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A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,138 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of his aunt Jane Austen was published in 1870, over fifty years after her death. Together with the shorter recollections of James Edward's two sisters, Anna Lefroy and Caroline Austen, the Memoir remains the prime authority for her life and continues to inform all subsequent accounts. These are family memories, the record of Jane Austen's ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 5th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1869)
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Mr. Austen-Leigh was a nephew of Jane Austen and his account of her life, her memoir, is gracious and flattering, as you would expect from a proud relative. He wrote this from his personal recollections, but he was only 19 when she died and this document was written over 50 years after her death. So his depth of material was somewhat limited and he even states in the first chapter, "Of events, her life was singularly barren: few changes and no great crisis ever broke the smooth current of it's c ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This is a pompous, saccharine, Victorian memoir of Jane Austen by her clergyman nephew Mr. Collins James Edward Austen-Leigh. Unfortunately, he has decided to promote her as the ideal Victorian spinster, who never did a wrong thing in her life. He claims the family were "never troubled by disagreements", which if you've read Jane Austen's Letters by Deirdre Le Faye (editor) you know that this is clearly not the case. Jane wrote in one of her letters to her niece that "Pictures of perfection, as ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Cette biographie de Jane Austen, écrite par son neveu, est très connue dans le monde austenien mais n'avait encore jamais été traduite en français et pour cela il faut remercier les Éditions Bartillat. Elle est également connue pour ne pas être extrêmement fidèle, lissant la personnalité de Jane Austen pour la faire paraître comme une vieille tante affectueuse et éminemment respectable, par pudeur je suppose. Et en effet, dès les premières pages, à travers le style pompeux et légèrement co
This book isn't important or even interesting because of the words in it. What makes this book important are the words that are deliberately left out, cut from a picture that didn't fit.

This is a memoir of Jane Austen written by her own family. It was written because the Austen-family feared that if they didn't write it, someone else would. It is written in the vain hope of securing a fitting image of a prestigious author – even if it means reshaping the actual image.

And in fact, James Edward A
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The primary work in this valuable collection is the "Memoir" by James Edward Austen-Leigh--a nephew of the great author. Though it was written decades after the death of Jane Austen, it remains an immensely valuable first-hand source. It is not a biography in the modern sense at all; rather it is a recollection culled from various family sources emphasizing the genuine love Jane Austen inspired in those who were intimately acquainted with her.

There can be no doubt but that this book recalls a v
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is quite a charming account of Jane Austen's life, written years after her death by her nephew, assisted by two of his sisters. It's diffident, and gently affectionate; noticeably careful in what it says, but not descending into hagiography. By her nephew's account Jane was a much-loved daughter, sister and aunt, warm-hearted and certainly witty, but not someone who would stand out in a crowd. "... she was to be distinguished from many other amiable and sensible women only by that peculiar ...more
Vania Prodanova
Винаги съм искала да прочета повече за живота на Джейн Остин и да си призная очаквах дисекция на цялата налична информация за нея в тази книжка. Оказа се обаче една много ретро и напълно в стил Джейн Остин биография, написана от нейн племенник.

Книжката не разкрива почти нищо за авторката на "Гордост и предрасъдъци", но с онзи учтив и изтънчено-елегантен изказ, характерен за нейното време, ти се дава общ поглед върху нейното творчество, мнението и мястото й като писател в онази епоха и даже отпа
Interesting and enjoyable, particularly where he quotes from her letters and other papers. My favourite section was the hilarious plot outline of a book which was found among her papers, which she had written out for her own amusement. It was based on all the good advice she received from various people as to the sort of book she should write next, with the names of those making suggestions written beside each plot point. It was reminiscent of some of her very funny juvenilia, with dramas and di ...more
Sherwood Smith
I avoided reading this for the longest time, assuming it would be content-free hagiography. Was I wrong! Though it is very much late Victorian in tone, it's the crispy, slightly ironic but altogether compassionate view that one sometimes sees in those whose lives spanned most of the 1800s.

Read in conjunction with Deirdre Le Faye's edition of the Letters, it is an especial treat.

REREAD: I especially appreciated the reminiscences about life in Steventon and at Chawton. And the fact that Jane enter
Kristin Davison
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austen, history
This is an interesting little book that gives you a big insight into who Jane Austen was as a person. The descriptions of her appearance, beliefs and achievements help you to understand her better and make you feel as if you knew her.
It's very apparent that her character allowed her to be 'the most astute observer of the human heart'.
It's also interesting to see which parts of her life appear in her books, as you go along you can work out what inspired her to write certain people and to put ce
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Pride And Prejudice has one of the finest openings in English Literature - “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” What I liked best about this book was that a great deal of it was devoted to the corollary, a single man’s want of a good fortune, in the case of Jane Austen’s male relatives, and the means they adopted to get one; including an exhaustive (and exhausting) catalog of her male relatives’ connections.

Sara La porta
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
scoglio iniziale a parte, va via liscio; grazie al nipote per questo ricordo!
Mah, da una parte non si può pretendere che sia diverso da ciò che è, una sorta di agiografia diminutiva che si preoccupa di far notare le virtù religiose e le qualità di piegatrice di lettere (prima che esistessero le buste adesive!!), dall'altra è insopportabile, restituisce una Jane Austen veramente tame ed è in sostanza molto, molto noioso, soprattutto considerando il fatto che esistono tanti libri sulla vita della Nostra che possono dare queste informazioni e molte altre e che sono scritti ...more
My Austen in August quest to read more about Jane Austen's life begins with the first 'official' biography. Written in the late Victorian period, more than fifty years after she died, A Memoir of Jane Austen is offered to readers as a kind of 'family record' of the author. Austen's nephew, J.E. Austen-Leigh, was responsible for compiling family histories and records into a coherent account of her life.

It's no secret that A Memoir of Jane Austen is a flawed account, and deeply unsatisfying for A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valerie Kyriosity
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I enjoyed getting to know Jane a little better. I have a vague recollection of hearing Austen-Leigh's account called too affectionate, and therefore not entirely reliable, but I'm rather of the opinion that love is the best truth-teller not in spite of the absence of critical eye, but because of it. Hence I am happy to believe every superlative ascribed by a fond nephew to his aunt. How nice it would be to deserve such a description myself. As it is, while a part of me dearly wishes I might have ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those who choose this book hoping for a straightforward, in depth memoir/biography of Jane Austen will likely be disappointed. However, those who are interested in how the life story of a person is constructed for public consumption by biographers (in this case, family members/descendants of Jane Austen) will be fascinated.

Here is presented James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of his aunt alongside many of the memories/family stories provided to him by relatives for the purpose of writing said Me
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ontem terminei de ler Memórias de Jane Austen e fiquei por muito tempo pensando a seu respeito. Ela era uma mulher realmente incrível. Bem resolvida para as mulheres de sua época. Aceitou e viveu feliz com as escolhas que fez para sua vida. Viveu reclusa do mundo literário e escrevia de forma "amadora". Não conviveu com outros escritores, não teve seu talento "lapidado" pelos editores. Escrevia com a alma e o coração (não é surpresa para ninguém!!!). Seu sobrinho chega a comentar que não lembra ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Written by her nephew, this biography provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of Jane Austen. In addition to personal and family memories, there are excerpts from her correspondence, as well as a previously unpublished chapter from Persuasion, which she had discarded and replaced. There is also some description of her physical appearance, as well as her personality, something I haven't come across before.
I didn't find it a very easy read, as the language is somewhat old fashioned and there
Janine Zachariae
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning I thought: oh, you didn't know her at all and you just write it because it was your aunt and you just want your piece of cake from her success.
He wrote about the food, furnitures, some family histories - about a gran-gran-something.
But thanks, it ended and he took letters from Miss Austen in it, background stuff of her stories and the two chapters in persuation which she just changed.
And how she died. All in all it was good written, some new informations and the best of it: her
Payal Niharika
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book gives good insight into Miss Austen's life, her personality and her career. Laced with her letters and her manuscripts, this book sets out to satiate all those souls who have been scourging the internet to find out more about their favourite author. Mr. Austen-Leigh also shows us how the society was like in the 18th century, and has appropriately prosed and structured the book. The flair for writing certainly runs in the family!!! :)
Recommended for all the Janeites! :)
I enjoyed it because I enjoy learning about Jane Austen. It was a bit slow but it only goes to show that Jane Austen lived a normal, quiet life surrounded by a loving family. I appreciated her nephew's discretion and honesty when it came to his memories of his aunt.
Margaret Sullivan
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This particular edition of the Memoir (the Oxford Classics edition ed. by Kathryn Sutherland) is great because of the notes and extra material included. It puts a lot of the Memoir in context. I know this book is a bit fraught for some Austen scholars and fans because it whitewashes Austen to an extent, but I still consider it interesting and valuable, and remember that Austen-Leigh did what he did from love for his aunt. He wanted to do his best by her.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Written by a relative about 50 years after her death, it is a memoir. I read it because it will be covered at BYU Education Week this August, and I want to be more prepared to learn and understand than years past.

This first time through was an audiobook from the city library. I will also read the text before August.
Warmisunqu Austen
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reseñas

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Esta primera biografía ha sido llamada la fuente primaria de todos los escritos biográficos posteriores, de ahí mi interés en mirar otras biografías, porque la verdad sea dicha, me ha dejado un poco decepcionada debido a la poca profundidad sobre Jane Austen. Y el mismo autor lo menciona, debido al escasísimo material físico que había de ella.

Hubo una primera edición publicada del autor en 1870, al año siguiente se publicó una se
Allegra Byron
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No tiene mucho valor literario, ya que creo que casi todos los genes escritores se los llevó su tía Jane, pero es una joya histórica sobre la grandiosa Jane y su entorno y época.
I read this memoir with great interest because, well, I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, and because this is my first biography of hers. Also, the author is related to Austen. James Edward Austen-Leigh is one of Jane's nephews. He is the son of James Austen, Jane's eldest brother.

Basically, this book is about his recollections of his aunt.

Here are some of the things I learned:

1. Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775;
2. Her father, George, was a clergyman. Her mother, Cassandra, came from a gentr
A Memoir of Jane Austen was re-published in 1871, originally published in 1869. The re-published edition included two of her unfinished stories, Lady Susan and Sandition. A Memoir of Jane Austen was written by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh. His memories of aunt Jane was when he was a young boy. He mentioned in this memoir that "he was the youngest at her funeral." He remembers Jane as being "sweet-tempered, loving-heart, kind, sympathizing, amusing," she made an impression on him as well ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Folio Society edition, 1989, that I have read, which does also contain the 1926 Introduction by R.W. Chapman as well as the Folio Introduction by Fay Weldon, and the suppressed chapter from PERSUASION, is a wonderful peek at Jane Austen. Written by her nephew fifty-two years after her death and just in time. The family who knew her were getting old themselves.

James Edward Austen-Leigh (J.E.A.-L.) was a young boy when she died but remembered her, as did all her nieces and nephews, as wonderf
Inazyelia Pramaboyu
It's very nice to know more of my dear Miss Austen.
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