Jane Austen was a great novelist and one of the central figures of English literature, but she herself lived a quiet and uneventful life, mostly in the two Hampshire villages of Steventon and Chawton. Jon Spence’s new biography focuses its attention away from the wider literary and intellectual currents that informed her writing and instead concentrates on the immediate influences on her life and work. Becoming Jane Austen shows how Jane Austen’s own personal experiences resonated throughout her work, from her juvenilia to Sanditon.
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Jon Spence is an American and was educated at King's College, London University. He has lived abroad for many years and now divides his time between London and Sydney. He is the editor of A Century of Wills from Jane Austen's Family and Jane Austen's Brother Abroad: The Grand Tour Journals of Edward Austen. He acted as Historical Consultant on the film Becoming Jane.From Booklist:
Jane Austen's quiet life is not very rewarding biographical material. While acknowledging that "there has been a long-observed tacit agreement that Jane Austen's work is off limits to the biographer as a source of information about her life," Spence, professor emeritus of English literature at Doshisha University, Kyoto, nevertheless scours Austen's letters and juvenilia for clues to the people, events, and impressions that helped shape the writer. He sees a connection, for example, between the family background of Tom Lefroy, whom it seemed for a time that Jane might marry, and the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice. Glamorous family friend Eliza de Feuillide is woven in various ways into the work, especially in the character of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. He says of Jane's letters, "She takes the most ordinary, insignificant bits of information and effortlessly enlivens them with wit and fresh turns of phrase"--an apt summary of the appeal of her fiction. Spence makes an interesting case, and his book, though academic in tone, will appeal to serious Janeites. Mary Ellen Quinn
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Book Description Hambledon Continuum, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111852853948