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Jane Austen (Christian Encounters Series)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she woul
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Thomas Nelson
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Feb 27, 2016 Milka rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
I was so happy when I noticed that Thomas Nelson had published this book and that it was available for the booksneeze reviewers. For years I've been Austen addict and I knew that this book would be perfect addition to my collection.

This book, like many Austen biographies, included the basic stuff: her childhood, stories of her family, her process of writing and her death. What I liked about this book where the little details. I love trivia information and this book provided it a lot for me. I li
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Nov 11, 2010 Meredith (Austenesque Reviews) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-austen
The Christian Encounters Series is a collection of biographies that focus on the religious aspects in the lives of historical figures. Some of these important individuals are known and for their religious beliefs and acts, while others are not. The one trait all these historical figures have in common is that they were all Christians. These biographies are packaged in a petite yet pleasing volume, around two hundred pages in length, and are complete with appendixes and endnotes. Published by ...more
Gwen Burrow
Jun 16, 2010 Gwen Burrow rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Quite as delightful as reading Austen herself.
Jesse Broussard
Aug 02, 2011 Jesse Broussard rated it really liked it
This was fascinating, and in some ways kind of an expose. I'm actually quite delighted by the fact that the far-inferior Bronte's really didn't like Austen at all. Especially as I know several people that always mix up who wrote what, which is simply inconceivable to me. It's like asking who wrote King Lear: Edward de Vere as Shakespeare or Stephanie Meyer.

What I chiefly had not known was the depth of her religious conviction. If you read the books, you get glimpses of it. Very little of that su
David Alexander
Nov 30, 2014 David Alexander rated it it was amazing
(Drawing from the book) Two remarks about Jane Austen. Her novels contain penetrating, often humorous observations about the differences between men and women. In our time gender differences, despite John Gray, etc., are being suppressed and slighted in pursuit of an equality of interchangeable function and a disembodied sexuality. Given this state of affairs, her analyses in her artful portrayals seem just what the doctor ordered. G.K. Chesterton commended Austen for being able to do what ...more
Valerie Kyriosity
Aug 18, 2011 Valerie Kyriosity rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable intro to Jane's life. Whetted my appetite for more, which was why the lack of a recommended bibliography was disappointing. But my upcoming natal autoendowment shall at least include the unfinished novels and the juvenalia, my reading of which is long overdue.

Some of my favorite bits:

I loved the comparison of Jane and Flannery, two spinster authoresses who died young, leaving behind smaller bodies of work than their aficionados would prefer, who were vastly different in style,
Aug 27, 2010 Sherrah rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I’ve long been a fan of Jane Austen’s books, but even after reading them and after taking a class on them, I knew relatively little about Austen herself. The Christian Encounters biography of Jane Austen by Peter Leithart was a great tool for changing that.

Leithart supplements his biography with letters by Austen and her friends and family, which adds a wonderfully personal touch. To hear her story through her own words and through the words of those who loved her allows the reader great insight
May 10, 2010 Laurel rated it really liked it
A compact view of "Jenny Austen's" life through a Christian lense

There are several biographies in print on Jane Austen (1775-1817) revealing her life, family and her inspiration to become a writer. Two very famous books come to mind: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin (1998) and oddly the same title published in the same year by David Nokes. Both books were extensively researched and are quite lengthy. This new slim volume by Austen scholar Dr. Peter Leithart runs 153 pages and fills an entir
Timothy Stone
Feb 02, 2014 Timothy Stone rated it it was amazing
Almost everyone has heard of Jane Austen, and many have read her works. Very few people, however, have even the slightest clue as to who this woman really was. What was her personality, or her worldview? How did she relate to friends and family? What influenced her in her acutely realistic writing?

The truth is that most people do not have much of an idea. Jane Austen has been distorted and twisted into a popular myth so much so that the real Jane Austen is largely unknown, despite her books bei
Sep 13, 2016 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: leithart
Serviceable, but I think it could have been far more interesting. I liked his Dostoevksy biography better, but I think he's right to judge that she was a genuine Christian. Still, he comes across as slightly defensive and I wish he could have pointed to the more theological parts of her letters, particularly against Evangelicals. It did not feel developed.

Also, I think Austen is a little over-rated and I think all of her books show flaws so, for want of a better forum to do so I will offer a few
Rosanne Lortz
Sep 06, 2010 Rosanne Lortz rated it really liked it
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has been all the rage for quite some time. Her books have surged in popularity, and many “continuations” or copy-cat novels have surfaced trying to imitate the esteemed Austen canon. The speculation regarding Jane Austen’s life has ranged as far afield as the interpretations of her novels. Films like Becoming Jane depict Jane as a romantic heroine, much more of a Marianne than an Elinor, only able to write about what she has experienced ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Lois rated it it was amazing
In this theologically grounded non-fiction approach to one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century, Leithart reveals his appreciation of the mastery of the drawing room milieu by this pre-eminent literary historian of manners. Her insight into her characters was remarkable for the times in which she lived. So universal are they that they live on till this day, featured in countless television and film remakes, prequels and sequels. In his introduction to Christian Encounters: Jane ...more
Jul 08, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: biography

Biography is not my favorite form of literature. I have read few biographies and am not thrilled at the prospect of reading any in the future. The works of Jane Austen, however, are some of my favorite in all the world. So when my wife gave me this little book I decided to give it a try, and I am happy to report that it was, for the most part, a success. Leithart’s biography of Austen is an informative and enjoyable look at the life and letters of the great author. It contains all that I imagine
Sep 21, 2016 Courtney rated it really liked it
I was rather surprised to discover that this was, instead of a detailed exploration of Jane Austen's spiritual life, a brief overview of a biography that only occasionally and briefly touched on the Christianity of the author. That said, it is a very insightful take on the "Divine Jane," and does a great deal to reconcile the hagiographies of her relatives and friends with the proto-feminist depictions promulgated by 20th and 21st Century scholars, getting the reader a little nearer the woman ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Although a cute little pocket size paperback and a charming etching of Jane on the cover, beneath the cover lies a scholarly piece of work by Peter Leithart. If you are looking for a cursory and light read, you need to look elsewhere.

Leithart has "pieced together this infinite life from the very finite shards and fragments people have left behind." The first hand accounts via personal letters to and from Jane Austen help Leithart to shape her into a real person for the reader.

We know through the
Jun 06, 2010 Sandra rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
Thomas Nelson now has a new series of biographies called Christian Encounters. These compact books tell of the experiences, trials and adventures of people from different ages and areas of the Church. I chose to read the story of Jane Austen.
The author, Peter Leithart, begins by telling of world events that were occurring during Austen's life then proceeds to tell of her family and the importance of faith in Jane's life. The author obviously did a lot of research for this book and relied upon Au
May 25, 2010 Zachariah rated it it was ok
I liked Austen; I thought the book was okay. I like the size of the book--small books I dig.

I have not read any other Austen biographies, but it seemed mostly fair and balanced.

I got tired of the suppositions. There is too much: we could suppose this. Or probably that. Or maybe this. Because here are very little resources available about Austen's life, to some extent it is not the authors fault. But it feels rather poorly done. The inferences of Austen's character and intentions based on small o
Mar 02, 2010 Rebornbutterfly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
Thomas Nelson has just published their first collection of what they call "Christian Encounters" The first collection of these neat little biographies are on John Bunyan, St. Patrick, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and my favorite, Jane Austen!

I Admit, I've read a lot of books about Jane Austen, about her country, about her times, about her influences and about her family and even "Jane Austen for Dummies"! Some are are dry, and seem to be just facts, others tend to go off the deep end and ela
Clockstein Lockstein
May 16, 2010 Clockstein Lockstein rated it really liked it
Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart is the newest edition in a terrific series about famous Christians in history. I am a big Austen fan, but I've never read any of her biographies. Although she's been dead for nearly two hundred years, her popularity continues to grow with the constant updates of movies based on her popular novels, as well as in novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Creatures. Jane's image has undergone several ...more
May 14, 2011 ladydusk rated it it was ok

I was extremely disappointed by this book. The information was good and interesting, but the writing and flow were choppy and confusing. Paragraphs giving synopsis of Austen's major works were thrown in willy-nilly; the different people involved in her life were difficult to keep track of ... especially when last names were purposely left off (a family tree would have been more helpful than a list of people); and, finally, unlike Dr. Leithart's other work pronouns were not always clear who t
Timothy D. Billingsley
Nov 01, 2010 Timothy D. Billingsley rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Perhaps my only complaint about the book is Leithart's description of housekeeping as "drudgery". Leave it to a Protestant theologian to reduce those most ancient and Holy of duties, raising children and keeping a home, to drudgery. And that is the triumph of the Priest over the pastor: one simply cannot imagine a Priest referring to such honorable work as drudgery: the Priest knows better. Leithart seems to suggest that we might have lost the witty, acerbic Jane Austen if she would have become ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Cami rated it it was ok
I picked up this book without knowing much about Jane Austen. I have read Persuasion and loved it and hope to read more of her books someday. I've seen some of the movie adaptations of her books and loved them. I also watched Becoming Jane. Up to this point, most of the knowledge that I gained about Jane Austen had been mainly through "Hollywood's" perspective. I was pleasantly surprised in reading this book; the author, Peter Leithart, brings to light a more realistic look at Jane's life by ...more
Shannon McGee
Jun 28, 2013 Shannon McGee rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I received this biography on Jane Austen before I read Pride & Prejudice, which I did not like. I kind of wish I had read this first because I had no idea that the book was somewhat a satire of the time Austen lived in. She was well known by family and friends to have a delightful sense of humor. She began writing early in life and was from a family who loved to read which probably led to her love of telling stories. Her work was not published until her 30’s but she always kept tweaking it.

Jun 01, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it
Quick and enjoyable read on the life of Jane Austen, or Jenny as she was known. Peter Leithart did a wonderful job in describing her life and personality. I connected with Jane on a level that I wouldn't before have thought possible given the space and time that separate our lives. The fact that she laughed her way through life was evident throughout the course of this book. By far my favorite lines were those contained in the closing paragraph:

Dante wrote out of frustrated love and a conviction
Adam Ross
Jun 21, 2010 Adam Ross rated it really liked it
A really fantastic biography of Jane Austen's life. Informative and, like all of Leithart's books, deeply engaging. He gives us a picture of the real Austen - not the candy-coated modern feminist as many would have her, and not as the Victorian weakling, but as an extremely strong-willed but deeply feminine woman of great depth and passion and humor. He shows how many of the movie versions of Austen tend to miss the whole point; they focus on the Victorian furniture, the clothes and social rules ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Tracie rated it really liked it
Leithart's book is a wonderful read--and gives a new perspective on Jane (or Jenny, as she was known to her family and friends). It is common knowledge that her family, who wanted to create/preserve this pristine, domestic, and uber-Victorian image, destroyed many of her letters and proceeded to "sanitize" her image. As though one who was so gifted in satire and wit couldn't possibly be a serious Anglican, with sympathies to the clerics, and had a few flirtations in her time! This Jane is one ...more
Coral Rose
May 10, 2010 Coral Rose rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I enjoyed this biography. It was bright and light, just like the author herself. He gave a good selection of her correspondence, a touching picture of her relationships with her siblings and nieces and nephews and shed some light on her true personality. I liked that he didn't turn her into the saint her brother seemed to wish her to be, but allowed that her humor was somewhat juvenile. Maybe I liked that because I myself wrote gothic-like novellas as a child, with murders and girls dressed as ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Will rated it it was amazing
Part of me can not even believe I am recommending anything associated with Austen. Yet, here I am giving the highest rating to a biography of her life. Leithart is an excellent writer and does a fine job engaging both his subject and his readers. But (and I here I go saying things I never thought I would say) it isn't the book that I like. The more I read Leithart's take on Austen, the more I found Jane interesting. So interesting in fact that I plan on reading Pride and Prejudice. There I said ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Austen is like Calvin when it comes to trying to find a decent biography of them. It's rare to find a biography that actually them; their Character and personality without just being not a long thesis on their work, their influence or how awesome they are.

Leithart gives us the rare exception here. This bio truly depicts Jane Austen as a person and does so in a way that I can imagine her laughing and singing and sinning. It's even written in imitation of her style, which was delightful. Highly re
Apr 13, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok
Recommended to Liz by: Anahlise
Good info in a nice short form. However I didn't appreciate the narrative voice. Came across as having sole insight into Jane's personality and thoughts. I would probably be tempted to write that way, most people I know would. Which I'm sure is why I found it so distracting and irritating! If he stopped pontificating on why no one but himself knows Jane and added more story (it often reads like an essay, gets all the facts in but terribly dry) then this could be an informative biography for ...more
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Peter Leithart received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity ...more
More about Peter J. Leithart...

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