Download the Major Works of Jane Austen as Free eBooks & Audio Books


Why does Jane Austen feel so much like our con­tem­po­rary? Is it the way she has been appro­pri­at­ed by pop­u­lar cul­ture, turned into a vamp­ish, mod­ern con­sumer icon in adap­ta­tions like From Pra­da to Nada, Clue­less, and Brid­get Jones’ Diary? Do these can­dy-col­ored updates of Austen tru­ly rep­re­sent the spir­it of the late 18th/early 19th cen­tu­ry novelist’s world? Or do we grav­i­tate toward Austen because of nos­tal­gia for a sim­pler, almost pre-indus­tri­al time, when—as in the rather reac­tionary world of Down­ton Abbey—the com­ings and goings in a sin­gle house­hold con­sti­tut­ed an entire human soci­ety?

Why not both? As the writ­ers and artists in the video above from the Mor­gan Library assert, Austen, like Shake­speare, is a writer for every age. “The Divine Jane” as the title dubs her, had an insight into human behav­ior that tran­scends the par­tic­u­lars of her his­tor­i­cal moment. But of course, the con­text of Austen’s fiction—a time of great Eng­lish coun­try hous­es and an emerg­ing class-con­scious­ness based on rapid­ly chang­ing social arrangements—is no mere back­drop. Like Shake­speare, we need to under­stand Austen on her own terms as much as we enjoy her wit trans­posed into our own.

The Mor­gan Library’s “A Woman’s Wit” exhib­it, moved online since its debut in the phys­i­cal space in 2009, offers an excel­lent col­lec­tion of resources for schol­ars and lay read­ers to dis­cov­er Austen’s world through her cor­re­spon­dence and man­u­scripts. You’ll also find there draw­ings by Austen and her con­tem­po­raries and com­men­tary from a num­ber of twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry writ­ers inspired by her work. Much of the Austen-mania of the past sev­er­al years treats the nov­el­ist as a more-or-less post­mod­ern ironist—“hotter,” wrote Mar­tin Amis in 1996, “than Quentin Taran­ti­no.” That she has become such fod­der for films, both good and frankly ter­ri­ble, can obscure her obses­sion with lan­guage, one rep­re­sent­ed by her nov­els, of course, as well as by her let­ters—so live­ly and imme­di­ate so as to have inspired a “Per­fect Love Let­ter” com­pe­ti­tion among Austen enthu­si­asts.

As for the nov­els, well, there real­ly is no sub­sti­tute. Dress­ing Austen up in Pra­da and Guc­ci and recast­ing her bum­bling suit­ors and imp­ish hero­ines as mall-savvy teenage Amer­i­cans has—one hopes—been done enough. Let not Austen’s appeal to our age eclipse the rich, fine-grained obser­va­tions she made of hers. Whether you’re new to Austen or a life­long read­er, her work is always avail­able, as she intend­ed it to be expe­ri­enced, on the page—or, er… the screen… thanks to inter­net pub­lish­ing and orga­ni­za­tions like Project Guten­berg, Lib­rivox and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Adelaide’s eBook library. At the links below, you can find all of Austen’s major works in var­i­ous eBook and audio for­mats.

So by all means, enjoy the mod­ern clas­sic Clue­less, that hilar­i­ous ren­di­tion of Austen’s Emma. And by all means, read Emma, and Pride and Prej­u­dice, and Mans­field Park, and… well, you get the idea….

Relat­ed Con­tent:

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Jane Austen Used Pins to Edit Her Aban­doned Man­u­script, The Wat­sons

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices

What Did Jane Austen Real­ly Look Like? New Wax Sculp­ture, Cre­at­ed by Foren­sic Spe­cial­ists, Shows Us

15-Year-Old Jane Austen Writes a Satir­i­cal His­to­ry Of Eng­land: Read the Hand­writ­ten Man­u­script Online (1791)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • hope says:

    Thank you those that cre­at­ed this web­site, and for Jane Austen for her amaz­ing work that she has done and also pro­vid­ed for us.
    ‑Thank you all

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