The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things

The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments scenes and objects in her life and work Going beyond previous tr

  • Title: The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things
  • Author: Paula Byrne
  • ISBN: 9780062263360
  • Page: 390
  • Format: Audiobook
  • The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrne s portrait organized thematically and drawn from theThe Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrne s portrait organized thematically and drawn from the most up to date scholarship and unexplored sources explores the lives of Austen s extended family, friends, and acquaintances Through their absorbing stories, we view Austen on a much wider stage and discover unexpected aspects of her life and character Byrne transports us to different worlds the East Indies and revolutionary Paris and different events from a high society scandal to a petty case of shoplifting, She follows Austen on her extensive travels, setting her in contexts both global and English, urban and rural, political and historical, social and domestic wider perspectives of vital and still under estimated importance to her creative life.Literary scholarship has revealed that letters and tokens in Austen s novel s often signal key turning points in the unfolding narrative This groundbreaking biography explores Jane s own story following the same principle As Byrne reveals, small things in the writer s world a scrap of paper, a simple gold chain, an ivory miniature, a bathing machine hold significance in her emotional and artistic development The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things introduces us to a woman deeply immersed in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in her independence and ambition to an author who was an astute commentator on human nature and the foibles of her own age Rich and compelling, it is a fresh, insightful, and often surprising portrait of an artist and a vivid evocation of the complex world that shaped her.

    One thought on “The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things”

    1. Not too long ago there was an uproar in Jane Austen circles at the discovery of a drawing that was labeled Jane Austen, depicting an upright woman of middle years whose face betrays illness. She is posed by a window, she has writing implements before her in a prominent place, and she wears what appears to be a spinster's cap. According to speculation going around, the author of this book was given the drawing by her husband, after which they both pushed hard to get it authenticated; some specula [...]

    2. In this engaging and scholarly biography of Jane Austen, Paula Byrne successfully dispels many of the myths swirling around her subject. According to Byrne, Miss Austen was a well-traveled, urbane sophisticate who demonstrated a vibrant interest, not just in literature - both classical and contemporary - but in politics, theology and the theater. Byrne identifies objects and relationships that were familiar to Austen and uses them to illuminate important aspects of Austen's personal life and con [...]

    3. I listened to this for a month on my drive back and forth from work and it was delightful. I learned a lot about Jane Austen and I'm even a bigger fan now.

    4. This insightful, fascinating perspective on Britain’s most beloved novelist is a must-read for all literary fans and aficionados! Reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or ‘Northanger Abbey’ from a young age are some of my fondest memories, as my childhood, teenage years and adulthood have been interlaced with Austen’s elegance, erudition and perception on romance. Her stories (read in books and watched on film in numerous adaptations) are as dear to me as history itself, for they speak of tr [...]

    5. First of all, “The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things” is a fascinating, well-written, and intriguing book, with a very few small problems.Even so, I would never suggest Paula Byrnes book to someone who had not read at least one conventional biography of Jane Austen beforehand, just to to get a clearer chronological order of events. (See, strictly for an example, Jane Aiken Hodge’s “Only A Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen,” which is from the point of view of an experienced n [...]

    6. This was a really enjoyable biography - such an excellent idea to have 18 chapters, each one beginning with an different object. This object (also photographed in colour) becomes the theme of the chapter, telling us more about Austen, her family and her life.Byrne is at pains to shatter the myth of the lonely spinster never stirring far from home and unaware of the 'bigger picture' of her times. She produces plenty of evidence to show that not only was Austen well travelled, but her wide network [...]

    7. I have never really been a big Austen fan, which along with my relative indifference to Shakespeare and Chaucer when I began my first degree reaaaally made other lit students look at me askance. I still think that those three are pushed upon us to a ridiculous degree, and often its not even their best work that is touted as The Book To Read (for example, I favour Troilus and Criseyde over The Canterbury Tales, and pretty much anything over Romeo and Juliet). But anyway, I've slowly come to appre [...]

    8. Μία εξαιρετική βιογραφία της Jane Austen που ακολουθεί μία πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα προσέγγιση. Αντί για μία κλασική βιογραφία που ακολουθεί το αντικείμενο της από τη γέννηση ως το θάνατο διαβάζουμε κάτι άλλο. Η συγγραφέας παίρνει αφορμή από διάφορα αντικείμενα, που πολλά από αυτά αν [...]

    9. From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the WeekPaula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of the popular novelist

    10. Have been savouring this book over the last month or two and was so sad when it came to an end. It's so special, giving intimate details of Jane Austen's life that I had not read elsewhere. I feel like I know the person, the author, the sister so much better now. I loved, loved it.

    11. I'm glad to have read a biography of one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen, especially one that contains many pieces of her personal writings in the form of letters and journals. The book was clearly well research (and annotated and cited, too) and there was an abundance of tie-ins from Austen's life to the lives of her characters in her books. I don't know why her family said that she did't want people to know she was the author of her books, or that she didn't insert any people she was acqua [...]

    12. Byrne tells us in her afterword that there have been so many works about Austen already, that any new offerings have to be innovative and different. Hers is, and I found it to be entertaining, enlightening, and interesting. She chooses objects that held significance to Jane and begins each section with a description of these things. Then she skillfully segues into related biographical detail. It is clear that Byrne knows her subject; she discusses letter after letter and puts familiar phrases an [...]

    13. BOTWWritten by Paula Byrne.Reader - Emma Fieldingblurb: In this new biography, best-selling author Paula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of Jane Austen, Britain's most beloved novelist: her father's religious faith, 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, her residence in Bath, her love of the seaside, her travels around England and her long struggle to [...]

    14. Very original and interesting biography ! I couldn't put it down. Presents Austen as the total bad ass I can guarantee she was along with the dysfunctional, intelligent, close-knit family of which she was a part! Inspiring woman and writer!

    15. The title is a taste pretentious, implying as it does that all other biographers have somehow faked us out, or at the very least "got it wrong" while Ms Byrne is the only one with the inside info. Uh-huh.I can believe that the biographies published by family members may have had their own image that they wanted to present of an author who was on the crest of the wave when she died, but really, dear?I was pleased to discover I wasn't mistaken in my belief that "Northanger Abbey" may have been the [...]

    16. So Jane loved to dance, to shop, to sea bathe,to travel, to read, to play music, to tease and joke -she was a good walker and adored her older sister. She suffered from a phobia of childbirth and was deeply religious. She charmed men and was charmed in return. Paula Byrnes book feels as if the trueJane Austin is described. Her novels will feel more real to me now.

    17. This is not your usual biography. Rather than take a linear, chronological approach and go through Jane Austen's life step by step, Byrne chooses to use use objects relevant to her life as a starting point. Through them, she presents a fascinating look at Austen's life and times. An Indian shawl sparks off an exploration of how Austen wasn't a closed-off, provincial writer. Rather, she had plenty of international connections, and Byrne shows how this is reflected in her work. This portrait, show [...]

    18. Biographies are invariably "children of their time"; another book that details Austens life from cradle to grave with to much minutiae wouldn't cut it in our day.We have neither the need(it's been done) nor the want.This biography takes a different strategy and very successfully so. In the acknowledgements(I always always read that stuff) Byrne writes of her high regard for Richard Holmes. That to me is a good thing; his book "the age of wonder" was one of my favourite books last year(when I fin [...]

    19. I don't think I'll ever tire of reading about Jane Austen. There's something about her that captivates me. I've read several biographies about Austen, but I couldn't stay away from this one. Byrne writes this book, not about the things most of her audience are familiar with, but on the things in her life that seemed to have the biggest impact on her that made her the author that we fell in love with. This book is very untextbook-like and really easy to read. Byrne goes over in great detail, but [...]

    20. This is certainly among the best, if not the best of the Jane Austen biographies I've read, and I've read most of them. I can't say all, because there are undoubtedly new ones coming out every nanosecond. Ms. Byrne understands that Jane Austen was not a sad single lady, but a serious professional writer who chose to remain single in order to do the work she was born to do, to write the novels that have come down to us. Byrne's approach is to explain the uses and meanings of various objects that [...]

    21. Excellent!!Each chapter begins with an object, which Byrne uses as a launching pad to write about a certain aspect or time in Jane Austen’s life. She sets the object not only in its historical context and importance to the Austen family, but also draws connections to Austen’s novels, juvenilia, and the most biographical source, her letters to family and friends. A historical description weaved in with quotations from Austen’s clever writing and Byrne’s own excellent prose makes for a fan [...]

    22. The organization of this book was interesting: Paula Byrne chose an object related to Austen's life and work and then wrote a biographical essay related to that item. It worked better for some items than others; some of the essays were rather digressive and wandering. However, the ones that worked, worked very well. I particularly liked the chapters on "The Daughter of Mansfield" (Dido Belle and Mansfield Park), the Bathing Machine (Austen's love of the sea) and the Topaz Cross (Austen's affecti [...]

    23. A fascinating and well-written book about the life of Jane Austen as seen through a collection of objects that she used. There are writing books, a writing slope, a card of lace, a shawl from India, and the like. I really enjoyed reading this method of writing, and the end result was a deeper look at what and where and who Jane Austen used to create her novels. Along with the narrative, there are drawings and photographs of the objects, along with extensive notes and a bibliography. Five stars o [...]

    24. A local book-club member chose this book for our January read, for discussion the first Saturday of February. Although I am not an avid fan of Jane Austen, I did look forward to learning more about her. Paula Byrne spent most of the book illustrating life around Jane Austen and the actions and experiences of her family and relatives. Several interesting tales and events held my interest but these were not about Jane Austen.For fans of Jane Austen, however, this book is likely a treasure.

    25. Probable FictionAlla fine del libro Paula Byrne spiega che il grosso del lavoro biografico su Jane Austen è stato fatto da Deirdre Le Faye, e sostiene che, dopo il suo A Chronology of Jane Austen and Her Family (pubblicato dalla Cambridge University Press per la modica cirfra di centoventi sterline), ogni biografia birth to death risulti superflua, e chiunque voglia avventurarsi nell'impresa debba trovare un approccio originale.Credo che la Byrne ci sia riuscita. A Life in Small Things non è i [...]

    26. Is it possible to know the real Jane Austen? For the sake of family decorum Jane's sister Cassandra destroyed nearly three thousand of the letters between them, keeping a mere sixty or so innocuous or censored ones to tell us little beyond their humdrum domestic life. Jane Byrne approaches the question in an original manner differing from previous biographies in that she begins each chapter with an object connected to the life or work of the author: a silhouette, a barouche, a cocked hat, a velv [...]

    27. I learned a great deal about one of my favorite authors. She was not a shut in as she has been portrayed by some. She was well traveled and she was a "spinster" by choice. She watched her family members and friends change dramatically after they were married and decided that was not what she wanted. She was smart, charming and funny. It makes me sad that she died so young. Her writing would have only improved and become better with age. What a loss!

    28. Loved this book. By focusing on artifacts from Jane's life, the author really gave me a sense of who Jane Austen was. I was especially interested to learn how much traveling she'd done around England, how much she knew of the navy (with seaman brothers), and how interested she was in the abolition cause. Now I want to read/reread all of her books!

    29. This is so interesting if you love Jane Austen's work! I've read and enjoyed other biographies of her, but this one had information that was new to me as well as thought-provoking interpretations of some well-known facts. This work might be a little granular for someone who is not an Austen fan already.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *