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biography
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things
 
 
Author
Paula Byrne.
Publisher Harper  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.15 x 6 x 1.4 inches
ISBN 9780007479764
Pages/Publication Date 380/2013
Daedalus Item Code 41307
This item is not available.
Description
Who was the real Jane Austen—a retiring spinster who confined her novels to the small canvas of village life, or a strong-minded woman who took the bold decision to remain unmarried and fashion herself as a professional writer? The author of Jane Austen and the Theatre, shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize, and Perdita, nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize, as well as the widely applauded Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead, Paula Byrne takes a novel approach in this biography to overturn Austen's fusty image. Through a number of objects familiar to the author—a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box, a royalty cheque, and a bathing machine among them, seen in color photos—Byrne conjures up such key moments of Austen's life as when her handicapped brother was removed from the family, when her exotic cousin Eliza arrives in the family circle, when her aunt was arrested for shoplifting, and her time alone in London. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of "dear aunt Jane."

"Brilliantly illuminating.... 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

"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 (London)

 
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