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Jane Austen: Her Life

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  148 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Drawing on diaries, memoirs, and letters written by members of the Austen family,this sympathetic and probing biography enters the private world of Jane Austen,  revealing experiences and observations she drew upon to write such masterpieces as Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Austen's childhood is recreated, sketching her devot ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 28th 2008 by Little Books (first published January 1st 1987)
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Jul 31, 2015 David rated it liked it
Like Emily Dickinson, details of Jane Austen's life do not seem to have revealed much of who she really was. We can only know from her writing, and that's how it should be for any writer. Who cares if Jane set fire to her older brother (which she did not), for example, or Hemingway cracked John O'Hara's walking cane over poor John's head at the Algonquin (which he did, and maybe that matters)? We have learned to love these authors through their stories. Biographies of authors are essentially gos ...more
Apr 13, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every latent Lizzie Bennet!
Recommended to Emily by: the library shelf
I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but once again I'm relistening to a book-on-tape. I checked out some other books-on-tape from the library after finishing this one, and they ended up being so insipid and flat after the real-as-flesh life of Jane Austen, that I just couldn't return this one to the library, just yet. So, I'm catching more details the second time around, read in a clipped formal British accent.

Besides, Kirstie Lovell just loaned me "Becoming Jane" on DVD last week, and I had to
Feb 23, 2013 Beth added it
Shelves: biography
This book is dense and very scholarly.

Though I love Jane Austen’s novels, her life isn’t fascinating reading. She loved her big family and lived the mostly quiet life expected of an unmarried lady of her time. That’s about it.

The excitement was in the life of the mind and in her very careful attention to her writing, but that is hard to discern, much less write about.

Still I’m glad I read it. It reminded me of all she had to overcome and what a short life she had to write her books.
Mar 17, 2015 Maggie added it
Good writing. Seemed sometimes like conjecture was presented as fact. Had the view that reading aloud was Austen’s version of a writer’s workshop, which is very interesting. And after her death, her family did their best to describe her as loved and lovable in spite of being a writer and a woman prone to books.
Sep 26, 2007 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
As far as Jane Austen Biographies go...this one is okay. Honan is more interested in placing Jane Austen in context with her family and social surroundings and all that was going on around her, than he actually is in her, which is unfortuneate as she is interesting in and of herself.
Jan 05, 2010 Cindy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
I love Jane Austen and wanted to learn more about her. I borrowed this book from my mom, but just could not get into it. I had it for more than a year and finally gave up. I have since read other things about Jane Austen which I liked more.
Jun 28, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok
This book analyzes Austen writing instead of her life. What was in it about her life was good and informative, but I wish they would have kept it to just her life.
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Dec 12, 2012 Jossalyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bought in Jane Austen's house in Chawton, Hampshire.
delightful bio.
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