The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key momen ...more
In this engaging and scholarly biography of Jane Austen, Paula Byrne successfully dispels many of the myths swirling around her subject. According to Byrne, Miss Austen was a well-traveled, urbane sophisticate who demonstrated a vibrant interest, not just in literature - both classical and contemporary - but in politics, theology and the theater. Byrne identifies objects and relationships that were familiar to Austen and uses them to illuminate important aspects of Austen's personal life and con ...more
Byrne has chosen to focus on a series of objects that belonged to Jane Austen or touched her life in some way, ranging from a l ...more
Reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘Northanger Abbey’ from a young age are some of my fondest memories, as my childhood, teenage years and adulthood have been interlaced with Austen’s elegance, erudition and perception on romance. Her stories (read in books and watched on film in numerous adaptations) are as dear to me as history itself, for they speak of truth and are ...more
Even so, I would never suggest Paula Byrnes book to someone who had not read at least one conventional biography of Jane Austen beforehand, just to to get a clearer chronological order of events. (See, strictly for an example, Jane Aiken Hodge’s “Only A Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen,” which is from the point of view of an experienced novelist.)
Byrne is at pains to shatter the myth of the lonely spinster never stirring far from home and unaware of the 'bigger picture' of her times. She produces plenty of evidence to show that not only was Austen well travelled, but her wide network ...more
Jane Austin is described. Her novels will feel more real to me now.
I'm glad to have read a biography of one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen, especially one that contains many pieces of her personal writings in the form of letters and journals. The book was clearly well research (and annotated and cited, too) and there was an abundance of tie-ins from Austen's life to the lives of her characters in her books. I don't know why her family said that she did't want people to know she was the author of her books, or that she didn't insert any people she was acqua...more
Written by Paula Byrne.
Reader - Emma Fielding
blurb: In this new biography, best-selling author Paula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of Jane Austen, Britain's most beloved novelist: her father's religious faith, her other brothers' naval and military experiences, her relatives in the East and West Indies, her cousin who lived through the trauma of the French Revolution, her residence in Bath, her love of the seaside, her travels around England and her long struggle to ...more
I can believe that the biographies published by family members may have had their own image that they wanted to present of an author who was on the crest of the wave when she died, but really, dear?
I was pleased to discover I wasn't mistaken in my belief that "Northanger Abbey" may have been the ...more
By focusing on material objects, Byrne is able to dig deeper into life incidents more than most biographers of Austen. We only have slightly more primary docume ...more
From a water colour of Lyme Regis to Jane's vellum notebooks and a royalty cheque, Byrne
follows Austen on her travels, which were more extensive than is often recognised, and it sets her in contex ...more
Instead of going through Jane Austen's life chronologically, Byrne orients her biography around significant objects in Austen's life and relates them to themes in the story of Austen's life and her own fiction.
I really loved the insight into Austen's personality and her conception of herself as an author. I appreciated how Byrne debunked the idea of Jane Austen as this cynical, childless (and bitt ...more
An Indian shawl sparks off an exploration of how Austen wasn't a closed-off, provincial writer. Rather, she had plenty of international connections, and Byrne shows how this is reflected in her work. This portrait, show ...more
Each chapter begins with an object, which Byrne uses as a launching pad to write about a certain aspect or time in Jane Austen’s life. She sets the object not only in its historical context and importance to the Austen family, but also draws connections to Austen’s novels, juvenilia, and the most biographical source, her letters to family and friends. A historical description weaved in with quotations from Austen’s clever writing and Byrne’s own excellent prose makes for a fantastic r ...more
|Miss Jane Austen'...: Reviews of "The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things"||1||6||Jul 11, 2014 10:16PM|