A mother of two adult sons, I have published two books on the life and times of Jane Austen, and many articles on history and literature. My husband and I are lucky enough to live within a beautiful garden created by my father, philosopher David Stove (1927-1994), outside Sydney, Australia, close to the Blue Mountains National Park. Every day is an opportunity to learn more about the intricacy of the cosmos, from both ‘the book of Nature,’ and the works surviving from the past.

Maybe we will see historians being more comfortable with love and virtue. Marcus [Aurelius] drew our attention to the role of love in Nature (X.21.1). Here’s hoping. Because that, after all, is why we are gathered here: to grow in virtue ourselves through reading, talking, thinking and writing about – as Marcus puts it, getting to know - the brave, wise and just women and men of the past.

Judith Stove (From 'Women and Stoicism,' delivered at Stoicon-X Australia 2020 virtual event)



I would never have had the opportunity to become a researcher and writer, if it were not for Jane Austen (1775-1817). It was from thinking about Austen as a key writer on virtue, that I began to explore the virtue tradition inherited from Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. History, philosophy, and literature have intertwined—the garden has many branches, vines, and tendrils!

 ‘Ah!’ cried Captain Harville, in a tone of strong feeling, ‘if I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, ‘God knows whether we ever meet again!’ And then, if I could convey to you the glow of his soul when he does see them again; when, coming back after a twelvemonth’s absence, perhaps, and obliged to put into another port, he calculates how soon it be possible to get them there, pretending to deceive himself, and saying, ‘They cannot be here till such a day,’ but all the while hoping for them twelve hours sooner, and seeing them arrive at last, as if Heaven had given them wings, by many hours sooner still! If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his existence! I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!’ pressing his own with emotion.

– Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818), Chapter 23.


Within The Walled Garden, I write ‘Roots of the Garden,’ a series of short essays which introduce important works from the Western philosophical tradition, starting with Plato. 


I lead meetups in The The Walled Garden Philosophical Society to discuss relevant philosophical themes, including discussions on classic literature, language, and ideas.

Jane Austen's Inspiration: Beloved Friend Anne Lefroy

In this insightful new biography of Anne Lefroy, Judy Stove investigates the life of a writer who had a direct and undeniable influence on the life and works of Jane Austen.
Jane shared some of her earliest writings with Anne who became a devoted confidant; it is believed that their friendship was an essential component in their creativity. As a published female writer, Anne was an immense source of inspiration to Jane as she developed her own talents.


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