Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Portrait Of Jane Austen” as Want to Read:
A Portrait Of Jane Austen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Portrait Of Jane Austen

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The late 18th century world in which Jane Austen lived was one that combined good sense, elegant manners, intelligence and piety with a liberal dash of spirited fun. Drawing on Jane Austen's letters, novels, and other people's memories of her, David Cecil sets out to "reconstruct and depict her living personality and to explore it in relation to her art". The portrait that ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 26th 2000 by Penguin Books (first published April 1st 1979)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Portrait Of Jane Austen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Portrait Of Jane Austen

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Joana Starnes
One of the most enjoyable biographies of Jane Austen that I have ever read. Others were perhaps more detailed, more scholarly, more of an 'outsider-looking-in' kind of biography. The author of this one is, however, very much of an insider, with a perfect understanding of the world Jane Austen wrote about and her characters inhabited. Added to that is the high quality of beautiful illustrations - a definite must read for an Austen enthusiast
Tze-Wen
In writing A Portrait Of Jane Austen, David Cecil has "taken particular pains to set [his] heroine in the context of the period and society in which she lived." The reason for this, he argues, is the often "comically misleading portrait" drawn by fellow biographers and critics who interpret Jane Austen's life from a contemporary point of view.
The prologue is dedicated to the world of Jane Austen. He describes the society in which she must have roamed, and the established classes and social conve
...more
Alice
Sep 19, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il existe peu de biographies de Jane Austen en français, c'est donc une lecture qui se savoure. J'ai mis un peu de temps à rentrer dans l'histoire, pour deux raisons. Tout d'abord, ce genre d'ouvrage débute toujours par de nombreux noms, dates, lieux et détails dans lesquels il faut se repérer. De plus, David Cecil prend le temps ici de remettre en perspective les moeurs de l'époque. Cela permet une bien meilleure compréhension du fonctionnement de la famille Austen dans ce qu'elle a de normal m ...more
Philip
Mar 24, 2013 Philip rated it really liked it
Lord Cecil paints a picture, not just of Jane Austin, but also of the world in which she lived. She lived a fairly uneventful life, but Cecil focuses rather on portraying Austen as mensch. Before reading this book, I was on the verge of becoming a "Janeite"; this has pushed me completely over the edge. Besides being a brilliant author, Jane Austen was a charming, humorous, and pious woman – how impossible not to fall in love with her?
Marci
Dec 21, 2010 Marci rated it really liked it
Lord David Cecil writes about Jane Austen's world, linking what was known by about 1950 to everything known about the time in which she lived. It's a rather sentimentalized view, but enjoyable even so. I actually bought this book at a second-hand store for $2, and it isn't the paperback; it's the first hardback edition on very heavy, quality paper with beautiful plates and a perfect dust cover. Book collectors, envy away!
goddess
Jan 01, 2009 goddess rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, own
Interesting insights into the famous author, Jane Austen. Unfortunately, her history has been pieced together because some of her journals/letters have been burned (mostly by her sister Cassandra). So I think there's still some discrepancies and confusion on some of the facts of her life. For instance, this book downplays her relationship with Tom Lefroy; yet other accounts point out that it was more serious and in fact greatly influenced her writing.

This biography was well written. Cecil brushe
...more
Farida Mestek
Sep 29, 2010 Farida Mestek rated it it was amazing
I've just started reading this wonderful book! He writes so sweetly about Jane Austen's time and her way of life that I just want to be there... The images in the book are lovely!

It was a delightful read. Utterly charming and sweet. The portrayal of Jane, Cassandra and Fanny reminded me a great deal of them in "Miss Austen Regrets", which I'm thinking of watching now. I really liked it. I wish though that Jane would have lived 100 years! It pains me to read about her untimely departure...
Rachel Knowles
Dec 14, 2015 Rachel Knowles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a straightforward biography of Jane Austen, from her early days in Steventon, through the years in Bath, Southampton and Chawton, to her death in Winchester. I found it readable and comprehensive and liked the inclusion of original quotes from Austen's letters, though I was disappointed that these were not better referenced.
Mary Narkiewicz
Jan 28, 2016 Mary Narkiewicz rated it really liked it
fabulous book that makes Jane's life feel a little bit closer.. David Cecil gives us the social mores, the images of houses - large and small, the class system tidbits.. Jane would have been in the gentry class..so she could mix even with aristocracy.. Her mother was connected to aristocrats.. etc.etc.

Virtuella
Nov 22, 2015 Virtuella rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. Most of the content was already known to me, but the author managed to present it in a vivid, engaging style and in particular succeeded in bringing the many members of the Austen family into clearer focus.
Joanna Humpherys
Mar 28, 2008 Joanna Humpherys rated it liked it
This was interesting to get to know more about one of my favorite authors. I learned a lot about the time she lived - what was going on in England at the time, the customary ideas & such of Jane Austen's time.
Jo
Jun 15, 2008 Jo rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
After seeing the movie Becomming Jane, I had a desire to read her biography. The tragedy of the 19th century mores made her sister burn a large part of their correspondance. It is so frustrating that we don't have the truth about Jane in those years that are missing!
Dianne
Feb 10, 2012 Dianne rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book for insight into the life of Jane Austen. Using her letters and family members' letters you can see her sense of humor, intellect, and views on life around her. Very enjoyable.
amy
Apr 05, 2010 amy rated it it was ok
informative but a bit dry. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot of actual information available about Jane because she was so private. I learned alot about the time period & history which was interesting.
Niki
Jun 26, 2011 Niki rated it it was ok
Shelves: all-things-p-p
i'm not a huge fan of biographies, even good ones so this wasn't that exciting to me. well written and the illustrations are amazing!
Julie
Jun 13, 2009 Julie added it
One of my favorite authors, and a book I hadn't yet read. I bought it in England, and visited Jane's grave in Winchester Cathedral.
Fémi Peters
Une très bonne biographie, qui se lit comme un roman, sur un des mes auteurs de prédilection. A recommander à tous les "austeniens"!
MyBookAffair
MyBookAffair rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2011
Carol D
Carol D rated it it was ok
Jul 22, 2012
Ketu
Ketu rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2015
Susan Baker
Apr 15, 2015 Susan Baker rated it it was amazing
Dry but good information and lovely photos, sketches, and letters.
Daisy
Daisy rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2012
Mariana
Mariana rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2013
Barbara Macdonough
Barbara Macdonough rated it it was amazing
Apr 28, 2016
Louisa Mac
Louisa Mac rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2014
Rumeysa Temel
Rumeysa Temel rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2016
Sophia Carleton
Sophia Carleton rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2014
Margaret
Margaret rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2017
Sena
Sena rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2007
Rod
Rod rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
  • A Fine Brush on Ivory: An Appreciation of Jane Austen
  • Jane Austen: Her Life
  • The World of Jane Austen
  • The Perpetual Curate (Chronicles of Carlingford, #4)
  • Jane Austen's Letters
  • Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World
  • A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections
  • In the Garden with Jane Austen
  • Jane Austen For Dummies
  • Cassandra and Jane
  • Searching for Jane Austen
  • Why Jane Austen?
  • Emma Watson
  • Drive and Determination
  • Jane Austen and Food
  • Shakespeare's Philosophy: Discovering the Meaning Behind the Plays
  • Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels

Share This Book