Fentum Press to publish new edition of Austen's Sanditon

Fentum Press to publish new edition of Austen's Sanditon

Independent publisher Fentum Press will publish a new "indispensable" edition of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon featuring full-colour illustrations and an introductory essay by Austen scholar Professor Janet Todd. 

Fentum Press publisher Katherine Bright-Holmes acquired world rights, all languages for Jane Austen’s Sanditon: The novel, with an illustrated essay by Janet Todd direct from the author. Isabelle Bleecker of The Nordlyset Agency in the US is handling TV, film and foreign rights. 

"Sanditon, Jane Austen’s last novel, unfinished when she died in 1817, continues the strain of comedy and caricature she wrote as a teenager and in private throughout her life," Fentum said: "Todd’s freshly edited text makes the novel easy for contemporary readers to appreciate, and her profound, ground-breaking essay puts the novel into historical, cultural, social, political and artistic context. Sanditon is an innovative, ebullient study of human vagaries. Todd shows Austen’s themes to be similar to contemporary concerns about self-obsession and the culture of narcissism, a comic study of the gap between how we think of ourselves and how we appear and sound to others."

The new edition, to be published on 1st October in hardback, includes 25 contemporary full-colour illustrations: seaside and health cartoons, rare photos from the original Sanditon manuscript and an overview of the continuations of Sanditon, including film and TV adaptations.

Todd, a scholar, novelist, biographer, literary critic, and the general editor of The Cambridge Works of Jane Austen, contextualises Austen's life and work and examines the social problems of capitalism, entrepreneurship, growing tourism, and the effect on communities; the early nineteenth-century culture of self; the exploitation of hypochondria, health fads, seaside resorts, miracle cures, in her introductory essay. 

A former president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, Todd is now an Emerita Professor at the University of Aberdeen and an Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Born in Wales, she has worked at universities around the world and in the UK (Glasgow, Aberdeen, Cambridge, UEA) and lives in Cambridge.

The deal comes as ITV unveils eight-part drama Sanditon, adapted by Andrew Davies. The first episode of the series will be broadcast on Sunday 25th August.