Jane Austen: A Life

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 400 pages
8 Reviews

At her death in 1817, Jane Austen left the world six of the most beloved novels written in English—but her shortsighted family destroyed the bulk of her letters; and if she kept any diaries, they did not survive her.  Now acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin, author of A Life of My Own, has filled the gaps in the record, creating a remarkably fresh and convincing portrait of the woman and the writer. 

While most Austen biographers have accepted the assertion of Jane's brother Henry that "My dear Sister's life was not a life of events," Tomalin shows that, on the contrary, Austen's brief life was fraught with upheaval.  Tomalin provides detailed and absorbing accounts of Austen's ill-fated love for a young Irishman, her frequent travels and extended visits to London, her close friendship with a worldly cousin whose French husband met his death on the guillotine, her brothers' naval service in the Napoleonic wars and in the colonies, and thus shatters the myth of Jane Austen as a sheltered and homebound spinster whose knowledge of the world was limited to the view from a Hampshire village. 

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

One of the Jacket blurbs describes this as a “page turner”. I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly an excellent book and well worth reading. Biography Claire Tomalin is handicapped by the paucity ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NadineC.Keels - LibraryThing

Bravo to the biographer--no doubt this was a challenging account to put together, especially in light of so many of Jane Austen's letters being destroyed. As an Austen fan, I could have read on for a ... Read full review

Contents

Travels with My Mother
Three Books
Twentyfive
Manydown
Brotherly Love
A Death in the Family
At Chawton
Inside Mansfield Park

Bad Behaviour
Weddings And Funerals
Neighbours
Dancing
The Doll And the Poker
A Letter
Defence Systems
Friends in East Kent
22Dedication
The Sorceress
College Street
Postscript
A NOTE ON JANE AUSTENS LAST ILLNESS
AN AFRICAN STORY FROM FANNY AUSTENS POCKET BOOK 1809 WITHA NOTE ONATTITUDES TO SLAVERY Notes
Short Bibliography
About the Author

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About the author (2007)

Claire Tomalin is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. She has previously won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Hawthornden Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Whitbread Biography Award. Educated at Cambridge University, she served as literary editor of the New Statesman and The Sunday Times. Claire Tomalin lives in London and is married to the playwright Michael Frayn.

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