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Jane Austen at Home: A Biography

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We can only suppose how perhaps the events of Jane’s own life are mirrored in her characters’ lives and the choices they make. Worsley draws numerous examples of where the events in the lives of Austen’s characters may be a rewriting of events in her own life. We can observe Jane’s dislike of her mother, but we do not come to understand why. When there is adequate information explaining underlying motives, the author speculates and explains step by step the conclusions she draws. I appreciate and feel comfortable with this methodology. What is known is presented. What is postulated is presented as such. P.S. Много от местата, на които е живяла или посещавала, все още съществуват и са отворени за нейни почитатели – страхотна идея за литературно пътуване

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley | Waterstones

This is a non-fiction book about the Georgian author Jane Austen (1787 – 1817). The Georgian era covers the period in British history from 1714 to 1830 when the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV reigned. The Victorian era followed. The literature of the two periods differ, each mirroring the social customs that held sway. Georgian society is typified by joie de vivre, dancing and theater, as well as dissipation and extravagance, for those with means. There is less fixation on moral constraints in the former, more in the latter. The pendulum swings, changing direction from debauchery to prudery.The parish of Steventon, where Jane would be born, contained only thirty families. According to one of Mr Austen’s predecessors as rector, its management should give little trouble as it contained no Papists, nor Dissenters, nor any ‘nobleman, gentleman or person of note’.26 The men grew turnips and beans, while the women worked at home, spinning flax, or wool from the sheep that wandered Hampshire’s hills. Or sometimes they went out hoeing the turnips themselves. One traveller reported that the female field-workers of Hampshire were ‘straight, fair, round-faced, excellent complexion and uncommonly gay’. At the sight of the stranger, they ‘all fixed their eyes upon me, and, upon my smiling, they bursted out into laughter’.27

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography - Lucy Worsley - Google Books

Worsley's cleverly implements certain sections of Austen's own letters to corroborate with her image of this author. At times her suppositions and speculations regarding Austen's character and motivation are made to seem as facts. Unlike other historians and biographers, who often misconstrued Austen's personality and life, Worsley seems to imply at a personal connection to her subject, one that makes her into one few capable to discerning the truth about Austen. Curiously enough Worsley reveals that: “I was once a pupil at the Abbey School myself, and Jane Austen was our most famous ex-student”. The story of the Austens at Steventon Rectory really begins in the late summer of 1768, when a wagon heavily loaded with household goods made its way through the Hampshire lanes from nearby Deane to the village of Steventon. Its members had no notion that so many historians and biographers would scrutinise this ordinary event in the life of an ordinary family.Over time, Mr Austen would be a good steward to the Rectory. As the years went by, he ‘added and improved’ many features, enlarging the house ‘until it came to be regarded as a very comfortable family residence’.37 Jane would often show her fictional clergymen, Dr Grant and Edmund Bertram, as well as the horrible Mr Collins, devoting care to this very eighteenth-century clergyman’s concern of the ‘improvement of his dwelling’. Noblemen improved their country houses and parks; clergymen improved their rectories. It was something of a duty: according to Mr Collins, a clergyman ‘cannot be excused from making [his home] as comfortable as possible’. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this biography of Jane Austen. For some reason, I expected it to get bogged down in too much detail or for it to be too academic. She does touch on some academic disputes in some areas but only enough to pique my interest. Sort by Featured Best selling Alphabetically, A-Z Alphabetically, Z-A Price, low to high Price, high to low Date, old to new Date, new to old I thought the whole book was fascinating, and the author's examples from Jane's work made me want to reread all her novels. (Although this is not a new phenomenon; on any given day, whatever I'm doing, I'd likely rather be reading a Jane Austen novel. Or watching one of the movies.)

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