JANE AUSTEN by Claire Tomalin
A Life.

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   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 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. 

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Claire Tomalin

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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 Book Award, the Hawthornden Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Whitbread Biography Award.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 402 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Austen, writes Tomalin (The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, 1991, etc.), ``has a way of sending biographers away feeling that, as Lord David Cecil put it, she remains `as no doubt she would have wished--not an intimate but an acquaintance.' '' Tomalin does indeed f...

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Publishers Weekly

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Tomalin (The Invisible Woman) solves the problem of preparing yet another biography of Jane Austen (1775-1817), a life of no event, by a familiar formula. At every turn, one meets may have,

Nov 03 1997 | Read Full Review of JANE AUSTEN: A Life.

The Guardian

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Though Carol Shields typically presents this silence as a puzzle, she settles, like Tomalin, for the interpretation that the move was a terrible upheaval, put a temporary end to the writing and led to a period of depression: 'There can be little question that Jane Austen's rather fragile frame ...

Feb 04 2001 | Read Full Review of JANE AUSTEN: A Life.

The Guardian

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Not long before her death, Jane Austen described her writing as being done with a fine brush on a "little bit (not two inches wide) of ivory".

Jul 12 2008 | Read Full Review of JANE AUSTEN: A Life.

London Review of Books

The problem with her suggestion is that Lady Susan is a novel in letters, a form which Jane Austen had already abandoned in converting the epistolary ‘Elinor & Marianne’ into Sense and Sensibility, a process which (according to the family biographies) began in November 1797 and may have been repe...

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The New York Review of Books

Jane Austen: A Life.

Feb 05 1998 | Read Full Review of JANE AUSTEN: A Life.

Dominion of New York


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