Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 August 2019
Chapter 3 argues that Jane Austen revisited themes from her juvenilia in her published novels, especially Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Mansfield Park (1814), both of which were also lightly revised after initial publication in response to readers and reviewers. They display Austen’s concern with improving her texts and using accurate technical language. Austen’s cautionary stance on “sensibility,” especially female sensibility, within Sense and Sensibility was first developed within her juvenilia and functions as a critique of late eighteenth-century sentimental tropes. Austen’s ambiguous stance regarding the wild women of Mansfield Park, especially when interpreted through the lens of her earlier writings, can be read as an implicit criticism of the systems of female education and marriage that produce their immoral behavior. The chapter’s conclusion shows the culmination of Austen’s masterful revision practices in The Watsons (c.1803) and Persuasion (1817), which are linked to clear stylistic improvements and keen social commentary on the condition of women.