The Beautifull Cassandra

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The Beautifull Cassandra [sic] is a short novel from Jane Austen's juvenilia. It is a parody of the melodramatic and sentimental novels of the time and tells the story of a young woman who sets off into the world to make her fortune.


Austen creates the characters and the parody without authorial embellishment. She sets the tone for this style in a dedication – "to Miss Austen" – that parodies flowery literary praise: "Madam, You are a Phoenix [...] Your person is lovely [...] your conversation is rational and your appearance singular" (258). Austen then progresses to a story in which the heroine is "lovely & amiable & chancing to fall in love with an elegant Bonnet [...] walked [out] [...] to make her fortune" (258). All three of the listed characteristics, and the result, have precedents in the literature of Austen’s period, and each would evoke a series of associations in the mind of the reader; but Austen restructures the associations by the fashion in which she gives each of these particular items the same effect on the outcome. This readjustment creates a new perspective of accepted motifs and allows Austen to place herself outside of the framework of a single genre. Such flexibility on the part of the author results in richer characterizations: Cassandra is constructed in fewer than thirty sentences and Austen relies on the audience's appreciation of the references she makes to issues of lineage, adventure, expectations of beauty and typical relationships. This small character has her own being – both within the text and on her own – that reflects the life that would be brought to Austen's later characters.


  • Austen, Jane (1996). Peter Washington, ed. Sanditon and Other Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf; Everyman's Library. 
  • Austen, Jane (1993). The Beautifull Cassandra. Sono Nis Press. ISBN 1-55039-041-4. 

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