Thursday 31 December 2020

Jane Austen

Finished December 31
Jane Austen: a Life by Claire Tomalin 

This is an excellent biography of Jane Austen, delving as deeply as possible, considering the lack of primary sources for Jane herself. We Jane's family, her role within that family from her birth onward, her interactions with her community and with friends, and her writing.
I learned a lot about her siblings that I hadn't been aware of before, and I enjoyed seeing her wit respected among them. We also see her friends, both women of similar stature in society and others such as governesses and servants. 
While she lost her childhood home from an impulsive decision of her parents, she managed to eventually recover from this loss and return to her writing, and with her brother Henry's assistance find a publisher. She came close to marriage a couple of times, but ultimately continued to live with her mother and sister, sharing a room with her sister until the end of her life, cut untimely short by an illness. 
I loved to see how she collected others' opinions of her writing, obviously enjoying even the harshest criticism. She was a woman who knew her own worth and who was a better writer than she was given credit for. I have read several, but not all, of her books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. This biography brings the author herself to life and makes me feel like she was someone I could have related to.

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