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Jane Austen

(Christian Encounters Series)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  58 reviews

In this Christian Encounter Series biography, author Peter J. Leithart explores the life of Jane Austen, beloved author of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Emma. 

Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity.

Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. Kipling and
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Thomas Nelson
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  200 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Mar 14, 2010 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
G.M. Burrow
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Quite as delightful as reading Austen herself.
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Jul 07, 2010 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 Tho ...more
Feb 01, 2010 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
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a Christmas gift I received a few years ago. It got lost from sight and memory not long after the holidays ended, but fortunately resurfaced when I moved last year. Given the title, I expected it to talk in depth about Jane Austen's religious views. Instead, it read more like a typical biography that occasionally mentions religion. The language is concise and simple, but well-researched at the same time. I found it especially interesting to compare the information here to the movie ...more
Jesse Broussard
Aug 02, 2011 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 28, 2014 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 neith ...more
Valerie Kyriosity
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
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,
Apr 18, 2010 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
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Biographers of Jane Austen have a difficult task because Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed much of her correspondence. But Peter Leithart endeavors to give us a sense of her in Jane Austen, part of publisher Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounter series. He draws from what letters we do have from her as well as others’ writings and remembrances of her. In his introduction he writes:

In the brief compass of this biography, I have tried to capture the varied sides of Austen’s character. Early biogra
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this theologically grounded nonfiction 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. Jane Austen’s 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 Jane Austen, Leitha ...more
Mallory Mac
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic biography of Jane Austen, which seems to pain a truer picture of her character than others. Using excerpts from her letters and quotes from family members and friends who knew her, the author shows her to be quite like her most famous character, Elizabeth Bennett, in temperament - lively, sharp-witted, and quick to laugh.

The author also speculates on her reasons for writing and discusses the varying reception of her works. He includes several quotes from famous authors - including E.M.
Feb 02, 2014 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
Karina Heng
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The literary world wants to own her story. They’ve largely ignored her faith which this biography has taken the time to explore. More should read it. It gives the true reason why her stories have endured.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good writing not interesting subject

The reading was slightly boring. At the end I just passed the pages. It had some good moments. I would recommend this to hard core Austen fans.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice scope for a biography. I haven't read any other biographies of Jane Austen so it's hard to compare but seems to cover enough of her life to get a good idea of it without dragging on or being too academic. Enjoyed reading this a lot.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
My first look into the life of one of my very favorite fiction authors. I had what the author describes as the typical Victorian view of her which was different than reality. This is a fairly short treatment of her but was interesting and seems to be a good place to dip the toe in.
Sara Whear
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
A short portrait of one of the greatest writers of the 19th century.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There was nothing stellar or amazing about this book, but I was engaged with the story, and did learn quite a bit about Jane Austen. I would recommend it as an easy-to-understand biography on Jane Austen, for people like me who don't know much about her.
Rosanne Lortz
Sep 06, 2010 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 her ...more
Dec 16, 2010 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 A ...more
Sep 13, 2016 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
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
The Real Jane A loving biography of one of my favorite writers.  Well worth the read if you love Jane Austen's work.
Feb 10, 2014 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
Feb 15, 2010 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
Christy Lockstein
Mar 12, 2010 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 incarnation ...more
Mar 31, 2010 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
Jun 06, 2010 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 11, 2011 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 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
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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 Presbyter ...more

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Christian Encounters Series (1 - 10 of 16 books)
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  • Galileo
  • Isaac Newton
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Saint Patrick
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Saint Nicholas
  • Anne Bradstreet  (Christian Encounters Series)
  • John Bunyan  (Christian Encounters Series)
  • D. L. Moody (Christian Encounters Series)

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