Jane Austen

Jane Austen

A Life

Book - 2000
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The novels of Jane Austen depict a world of civility, reassuring stability and continuity, which generations of readers have supposed was the world she herself inhabited. Claire Tomalin's biography paints a surprisingly different picture of the Austen family and their Hampshire neighbours, and of Jane's progress through a difficult childhood, an unhappy love affair, her experiences as a poor relation and her decision to reject a marriage that would solve all her problems - except that of continuing as a writer. Both the woman and the novels are radically reassessed in this biography.
Publisher: London : Penguin, 2000
Edition: Rev. and updated ed
ISBN: 9780140296907
Branch Call Number: PR4036 .T66 2000x
Characteristics: xiii, 361 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

Tomalin provides a full and compelling portrait of Austen the woman and the writer, focusing on the life and times of the Austen family to fill in the gaps in the record of Jane's own life.

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Mar 07, 2019

It's commonly believed that great artists must suffer. If so, Jane Austen's often-precarious life experience explains her brilliance as a social observer, and as a novelist. After her death at age 41, her own (loving) brother commented that she didn't amount to much. (Surely this was the mis-perception of the millennium!) Claire Tomalin provides as good a biography as possible of a life that seems maddeningly obscure in so many respects.

Sep 15, 2017

The author makes Austin's "uneventful life" come to life. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Mar 29, 2011

The first biography of Jane Austen was published a few years after her death by a nephew; it was meant to be the final word on ?Aunt Jane? and her quiet, humble existence. To her later biographers, Jane proved exceptionally elusive?despite leading such a supposedly ordinary existence, there are very few records, notes, letters, or other papers that reveal what Jane was really like. Guesswork is a must for an Austen biographer, especially since sister Cassandra?s destruction of many of Jane?s letters hints at a private life that was more dramatic than historical fact leads us to believe. Jane Austen: A Life, the 1997 biography by Claire Tomalin, is one of the best. Tomalin reveals details about the lives of family and friends to throw light on how Jane lived and worked and thought and felt; Jane?s life is placed firmly in its context of 18th and 19th century religion, politics, and war. Most importantly, the evolution of Jane?s writing is thoughtfully traced. The reader is left with a vivid sense of Jane, her work, and her life. And that, given the difficulty of truly explaining Jane, is the best Austen fans can wish for.

Mar 23, 2011

Learned tons about Jane Austen that I didn't know before reading this. Good read.


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