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.
Paula Byrne is the critically acclaimed author of five biographies, including Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice, The Real Jane Austen, and Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, the academic and biographer Jonathan Bate.
Table of Contents
Authors Note xi
Prologue: Captain Harville's Carpentry 1
1 The Family Profile 13
2 The East Indian Shawl 29
3 The Vellum Notebooks 53
4 The Subscription List 75
5 The Sisters 91
6 The Barouche 109
7 The Cocked Hat 123
8 The Theatrical Scenes 135
9 The Card of Lace 153
10 The Marriage Banns 173
11 The Ivory Miniature 193
12 The Daughter of Mansfield 213
13 The Crimson Velvet Cushions 225
14 The Topaz Crosses 237
15 The Box of Letters 253
16 The Laptop 267
17 The Royalty Cheque 289
18 The Bathing Machine 311
Picture Credits 359
What People are Saying About This
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