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"Backgrounds and Sources" includes biographical portraits of Austen by members of her family and by acclaimed biographers Claire Tomalin and David Nokes. Seventeen of Austen's letters--eight of them new to the Third Edition--allow readers to glimpse the close-knit society that was Austen's world, both in life and in her writing. Samples of Austen's early writing allow readers to trace her growth as a writer as well as to read her fiction comparatively. "Criticism" features nineteen assessments of the novel, seven of them new to the Third Edition. Among them is an interview with Colin Firth on the recent BBC television adaptation of the novel. Also included are pieces by Richard Whately, Margaret Oliphant, Richard Simpson, D. W. Harding, Dorothy Van Ghent, Alistair Duckworth, Stuart Tave, Marilyn Butler, Nina Auerbach, Susan Morgan, Claudia L. Johnson, Susan Fraiman, Deborah Kaplan, Tara Goshal Wallace, Cheryl L. Nixon, David Spring, Edward Ahearn, and Donald Gray. A Chronology-new to the Third Edition-and a Selected Bibliography are also included.