knowledge of human nature” in “the best chosen language” (38).
In one of the most eloquent passages in A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf marvels that Austen tenaciously remained true to her own voice: “What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as [she] saw it, without shrinking.” Austen “ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue—write this, think that” and was deaf to “that persistent voice, now grumbling, now patronising, now domineering, now grieved, now shocked, now angry, now avuncular, that voice which cannot let women alone, but must be at them . . . to keep within certain limits” (77-78). Rather than accepting even a prose style forged by centuries of male writers, Austen “looked at a [man’s sentence] and laughed at it and devised a perfectly natural, shapely sentence proper for her own use, and never departed from it” (80). Woolf delights in the story of the “formidable,” “incorruptible” Jane Austen refusing to alter her style to suit the Prince Regent or his pompous librarian, and advises the young women in her audience, “So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters” (110).
Austen’s success disproves the surface premise of A Room of One’s Own, demonstrating that anonymously but persistently women of past centuries found metaphorical rooms of their own despite being denied freedom, equal access to education, political and economic power, or a place in history. After complaining that women are “all but absent from history,” a remark echoing Catherine Morland’s lament in Northanger Abbey, Woolf calls the emergence of women writers like Austen a historical change “of greater importance than the Crusade or the Wars of the Roses” (68).
The more Woolf grew acquainted with Austen, the more she regretted her untimely death in her early forties. “Let us take Persuasion,” Woolf observes, “and look by its light at the novels that she might have written had she lived to be sixty. We do not grudge it him, but her brother the Admiral lived to be ninety-one” (Southam 301). In order to come to terms with Jane Austen—to be inspired but not intimidated by her—Virginia Woolf imagines in the closing paragraph of her essay “Jane Austen” that had Jane Austen lived, she would have turned into a writer much like Woolf herself: “She would have devised a method, clear and composed as ever, but deeper and more suggestive, for conveying not only what people say, but what they leave unsaid; not only what they are, but what life is. The most perfect artist among women, the writer whose books are immortal, died ‘just as she was beginning to feel confidence in her own success’” (Common Reader 149). As Woolf grew older and read more of Austen’s juvenilia, she seems to have acquired a greater appreciation of her unconventional depths and a greater disdain for those critics and readers who never got past the “quiet maiden lady” Woolf herself had once labeled Austen (Southam 244).
Many of us who publish books on Austen like to use as an epigraph Woolf’s cautionary remark, “Anyone who has had the temerity to write about Jane Austen knows that of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness” (Southam 301). Woolf, too, is an elusive, slippery, enigmatic figure, so writing about Woolf and Austen takes not just temerity but audacity. My search has not concluded but has led me far enough to gain a greater appreciation of both feisty, non-niminy piminy women who ignored the honking critical geese, kept to their own style, went on in their own way, and found the courage to write fiction that changed the world.
1. I am indebted to Janet Todd’s “Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen?” and to Judith Lee’s “‘Without Hate, Without Bitterness, Without Fear, Without Protest, Without Preaching’: Virginia Woolf Reads Jane Austen.”
2. Woolf’s letters and diary entries are filled with references to Austen. See in particular letters of 13, 20, and 29 November 1932, and 13 June 1928. Tracking Woolf’s comments on Austen is made more difficult by the fact that she frequently reworked material from one essay (e.g., “Jane Austen Practising” or “Jane Austen at Sixty”) into another one (“Jane Austen” in The Common Reader), making slight alterations in the process.
3. Contrast the full letter of 20 November 1800 as printed in Deirdre Le Faye’s edition of Austen’s letters with the censored version the public first encountered in 1884 when it was printed in Brabourne’s edition.
4. See chapter 1 of my Searching for Jane Austen for these and many other examples of critical put-downs of Austen.
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Grosset, 1947.
Auerbach, Emily. Searching for Jane Austen. Madison: U Wisconsin P, 2004.
Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey. Ed. R. W. Chapman. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1969.
Brabourne, Edward, Lord, ed. The Letters of Jane Austen. 2 vols. London: Bentley, 1884.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1856-63. Ed. Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes. Boston: Houghton, 1913.
Gordon, Lyndall. Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life. New York: Norton, 1984.
Harding, D. W. “Regulated Hatred: An Aspect of the Work of Jane Austen.” Scrutiny 8 (1940): 346-62. Rpt. in Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Ian Watt. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1963. 166-79.
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. Women and Men. New York: Harper, 1888.
Lee, Judith. “‘Without Hate, Without Bitterness, Without Fear, Without Protest, Without Preaching’: Virginia Woolf Reads Jane Austen.” Persuasions 12 (1990): 111-16.
Le Faye, Deirdre, ed. Jane Austen’s Letters: New Edition. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1995.
Southam, B. C., ed. Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage 1870-1940. Vol. 2. London: Routledge, 1987.
Stolzi. “Back in Mansfield Park.” Derbyshire Writers Guild at Austen.com. 1997. 27 Nov. 2008 <http://thedwg.com/derby/olda/stolzi1.htm>.
Todd, Janet. “Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen?” Jane Austen: New Perspectives. Ed. Janet Todd. New York: Holmes, 1983. 107-27.
Trumpener, Katie. “The Virago Jane Austen.” Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees. Ed. Deidre Lynch. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000. 140-65.
Woolf, Virginia. The Common Reader. First Series. New York: Harcourt, 1925.
_____. The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Anne Olivier Bell. London: Hogarth, 1977.
_____. Essays of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Andrew McNeillie. London: Hogarth, 1988.
_____. “Jane Austen and the Geese.” Books and Portraits. Ed. Mary Lyon. New York: Harcourt, 1977. 134-36.
_____. The Letters of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Nigel Nicolson. New York: Harcourt, 1976.
_____. Moments of Being. New York: Harcourt, 1985.
_____. A Room of One’s Own. New York: Harcourt, 1957.
_____. The Voyage Out. New York: Harcourt, 1920.