In The Real Jane Austen, acclaimed literary biographer Paula Byrne provides the most intimate and revealing portrait yet of a beloved but complex novelist.
Just as letters and tokens in Jane Austen’s novels often signal key turning points in the narrative, Byrne explores the small things – a scrap of paper, a gold chain, an ivory miniature – that held significance in Austen’s personal and creative life.
Byrne transports us to different worlds, from the East Indies to revolutionary Paris, and to different events, from a high society scandal to a case of petty shoplifting. In this ground-breaking biography, Austen is set on a wider stage than ever before, revealing a well-traveled and politically aware writer – important aspects of her artistic development that have long been overlooked.
The Real Jane Austen is a fresh, compelling, and surprising biography of the author of some of our most enduring classic books – from Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility, Emma to Persuasion – and a vivid evocation of the world that shaped her.
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...“The Real Jane Austen” is excellent...particularly on the dissonant topics of theater and slavery.Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from NY Times
Where Austen's life is undocumented, Byrne illuminates the things, places, circumstances, people surrounding her...Byrne's angles on the Austen artefacts are often unexpected. Topaz crosses, gifts to Jane and her sister, Cassandra...This may not be a canonical biography of Austen, but like Austen herself it is vivacious, surprising and rarely dull.Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from Guardian
The Real Jane Austen similarly provides us with constantly surprising glimpses of her. Liberated from linear chronology, the book is like an advent calendar: each new object, each new chapter, brings another group portrait...Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from Guardian
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.Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from Guardian
...she takes a clever approach to scrutinizing the few facts that we know about Austen's life.Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from NPR
Ms Byrne has an obvious affection for her subject. This book may offer few revelations, but it paints a fresh and vivid picture of an inimitable woman.Read Full Review of The Real Jane Austen: A Life ... | See more reviews from The Economist
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