The Real Jane Austen

The Real Jane Austen : A Life in Small Things

3.98 (1,523 ratings by Goodreads)
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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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Product details

  • Paperback | 380 pages
  • 134.62 x 203.2 x 30.48mm | 317.51g
  • New York
  • English
  • Illustrations, color; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0061999105
  • 9780061999109
  • 256,626

Back cover copy

Acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne explores the forces that shaped the interior life of one of the most beloved novelists in the English language: her father's religious faith; her mother's aristocratic pedigree; her eldest brother's adoption; her relatives in the East and West Indies; the family's amateur theatricals; and her determination throughout her long struggle to become a published author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture. Like a superb archaeologist, Byrne uses artifacts from Jane Austen's life to craft a vivid and more complex portrait of the writer than we have ever seen.
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Review Text

"[Byrne] breathes yet more life into Austen and her works by considering the objects that populated her days.... [The] thematic approach offers a revealing picture of Austen and a lively social history....paints a fresh and vivid picture of an inimitable woman." The Economist
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Review quote

"Brilliantly illuminating...riveting...Again and again...Byrne opens out Austen's story with a novelist's persistent probing of the evidence."--Simon Callow, The Guardian
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Rating details

1,523 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 33% (495)
4 42% (633)
3 20% (303)
2 4% (59)
1 2% (33)
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