The Real Jane Austen Hardcover – 17 Jan 2013
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‘Brilliantly illuminating … Its great merit is … by focusing on one thread or another of Austen's experience, Byrne allow us to grasp the richness of Austen's inner life’ Guardian
‘Perceptive and energetic’ Sunday Telegraph
‘A neat approach to biography, allowing Byrne to burrow deep beneath the surface of Austen’s existence. The result is a delightful and engrossing portrait’ Sunday Times
‘Byrne's essays add up to a fine appraisal of the novelist's environment, truly Austenish in the way they burrow into a sequestered and often secretive private world’ Observer
‘A perceptive and energetic guide to Austen and her surroundings … Byrne’s critical study consists of a series of beautifully written, interrelated essays … [her] style gives fresh charms to her subject matter. ‘The Real Jane Austen’ is bold, fast-moving and accessible’ Daily Telegraph
‘Engaging, compelling, a delightful and engrossing book. Of course we all know that the "real" Jane Austen will forever be a mystery, but most 21st century Janeites will adore this one. Byrne's passion is nothing if not persuasive’ Sunday Times
‘What is fresh in Byrne's biographical approach is her use of a succession of contemporary objects that Austen owned, or that might be seen in intimate connection with her interests … this adds an attractive immediacy to a well-known story … Byrne's affectionate study paints a pleasingly lively picture of Austen's life’ Independent
‘Brilliantly illuminating … riveting. By focusing, chapter by chapter, on one thread or another of Austen's experience, Byrne allows us to grasp the richness of her inner life’ Simon Callow, Guardian
‘The portrait of Austen that emerges is sparklingly multi-faceted, catching the light in intriguing ways … her Jane is far less likely to go for a quiet walk in the garden than she is to be whisked into town in search of a velvet cushion, a necklace or a smart new dress’ Irish Mail on Sunday
From the Back Cover
Acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of one of the most beloved novelists in the English language: her father's religious faith; her mother's aristocratic pedigree; her eldest brother's adoption; her relatives in the East and West Indies; the family's amateur theatricals; and her determination throughout her long struggle to become a published author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture. Like a superb archaeologist, Byrne uses artifacts from Jane Austen's life to craft a vivid and more complex portrait of the writer than we have ever seen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Byrne's USP is to turn the magnifier on some "real" - that is, solid - fragments that remain to this day, surviving relics worshipped by the faithful. Among them are Austen's portable writing-desk (her "laptop"), the topaz crosses that Charles Austen bought for Jane and Cassandra from his prize-money, and "Volume the Second" of Austen's juvenalia. Byrne builds on these and other objects to give us essays on Austen's writing habits, family relationships, and social attitudes. This is an interesting technique, especially as the book includes very good colour photographs of all the objects mentioned.
Some of said objects are a bit remote from Austen. A wonderful Zoffany portrait of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield's daughter is there to introduce the "colonialist" reading of Mansfield Park - making it a novel about slavery - which Patricia Rozema made famous in her 1999 film. Lord Mansfield's appeal court judgement released any slave who set foot in England; Jane Austen met his daughter at a Godmersham dinner party (years after both the portrait and the judgement); therefore Mansfield Park is named for Mansfield and is all about slavery.Read more ›
If you have never read a biography of Austen before, you may find this one jumps around a little, but it is a delightful read. If you have read many books about Jane Austen, you will still enjoy this book - and maybe even learn something new. With so many books about Austen on the market, it is a good attempt to try an original approach to this ever fascinating author, who was intelligent, witty and always realistic. Within this book you will read of her deep disquiet about the dangers of pregnancy, her religious faith and her wonderfully sharp and witty humour. Jane Austen never disappoints as a writer, or as a woman, and this is a fitting tribute to her genius.
My only small criticism is of the dustjacket to this hardback edition - while very pretty in its way it looks like the wrapper for a lightweight chick-lit novel and bears no relation to the actual content!
I have always loved Jane Austen's novels, but never thought that the woman herself was very interesting. This superb biography has proved me wrong.
This beautiful, exquisite book is a delight to behold and is something that many an adoring fan of Jane Austen will treasure for all-time. This landmark biography reveals the woman behind her works, by painting a vivid picture of this iconic writer whose entire person has altered and defined our lives (for I cannot think of anyone who has not herd of Austen?!).
In this new biography, bestselling author Paula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of Britain's most beloved novelist: her father's religious faith, her mother's aristocratic pedigree, her eldest brother's adoption, 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, the family's amateur theatricals, the female novelists she admired, her residence in Bath, her love of the seaside, her travels around England and her long struggle to become a published author.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent companion to the life and works of Jane Austen! Very well researched and an easy read.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
A brilliantly written book interweaving the life of Jane Austen and the social and political history of Georgian England. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Rosemary Bailey
Bought this partly because of her superb Waugh biography 'Mad World' and this book lived up to my explanations. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephen Bishop
Very amusing and full of detail. A thoroughly good read.Published 11 months ago by Marguerite de Woeps