The History of England was written in 1791, when Jane Austen was a youngster of 15. It demostrates Austen’s wit at a seminal moment as an irreverent teenager (though that word wouldn’t exist for more than a century). The illustrations are by the hand of Austen's elder sister Cassandra, to whom the work is dedicated. She satirizes the schoolbook histories of the monarchs that were common in her education, while also drawing special attention to the women who were important in English royal history — Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and, most particularly, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom Austen spends a great deal of time defending. This edition puts the orginal pages from the Austen sisters’ own hand on the even pages, while on the facing, odd pages the text is reproduced and annotated for the modern and — especially for Americans — somewhat less royalty-fluent reader.
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