The text is that of the 1813 first edition, accompanied by revised and expanded explanatory annotations.
This edition also includes: biographical portraits of Austen by members of her family and, new to the fourth edition, those by Jon Spence (Becoming Jane Austen) and Paula Byrne (The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things). Also included are fifteen critical essays, twelve of them new to the fourth edition, reflecting the finest current scholarship. Contributors include Janet Todd, Jim Collins, Andrew Elfenbein, Felicia Bonaparte and Tiffany Potter, amongst others. "Writers on Austen"—a new section of brief comments by Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, W. H. Auden and others. A Chronology and revised and expanded Selected Bibliography.