Jane and Her Gentlemen: Jane Austen and the Men in Her Life and Novels

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9780720611649: Jane and Her Gentlemen: Jane Austen and the Men in Her Life and Novels
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This absorbing new study reveals her to be much more worldly than many have given her credit for, and that she was never short of suitors and male friends. Looking at those in her family and her social circle - both formal acquaintances and romantic attachments - we see what Jane thought of them and how they affected her life. Audrey Hawkridge also analyses the male characters in Austen's novels - now considered rather more rounded than they once were - and how the real men she knew and socialized with shed their own light on the men in her works.

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Audrey Hawkridge's long association with the Jane Austen Memorial Trust and work at Jane Austen's House at Chawton, Hampshire, has given her an in-depth knowledge of the writer and her work.

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Readers curious about the biographical influences on Austen's novels will delight in this thoughtful study of the men who came into contact with Austen as well as those she created. Hawkridge's book begins with a portrait of Austen that might surprise readers: a flirty, wisecracking young lady whom one of her contemporaries referred to as "the prettiest, silliest, most affected, husband-hunting butterfly." Austen's intelligence and wit show through in her letters to her sister, Cassandra, in which she comments upon the society in which she moved. Hawkridge goes on to discuss Austen's large family in great detail; in addition to her sister, Austen had six brothers--two were naval officers, two others clerics, one a landed gentleman, and the last suffered from severe epilepsy. Jane's romantic interludes are detailed here as well, from the men she fancied to those she did not. Interspersed with these chapters are ones that analyze her novels and speculate on the possible influences the real-life men had on the fictional ones. Kristine Huntley
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