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Jane Austen: A Biography
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Jane Austen: A Biography

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews

Who was the person behind Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and the other unforgettable novels whose characters faced the challenges in the world of country gentry in Regency England? Austen comes alive in this perceptive biography portraying the writer to be a human being with her own interests, hopes and foibles.

Paperback, 287 pages
Published August 14th 1986 by Gollancz (first published 1938)
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Jun 21, 2016 Taylor rated it really liked it
Jenkins's approach to Jane Austen and her life is done much in the style of Jane Austen herself (or classical writing, whichever you choose).

This book is great in that the writing is descriptive and engaging and provides the readers with wonderfully full accounts of all of Austen's works that one feels they have reread her stories and fallen in love with them all over again. That being said, this is also a very, very biased account of Jane Austen and her work. Jenkins decided to express her opi
Jun 21, 2016 Marvel rated it liked it
I liked this biography of a favorite author of mine. She wan't only a great writer - but she was just a really good human being! Interesting family life.
May 18, 2011 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not sure this is the version I read. It was part of an audiobook collection of Austen's works, so this may be a different edition. Anyway, it was short, and gave some interesting insight into Austen as an author. She's pretty awesome. Not that she had an extraordinary life or anything, but she just seems like a pleasant person, and you've got to love her wit. I find it very sad that neither she nor her sister married, since they were both nice and pretty. I'm very grateful that we're past th ...more
Kelly M
Oct 31, 2013 Kelly M rated it liked it
Nothing special about it but it is a quick read and interesting if you like Jane Austen. Its failing is that it maintains that British reserve towards its subject so that even though the author uses Austen's and family members' own letters as source material, you still don't feel like you are getting to know the famous novelist too intimately.
I like that it's short but detailed. Quite interesting. Not fantastic but a good read. I'd recommend it if, like me, you're not really a non-fiction person and are after a short biography to read. Read this on audio through the Overdrive elibrary.
Sep 18, 2011 Lynne rated it it was amazing
I found this in a library sale and read it this summer. Refreshingly lucid and able to convey the writer as a person, her mind, experience, family, and values, without adding a lot of lurid speculation. Biography seems to have been saner back in 1938.
Gratia Léger
Very simple and brief biography. A few inaccuracies that this non-expert Austen lover noticed.
The audio version has lovely period music in between sections, which makes it sound like the audio track for a PBS documentary. Not that that's bad--but it IS an indication of what to expect.
Dec 27, 2015 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read, biography
I was expecting more about Jane and less about her siblings and cousins. It was *okay* but not the captivating tale about the author that I had hoped it would be. It was interesting from a historical/period perspective. I've rounded my 2.5 rating down to a 2.
Lisa Houlihan
May 07, 2013 Lisa Houlihan marked it as abandoned
So dull that even I, who read Austen sequels by the tumbrel, proving I am rapacious and without taste, had no interest in it.
Jan 20, 2011 Chiuho rated it liked it
It was very nice to know more about Jane Austen. I enjoyed listening to it. It offered a window see Ms. Austen's life, though it's not as intimate as I would like, but it was great.
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From Elizabeth Jenkins' obituary in The New York Times:

As a novelist, Ms. Jenkins was best known for “The Tortoise and the Hare” (1954), the story of a disintegrating marriage between a barrister and his desperate wife that Hilary Mantel, writing in The Sunday Times of London in 1993, called “as smooth and seductive as a bowl of cream.” Its author, Ms. Mantel wrote, “seems to know a good deal abou
More about Elizabeth Jenkins...

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