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Jane Austen at Home: A Biography (ebook)

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"Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity."--Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire Ta "Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity."--Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire Take a trip back to Jane Austen's world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses--both grand and small--of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'. Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but--in the end--a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world’s favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home.


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"Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity."--Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire Ta "Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity."--Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire Take a trip back to Jane Austen's world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses--both grand and small--of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'. Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but--in the end--a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world’s favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home.

30 review for Jane Austen at Home: A Biography (ebook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    4.5 stars "For Jane, home was a perennial problem. Where could she afford to live? Amid the many domestic duties of an unmarried daughter and aunt, how could she find the time to write? Where could she keep her manuscripts safe? A home of her own must have seemed to Jane to be always just out of reach." Historian and author Lucy Worsley has written an excellent biography examining the beloved novelist Jane Austen’s writing from the context of homes – her own homes as well as the homes of others in 4.5 stars "For Jane, home was a perennial problem. Where could she afford to live? Amid the many domestic duties of an unmarried daughter and aunt, how could she find the time to write? Where could she keep her manuscripts safe? A home of her own must have seemed to Jane to be always just out of reach." Historian and author Lucy Worsley has written an excellent biography examining the beloved novelist Jane Austen’s writing from the context of homes – her own homes as well as the homes of others in which she either temporarily resided or often visited. In her novels, homes play such a significant role in the lives of her heroines, so it seems only fitting to take a closer look at how Jane’s own home life influenced her stories. "To her heroines, it’s always a life goal to be happy and ‘at home’, particularly in a drawing room, the stage upon which most of social life’s transactions are performed." Details of the places where Jane lived are not lacking. From the start of her life at Steventon Rectory, to her homes in Bath, to Southampton, to Chawton Cottage, and to where she took her last breath in Winchester, we are introduced to the places where Jane drew her inspiration for her novels and where she sat down and wrote these masterpieces. We quickly learn that Jane was at the mercy of her father and later her brothers for providing her with a roof over her head as well as a small income on which to subsist. I was shocked to learn that wealthier Austen relations were not necessarily generous with their money when it came to offering a more comfortable life for both Jane and her unmarried sister Cassandra. Despite the fact that there is not an over-abundance of source material regarding Jane’s personal life, numerous letters – in particular those to her sister, still exist and shed much light on the novelist’s daily activities as well as her sparkling personality. Worsley indicates that much of what was previously understood about Jane’s life was perhaps colored by the Austen family’s desire to paint their famous relation in a certain image. "In later years, the Austen family entered into a kind of collective conspiracy to cover up their humble origins, and to make their famous aunt’s life look easier, more genteel, less hard work than it really was." However, when one carefully studies the letters she wrote, we may see a different side to Jane, the side that we often glimpse when we read about her fascinating heroines. "You could not think her lacking in temper once you have seen her private letters to Cassandra, which crackle, sometimes, with wickedness and rage." We also learn a bit more about Jane’s potential suitors, although much of her ‘love life’ still has an aura of mystery surrounding it, in my opinion! Naturally, being a huge fan of Jane Austen’s novels, I was thrilled to find examples from her work. Worsley carefully traces the process of Jane’s writing her rough drafts to the various rewritings and to the onerous task of trying to publish the finished products. Having not delved into any sort of biography of her life previously, I was surprised to learn how very little money she actually made on her writing during her lifetime. Of course, over time, she became more savvy and independent regarding the process of publishing, yet it must have been a daunting task for a young woman living during the Georgian era! I agree wholeheartedly with Worsley’s statement: "But the enduring reason for Jane’s popularity today is that she seems born outside her time, to be more like one of us, for she lifelong expresses the opposite point of view: in favour of vitality, strength, independence." I highly recommend this biography to any Jane Austen fan. The only ‘drawback’ I found to reading this book is that I want to drop all my other planned reading and grab my stack of Austen novels and fall in love with them all over again! "Jane’s great gift to us is to have survived these dark days, keeping hold of hope, and staying true to life choices that would expand the very definition of what it means to be a female writer… She took her regrets and bitterness and turned them into irony and art. She would use these powerful weapons to blow open the lock that kept penniless daughters prisoners inside their family homes."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I loved this biography of Jane Austen so much that while reading it I was bursting with enthusiasm and couldn't stop talking about it. Historian Lucy Worlsey focused on Jane's experiences in her different homes and on how her novels treated life at home. I especially appreciated the details about Jane's relationship with her parents and siblings, the joy of when she got her first writing desk (which I was lucky enough to see on display at the British Library), and the details about how her work f I loved this biography of Jane Austen so much that while reading it I was bursting with enthusiasm and couldn't stop talking about it. Historian Lucy Worlsey focused on Jane's experiences in her different homes and on how her novels treated life at home. I especially appreciated the details about Jane's relationship with her parents and siblings, the joy of when she got her first writing desk (which I was lucky enough to see on display at the British Library), and the details about how her work finally got published. I have read several books about Jane Austen, and this is one of the most enjoyable for its mix of real life and details from her writing. 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.) Anyway, I enjoyed this biography so much that I want to get my own copy and add it to my Austen shelf. "One can never have too many biographies of Jane Austen," is a thing I have actually said. Highly recommended for Janeites. Now pardon me, but I need to go watch "Pride and Prejudice" for the thousandth time. Meaningful Passage "For Jane, home was a perennial problem. Where could she afford to live? Amid the many domestic duties of an unmarried daughter and aunt, how could she find the time to write? Where could she keep her manuscripts safe? A home of her own must have seemed to Jane to be always just out of reach. With only a tiny stash of capital hard earned by her writing, the death of her father forced her into a makeshift life in rented lodgings, or else shunted between the relations who used her as cheap childcare. It's not surprising, then, that the search for home is an idea that's central to Jane's fiction."

  3. 4 out of 5

    abby

    Jane Austen is a household name, and we know very little about her. Historian Lucy Worsley seeks to change that by focusing on the famous author's life at home-- and lack there of one. What emerges is a story of the precarious business of being a woman in Georgian England. Your home is wherever your male relations deem to keep you. And it was no different for Jane Austen. When her father retired, she lost rights to her beloved childhood home in Stevenson, and all of her possessions, including bo Jane Austen is a household name, and we know very little about her. Historian Lucy Worsley seeks to change that by focusing on the famous author's life at home-- and lack there of one. What emerges is a story of the precarious business of being a woman in Georgian England. Your home is wherever your male relations deem to keep you. And it was no different for Jane Austen. When her father retired, she lost rights to her beloved childhood home in Stevenson, and all of her possessions, including books, were sold for the trouble. It began an almost nomadic existence for the unmarried Austen women, dependent on the generosity of more moneyed relations, living wherever they could be stashed conveniently and cost effectively. Worsley ties the circumstances of Jane's home life to that of the characters in her novels. For me, it's a bit contrived. Worsley's writing style is enjoyable, and infused with a wit would make her idol proud. Even so, I found this book dragged. There really isn't enough known about Austen to write a full length biography. I commend Worsley for not going down the road of many of her predecessors in trying to sensationalize or romanticize Austen or make her life into more than what it was. However, what that leaves is a short, rather dull story. Is it possible that someone so endearing and sharp in print as Jane Austen was in fact boring in life? Yes, I think so. Worsley makes her 350 pages by shifting focus to many of Jane's relatives. I read an advanced copy, so I don't know what changes have been made to print, but a family tree would have been a helpful addition. It seemed like every other female relative was named Fanny, and it was difficult to follow at times. This isn't a bad book, and Worsley is a good writer and historian, but it was a bit of a chore to finish. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book to review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    What a book! A really brilliant biography, so thoughtfully put together, so well written, with just the right amount of historical and social context. Very moving, very interesting and absolutely worth a read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    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 fi 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. Worsley’s book speaks not only of Austen’s life and the books she wrote but also of her era. Reading the book is thus interesting for two reasons—it will appeal to those searching for information about the author and to those curious about the Georgian era. It does not get sidetracked into a discussion of political events: the Napoleonic Wars serve merely as a background. Both Worsley and Austin zoom in on the lives of British middle- and upper-class women. Men are discussed in relation to their controlling influence upon women. Feminism is not a new phenomenon! Women were writing and having their voices heard even before the turn of the 19th century. Definitive source material concerning some aspects of Jane Austen’s person and life are lacking, but there remains still much information to study. It is evident the author has done a thorough job. Letters do still exist. The only picture we have of Jane is drawn by her three-year older sister, Cassandra; this drawing has however been improved upon when Jane gained fame. Worsley works with that information which is available, clearly stating what is and is not sure. She puts out varying suppositions and analyzes them. Her arguments are convincing. I am no expert whatsoever, but the conclusions she draws make sense to me. I like very much how she lays out the facts and then analyzes what is known. She is upfront. She states outright that she adores Austen; yet one never gets the sense that she vies from the truth or tries to bend facts. The author does not attempt to fabricate what is not known, although she does analyze what is not clear. We do know where Austen lived. We do know when and by what means her six books came to be published, the last not yet completed at her death. What is known about her death is that it was due to either Addison’s disease or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, possibly with depression and arsenic poisoning playing in too. We know of her fondness for the writings of Samuel Richardson and Frances Burney and her devotion to her sister, Cassandra. We know where she lived in her youth and where she resided after her father died and her brothers failed to provide her with a home. We follow her route of different residences from Steventon, in Hampshire, to Bath, to Southampton, back to the village Chawton in Hampshire and finally to Winchester. It Is not hard to imagine her longing for a permanent home. 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. I enjoyed the book because of what it has taught me about the Georgian period. I feel I have a better understanding of the author’s novels and her characters. Their brashness, pzazz and humor feel even more right than before I picked up this book. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ruth Redman. The author narrates the introduction and the epilog. She and a male narrator disperse ad hoc lines that pepper the text, quotes or poems for example. They are in this way appropriately separated from the surrounding text. This is effective. It adds clarity. Redman is however the primary narrator of the audiobook. Her reading is delightful. In Georgian times women would entertain one another by reading to each other. One felt that Redman was reading as maybe Jane would have spoken had she been reading the lines. Lovely is the adjective that comes to mind in describing Redman’s narration. The speed is perfect, and I had no trouble understanding what is said. She does not dramatize; she simply reads in a delightful manner. I do recommend this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tony Riches

    I can say with some confidence that, after reading this book, you will never read Jane Austen’s works in quite the same way again. I also wonder if, like me, your mental picture of Jane Austen is a blend of the famous ‘portrait’ by her sister Cassandra and Anne Hathaway’s memorable portrayal in TV’s (historically inaccurate) ‘Becoming Jane’? If so, you must read this brilliant new work by Lucy Worsley. Lucy’s lively style and relish in fascinating details shines new light on the real Jane Austen. I can say with some confidence that, after reading this book, you will never read Jane Austen’s works in quite the same way again. I also wonder if, like me, your mental picture of Jane Austen is a blend of the famous ‘portrait’ by her sister Cassandra and Anne Hathaway’s memorable portrayal in TV’s (historically inaccurate) ‘Becoming Jane’? If so, you must read this brilliant new work by Lucy Worsley. Lucy’s lively style and relish in fascinating details shines new light on the real Jane Austen. Most of what I thought I knew was right – but lacking the vital context provided as we study the reality of Jane’s home life. In the modern vernacular, we would say she was ‘just about managing’ for most of her time, although Lucy helps us understand what was considered normal in Georgian society – and what was not. Jane’s sister destroyed many of her letters deemed ‘personal’ and those which survive have been described as ‘mundane.’ Lucy Worsley disagrees and finds delight in the trivia. She says, ‘...her personality is there, bold as brass, bursting with life, buoyant or recalcitrant as each day required. These letters are a treasure trove hiding in plain sight.’ I was also fascinated to realise Jane knew her letters could be read aloud, often over breakfast, so used a code known to her sister to ensure discretion. To return to what Jane might have looked like, Lucy suggests she was around five feet seven, with a twenty-four inch waist (the alarming consequence of wearing tight stays as a girl). She rebukes biographers who describe her as a ‘plump, dumpy woman’ based on Cassandra’s portrait rather than the evidence. Similarly, the romantic image of a lonely writer fits poorly with the known facts. I was intrigued by the glimpses of the author’s own formative years. By wonderful coincidence Lucy attended the Abbey school in Reading where Jane Austen was sent as a border at the age of thirteen. (She also stayed at the same house as Jane Austen by the sea in Lyme Regis.) As we approach the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen’s death on the 18th of July, I highly recommend this new book, which establishes Lucy Worsley as one of my favourite authors. Tony Riches

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I'm not usually a fan of biography but this was truly fascinating: an homage to the single woman. As with many people of genius, her work never really brought her fame or wealth during her lifetime ( she made about £600) over her lifetime). The historical context of her life, spanning the napoleonic war, the details of the bawdy rowdy Georgian years and sensibilities, the irony that Austen, creator of the modern romantic sensibility should herself never marry or find that kind of love, very much I'm not usually a fan of biography but this was truly fascinating: an homage to the single woman. As with many people of genius, her work never really brought her fame or wealth during her lifetime ( she made about £600) over her lifetime). The historical context of her life, spanning the napoleonic war, the details of the bawdy rowdy Georgian years and sensibilities, the irony that Austen, creator of the modern romantic sensibility should herself never marry or find that kind of love, very much struck a chord with me. I chuckled at the fact that, while Bath is a city for Austen fans, Jane herself disliked it for its rowdy elements and was unable to write while living there! Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    As the title suggests this book is about the life of Jane Austen. It's written in a very accessible way and is therefore very easy to read. Some of the chapters are longer than others though, I read the book on my Kindle and most of the chapters were 8-10 minutes long. But a couple were 30 minutes long! Although this didn't impact my reading or enjoyment at all, I think this might be irksome to some. There is also a lot of information packed into the book and therefore the chapters, so people ma As the title suggests this book is about the life of Jane Austen. It's written in a very accessible way and is therefore very easy to read. Some of the chapters are longer than others though, I read the book on my Kindle and most of the chapters were 8-10 minutes long. But a couple were 30 minutes long! Although this didn't impact my reading or enjoyment at all, I think this might be irksome to some. There is also a lot of information packed into the book and therefore the chapters, so people may also feel a little bogged down by all the information presented. But again, this wasn't a problem for me, I enjoyed all the extra bits of information and think they helped make the book what it was. I loved the book! It was so fascinating to read all about Jane, her family, her friends and just how the world was back then. Jane and her family weren't overly rich, but they was definitely not poor either, they had nice homes with servants and food was always available. But they certainly didn't live in the grand manor houses that some of Austen's characters lived in. Which I found interesting as I knew next to nothing about how people of this standing lived! Jane's life itself doesn't sound very interesting; based on the facts that she never married or had children. She also seemed to have lived a quiet sort of life, she wasn't involved in scandals or anything like that. Which doesn't sound all that interesting, but in truth her life story is fascinating! Jane lived a life surrounded by people, her letters which we are frequently quoted throughout the book tell us about all their comings and goings. Jane travelled quite a bit, she had firltations, she danced she went to the beach and met the prince Regent! She was also a very independent and intelligent woman, which I think this book showed us. Jane didn't want to settle and marry just anyone, Jane wanted to marry for love and only love. I think anyone remotely interested in Jane Austen and the time she lived, should definitely read this! It's such a good and insightful read about a truly remarkable woman.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    This is a fantastic read. I've read a few Jane Austen Biographies and some were a bit high brow and I had to trudge through others. It's all change with this one. The chapters were laid out clear and concisely. It started with her early days and went right through in order. As usual the chapter about her death is extremely sad but very well done. I thought I knew all there was to know about Jane but I picked up some new snippets here. I was pulled into this book as soon as I started reading. I s This is a fantastic read. I've read a few Jane Austen Biographies and some were a bit high brow and I had to trudge through others. It's all change with this one. The chapters were laid out clear and concisely. It started with her early days and went right through in order. As usual the chapter about her death is extremely sad but very well done. I thought I knew all there was to know about Jane but I picked up some new snippets here. I was pulled into this book as soon as I started reading. I stopped to do a group read of another book and couldn't wait to get back to it. Enthralled again as soon as I picked it up. For anyone who's new to Jane Austen's novels or just Jane herself, I'd highly recommend this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    My_Strange_Reading

    BOOK 100!!!! 😱😱😱😱 #mystrangereading Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley ⭐⭐⭐ A very interesting look at Jane Austen and her family's life. It was clearly very well researched, and I appreciate how as it followed her life it paralleled the books she wrote. Biographies are difficult for me to get through, but I found this one to be engaging enough to keep me curious and reading! 🏠 My biggest issue with this book was how she inserted quotes from the novels as though the character's dialogue was proof BOOK 100!!!! 😱😱😱😱 #mystrangereading Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A very interesting look at Jane Austen and her family's life. It was clearly very well researched, and I appreciate how as it followed her life it paralleled the books she wrote. Biographies are difficult for me to get through, but I found this one to be engaging enough to keep me curious and reading! 🏠 My biggest issue with this book was how she inserted quotes from the novels as though the character's dialogue was proof of the historical fact she was claiming about Jane. I know her books mirrored her life (hello, I'm a mega fan), but I don't think we can assume that there is enough mirrored to quote characters from novels as proof of the author's opinion. This fulfills No. 1 of #my2018strangepanzanellareadingchallenge BIOGRAPHY.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Davison

    I would like to thank the publisher for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Austen, Worsley has come out with a lively biography that focuses on Austen’s homes (or lack of them). This angle gives an interesting insight into how Austen lived her life day to day and how much this influenced her work. Worsley’s style of writing is clear, entertaining and easy to read, I flew through the book. The information that is presented I would like to thank the publisher for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Austen, Worsley has come out with a lively biography that focuses on Austen’s homes (or lack of them). This angle gives an interesting insight into how Austen lived her life day to day and how much this influenced her work. Worsley’s style of writing is clear, entertaining and easy to read, I flew through the book. The information that is presented is very well researched and gives a real idea of who Austen really was and what she looked like. What Austen looked like is hard to determine, but Worsley presents a clear image that is oddly familiar. Austen becomes a “modern” woman with a temper and a want of independence. This biography packs a punch, I learnt so much from it. It has just the right amount of contextual information is included, informing the reader about the era without overwhelming them or turning the biography into a textbook on the era. Worsley debunks myths about Austen herself and the era in which she lived and wrote. I loved that Worsley includes historical and archaeological evidence, as a hopeful future archaeologist myself, this is refreshing. The influence behind Austen’s novels is obviously discussed, but Worsley brings forward new and interesting ideas. The idea of Austen as a “modern” woman who didn’t like having to do domestic chores is explored along with the subtlety of her novels and where the original spark of imagination for her writing came from. I love that Worsley suggests that this may have come from Austen’s time at the Abbey school Reading, though I may be bias as I was born in Reading. In conclusion this is a fantastically entertaining book that is completely worth picking up, I now have a list of places I want to visit and stay at along with books to read. Dr Lucy Worsley is the Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, covering Hampton court, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Banqueting Hall, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle. Worsley gets amazing behind the scene access to these properties and often tweets about the goings on. She is an insightful writer having recently released two childrens’ fiction books based on Katherine Howard and Queen Victoria and is also regularly seen on TV, including her latest series Six Wives. Twitter = @Lucy_Worsley ------------------------------------------------ I would like to thank Lucy Worsley and Maddy Price at Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a physical proof copy! I look forward to reading it :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    First, thanks to Candi for bringing this to my attention. I am definitely a Jane Austen fan, but was always of the opinion that not much was known about her life because her sister Cassandra had burned many of her letters, at Jane's request. But in fact, a great deal is known about her because a great many letters survived, she had a large family interested in preserving her legacy, and her novels themselves contain many clues to her life and times. Lucy Worsley gives us Jane's life through the p First, thanks to Candi for bringing this to my attention. I am definitely a Jane Austen fan, but was always of the opinion that not much was known about her life because her sister Cassandra had burned many of her letters, at Jane's request. But in fact, a great deal is known about her because a great many letters survived, she had a large family interested in preserving her legacy, and her novels themselves contain many clues to her life and times. Lucy Worsley gives us Jane's life through the places she lived, and her few possessions. She never had a place of her own, as spinsters and widows were dependent on family charity for their survival in the early 19th century. Jane apparently had at least five chances at marriage, but never found her Mr. Darcy, and decided to let her novels be her children. This biography gives a fascinating history of her and her family, and my only complaint was that I would have liked more information about Cassandra, without whom Jane would not have been able to devote time to her novels. Now to get time to re-read her six published novels in light of what I now know about their creation.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abi White

    I am a massive Janite, but am still Shocked that I have read a biography at such a pace. This really did "feel" more like a work of fiction, and managed to be fun despite doing nothing to gloss over the fact that being a poor unmarried "gentleman's daughter" sounds like my idea of hell. I will certainly be seeking out Lucy Worsley's other books, and will be making a pilgrimage to some of the places described in such great detail. I cried at the end. Does that count as a spoiler?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anina e gambette di pollo

    Per la festa della mamma mi è stato regalato questo libro: una biografia di Jane Austen. Non indaghiamo sul perché e il percome io abbia usurpato un festeggiamento che non mi compete. Anche Jane non giocò mai il ruolo di mamma, ma fu per moltissimi “zia”. E anche se non vi sono certezze, vari sospetti indicano che non ci teneva neppure a quel ruolo. A lei piaceva leggere, indossare qualche bel vestito, suonare, danzare, mangiare bene e magari bere anche meglio. L’amore? Era soprattutto un rischio: n Per la festa della mamma mi è stato regalato questo libro: una biografia di Jane Austen. Non indaghiamo sul perché e il percome io abbia usurpato un festeggiamento che non mi compete. Anche Jane non giocò mai il ruolo di mamma, ma fu per moltissimi “zia”. E anche se non vi sono certezze, vari sospetti indicano che non ci teneva neppure a quel ruolo. A lei piaceva leggere, indossare qualche bel vestito, suonare, danzare, mangiare bene e magari bere anche meglio. L’amore? Era soprattutto un rischio: nel suo ambiente l’amore significava matrimonio e matrimonio voleva dire una serie interminabile di parti. Il libro è serio, documentato e nonostante l’amore dell’autrice per Jane, poco emotivo. Il vero problema per chi vuol scrivere una biografia della Austen è la famiglia. L’amatissima sorella Cassandra distrusse centinaia di lettere, molte altre furono espurgate dai nipoti vittoriani che misero le mutande ad ogni frase o parola potesse ledere il santino. I fatti documentabili sono pochi e domestici: le case dove visse, le difficoltà economiche (soprattutto dopo il ritiro del padre dal ruolo di vicario e dopo la sua morte), le varie eredità che piovvero in famiglia, ma solo nelle tasche dei maschi, una anche dolorosamente contestata ad un’arcigna vedova di un fratello. Non proprio roba da Casa desolata, ma neppure molto lontano da lì. Resta solo la possibilità di sfruttare al massimo la ridotta documentazione e di credere che nelle eroine dei suoi libri si nasconda qualcosa di lei. Cose interessanti? Le case splendide dei suoi libri che non vengono mai descritte come forse meriterebbero. Forse perché per Jane la casa è più home che house. La rappresentazione della società georgiana prima che la stessa venisse fagocitata dalla pruderie vittoriana. I suoi romanzi, in parte per problemi editoriali (c’erano pure allora), conquistarono all’inizio un numero ristretto di lettori che aumentarono nel corso del tempo, destinati ad essere interpretati da molti lettori come romanzi d’amore (lettrici comprese ***) o letti con diffidenza da molti uomini che navigano nelle secche del pregiudizio. 12.05.2015 *** ho spulciato un poco nelle librerie di chi ha dato un voto basso e ho trovato una preponderanza di romance ….

  15. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    Me ha encantado conocer más en profundidad a Jane, no sólo en su faceta de escritora sino también en su día a día, como eran las relaciones con su familia, con sus amigos, conocer las dificultades y los obstáculos que tuvo que salvar para conseguir lo que más ansiaba. Me deja con muchas ganas de releer sus novelas, que estoy segura que entenderé de otro modo ahora, pero también tengo ganas de leer a algunas otras autoras que leía Jane como Maria Edgeworth, intentarlo otra vez con la Radcliffe y Me ha encantado conocer más en profundidad a Jane, no sólo en su faceta de escritora sino también en su día a día, como eran las relaciones con su familia, con sus amigos, conocer las dificultades y los obstáculos que tuvo que salvar para conseguir lo que más ansiaba. Me deja con muchas ganas de releer sus novelas, que estoy segura que entenderé de otro modo ahora, pero también tengo ganas de leer a algunas otras autoras que leía Jane como Maria Edgeworth, intentarlo otra vez con la Radcliffe y suplicar por la publicación de Cecilia, una de las novelas de Fanny Burney.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    Lucy Worsley only narrates the introduction and epilogue of this audiobook, I was initially disappointed to discover. But Ruth Redman's reading of the main narrative preserves enough of Worsley's trademark enthusiasm to make it likeable and engaging, whilst lending a calm, measured tone suited to background listening. By the time the epilogue came round, I actually found it easier to listen to Redman as pure audio, whilst Worsley's highly animated style - reflecting her joy in talking about subj Lucy Worsley only narrates the introduction and epilogue of this audiobook, I was initially disappointed to discover. But Ruth Redman's reading of the main narrative preserves enough of Worsley's trademark enthusiasm to make it likeable and engaging, whilst lending a calm, measured tone suited to background listening. By the time the epilogue came round, I actually found it easier to listen to Redman as pure audio, whilst Worsley's highly animated style - reflecting her joy in talking about subjects she loves, more than the emotional tenor of the topic in hand during any one sentence - felt as if it would have worked best with visuals, like her TV programmes. And background listening was what I wanted: on certain historical and topics that create an atmosphere conducive to getting things done at home, and about which I found surprisingly little on iPlayer radio. (My other choice, as I was lucky enough to find I had two Audible credits when doing another free trial, was Millions Like Us: Women's Lives During the Second World War.) I don't absorb information from audio as much as from written words - where every sentence is significant new information (as with fiction), or requires close consideration (some academic or controversial political topics) it is draining and difficult- but I have become better at it over the last few years, and enjoy radio programmes on subjects I already know a bit about, a peppering of new facts and opinions within a familiar context. Though rather than doing housework and cooking, I ended up lying down ill for much of the book’s duration, to which Jane Austen at Home proved equally conducive – after all, people were quite often ill 200 years ago. An Austen biography is, on a personal level, a blast from the past. As a precocious preteen (apologies for the Americanised, though useful, term) I declared that I was going to to start reading "grown-ups' classics", and on asking for recommendations, was advised to start with Pride and Prejudice (which I think I bought with a birthday book token). Before I turned 14, I'd read all of Austen's published fiction, including fragments, some of it more than once, and all such motley old biographies and souvenir books as the local public libraries could offer. (This looks very familiar). After that - aside from a couple of re-reads of Northanger Abbey, my favourite of her novels among an oeuvre I otherwise did not love - I ticked off and put away Jane Austen, secure in knowing what people were talking about when her books were mentioned or adapted. All this was some years before Claire Tomalin's gold-standard biography of 1997 was published. I did buy a copy of that in the late 90s, still feeling like something of an Austen expert (even if it had happened by circumstance rather than preference) who ought to know the book and have an opinion on it. But my low enthusiasm for her subject, university work, and illness clubbed together so that I read it only occasionally in disjointed instalments and didn't finish it. So I can't compare Worsley's offering with Tomalin's - why one should choose one or the other, or bother with both, pressing questions for some prospective readers on this new book's Goodreads page. Regardless, Worsley is a historian, and Tomalin is a biographer, a biographer 40 years her senior, and each will bring different things to the same story. Jane Austen at Home is a history book as much as it is a biography, and does the sort of things that you would expect a younger historian to do, revising a few old certainties, and utilising newer / fashionable historical lenses. Notably, we get a fresh, less romanticised look at the business with Tom Le Froy (contrasting with the film Becoming Jane), and attention to the increasingly popular field of history of the emotions: earlier biographers have attributed feelings to Austen and those around her via modern understandings of words, and by putting themselves (with all their twentieth-century acculturation) in their subjects' shoes. (Incidentally, I don't see why some current younger historians are so keen to stress history of the emotions as new, as if it was a 2010s trend. It has a lot in common with, and is in many ways a development of the mentalités approach which was already established in the 1970s, and Worsley, a little older than I am, doubtless encountered it as an undergraduate in the 1990s too. Though in the context of this book, I suppose, describing the history of emotions that way is respectful to forebears such as Tomalin, who may not have encountered it as an academic subfield.) There is, naturally also plenty of wider historical background here; it is always apparent that Austen's life and work happened during the regency of the dissolute future George IV, and the Napoleonic Wars. (The man-shortage after the First World War is a famous, and exaggerated, trope in writing about Britain and Europe in the 1920s and 1930s - but it is rather less well known that there was a more statistically substantiated similar issue during the lifetime of English literature's most famous spinster.) There are brief, but always justified and elegant, digressions on other features of life during the period, such as modes of transport, and medicine and attitudes to illness. One of my favourites, for its precision, was a listing of expenditures (in Chapter 24) highlighting how different relative costs were: over one year Austen paid £13 for new clothes, and £9 for laundry. You would have to live in dry-clean-only garments to get near that ratio these days. So it is not only a book about Austen specifically: it is about the life of women of the southern English lower gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. There are contemporary perspectives too. Weighing up features of Austen's last illness against competing hypotheses of Addison's, Hodgkin's, arsenic or something else, Worsley sensibly draws no absolute conclusion and does not rubbish any one theory. As on TV, her contemporary analogies make things feel immediate and alive, such as a house near a busy military route that might have been equivalent to living near a dual carriageway. I wasn't sold at first on her use of the 1990s and later 'friends as family' idea in discussing thirty- and forty-something Austen's social connections, given Jane's strong bond with her sister Cassandra, and the importance the Austens themselves placed on blood ties, as was customary at the time, but I grew to see how it worked as part of the book's perspective and project. History-writing inevitably contains the perspective of the time when it was written, as well as that of the time which is its subject. And this is a late 2010s portrait of Jane Austen which is subtly influenced by the recent resurgence of feminism, and has finally got over the idea, prevalent in popular culture since the Austen screen-adaptation boom (dating from the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice), that Jane Austen was a thwarted romantic heroine with her own Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth who got away. In the introduction, Worsley explains that she draws on scholarship of the last decade about the influence of other women in Austen's social circle on her writing. Some were authors themselves, and are remembered nowadays only for their connection to her (a key acquaintance was perhaps with two sisters making a living as novelists, whom she met not long before beginning the publishing spree of her final decade); others were correspondents, and/or inspired characters - and her mother and sister were famously sharp-witted. Worsley's Jane Austen makes running jokes all her life about prospective beaux or proposals, sometimes involving distinctly unappealing local men, others realistic prospects, and one can never quite tell when she is serious, if she ever was. (There are plenty of quotes from the letters to this effect.) She is not a tragic heroine star-cross'd in love, but first and foremost a clever person with an eye for the irony and ridiculousness of the situation and expectations imposed on women of her class. She has had lucky escapes: from men she didn't marry who turned out to be sanctimonious, unpleasant, dull or frighteningly prolific fathers; from being barred from signing contracts as a married woman, and from the fates of a number of female friends and relatives who died or were permanently weakened in pregnancy and childbirth. (Some might argue that the childfree Worsley is influenced in this perspective by her own outlook, but it also helps rebalance the Becoming Jane type narratives, and emphasises the historical reality which a focus on Austen's young protagonists omits: that Regency marriage was no happy-ever-after for many people, especially women.) Austen’s awkward social rank means she made friends with others of ambiguous rank, such as a governess employed by distant, wealthy relatives. She is good with people in many ways, but not perfect. She was scornful about the unwell until she became seriously ill herself; she made unlucky decisions about money. (Worsley contrasts Austen's meagre earnings in the hundreds of pounds with the £11k and £17k accumulated by Burney and Edgeworth, but frustratingly does not explain what they did differently.) I was made to look again at the shift from Georgian to Victorian mores, a subject which has always intrigued me. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, it looked like a very strange time, as the way the present world worked was that things got more liberal – society at large was still in the wake of the 1960s and many ‘60s values’ were just obviously right, especially to political centrists and left-wingers. Fast-forward to the current decade and it feels like a realignment is in process; some things are becoming less liberal, but not everything, and the values of the 60s are critiqued and questioned by some schools of feminism and others on the left. I’ve said a few times to friends that some of our opinions make us like ageing 18th century roués disapproved of by strict young Victorians. Worsley is more concerned with paying close attention to the history than to making glib analogies. She explains that Austen, and more especially her peers who outlived her, chafed at the growing restrictions on women, and how walks like Lizzy Bennet’s famous trudge across fields would become less and less the done thing for middle- and upper-class women as the 19th century wore on. Worsley's enthusiastic new take on Austen, plus the passing of a lot of time, made Austen seem fresh and interesting again. I listened to this audiobook before the end of a nearly-year-long break from Goodreads, which also helped: I could just enjoy it as itself, and wasn’t in the awkward indie-hipster place I was whenever I saw Austen reviews and discussions, thinking, ‘I liked them a really long time ago before they were this popular, and now I find them a bit boring’. Aside from perhaps one sentence mentioning 'Mr Darcy' in *that* way, that unspoken assumption that everyone considers the character as some boyband-type heartthrob, (Have boybands done Regency-themed videos? They must have.) it was as if the book, and I, had managed to skip over the last 23 years of the Janeite Industrial Complex, which was wonderful. I've sometimes found its products superficially enticing as a sort of middle-England elegant trashy treat, a knowing opt-in to 'basic'ness, and then when I actually read a few pages of that ‘sequel’, or watched the film, I was bored and cringing. Austenland? Abandoned too soon for it to be right even to tag as abandoned. (I’d hoped it was a clever send-up of Austen obsessives, but it read too much like generic chick-lit.) In fairness, I never tried Longbourn, or that similar one by an established author that got good reviews and whose title I can't remember. But almost every time, that stuff was as much of a letdown as the fake plastic foam that was the reality of Chambourcy chocolate mousse (something else I consumed a lot of in my teens). And I didn’t gel with another significant area of modern Austen fandom: I hardly ever fancied the actors in costume dramas. Nowadays I can plausibly just say that most of them are too young, and that’s much simpler, somehow. Another of my resentments about Austen (none of which, by the way, were strong enough to stop me visiting the JA museum in Bath when I was on holiday in the area some time in the 00s) was concern about the influence that reading her books first among the ‘grown-ups classics’, and so many of them, might have had on me. (Because, when categorised that way, of their emphasis on romantic relationships as the primary concern of what I then felt to be ‘grown-ups’ and can now categorise as ‘people in their twenties’.) I also retrospectively felt patronised and pigeonholed by the male relative who’d recommended I start with Austen, and who didn’t really know me very well. However, I realised whilst listening to this book, at least it wasn’t the bloody Brontës! (I didn’t need anything else to promote the idea that tempestuousness was a prerequisite of being interesting – that may be a staple of art, but IRL it gets people nowhere very fast. Home and numerous other cultural bits and pieces were doing that already. I did read the main novel by each Brontë, but the three sisters were never ‘my thing’ the way Austen was for a few years, and I never understood why people like Miss Eyre so very much. Wildfell Hall is my personal favourite of theirs, and one of my favourite 19th century classics full stop.) What book would I have given or suggested instead? I’ve asked myself plenty of times over the years – for a kid that age who’d already read Conan Doyle, Stevenson, Ransome and other obvious crossover classics that bright children often read aged c.10-13. P&P as my first ‘proper grown-ups book’ was a landmark (anything available in Puffin classics, or stuff like Jonathan Livingston Seagull - animals not people, U-cert content, very short), and as such it seemed to have something important to do with ‘what being a grown-up was about’. And I felt the book had to be 19th century, because then one could rely on its not having obvious material of the sex-violence-and-swearing sort that schools and other families might deem unsuitable. Dickens was the obvious answer for a girl who often identified with male protagonists - and was living in a strict and sometimes volatile household - but now I’m also not sure that it was right to mark out one book or author as momentous. Just about everything else I read, I chose myself from shelves, after reading the back, or seeing it in lists in other books - and I didn’t feel that those books were singularly meaningful unless I found the content to be so. It’s too heavy a significance for one book or one author to carry, so I would let the kid choose in the bookshop or library and ask what such-and-such was like and see if it appealed to them. And actually explain that what was inside the book didn’t have to mean more about life than any other novel, just in case they felt the way I did at that age. It was great to have got further past something that had bothered me for years, and, even better, via a book by Lucy Worsley. Whilst Austen’s novels may not have been ideal for me to fixate on back then, her life was certainly a good thing for me to have read about. (Although perhaps the peripatetics and penury rubbed off a bit too much…) Her sense of humour about romance, and her career probably having been better because she was unattached, things that come through clearly in Worsley’s book, fit with the sort of stories about historical women that many contemporary parents are keen to give girls (albeit often in twee pre-packaged formats marked as gendered, rather than stumbling on stuff through personal exploration as one used to.) It’s only the lack of citations that stopped me giving the book 5 stars - I would have liked to feel more comfortable with the provenance of things Austen hadn’t written herself. (I’d have liked to hear them incorporated into the text, though I appreciate the majority audience for this audiobook probably prefers not to hear lots of clauses like, “As Jennifer Smith said in her 2006 paper, ‘Jane Austen and Her Doctors’,…” [fictional article].) But this is likely to be a problem with any non-fiction audio. With the proviso that it’s a long time since I’ve read anything else substantial about Austen, and this was audio so I didn’t necessarily notice everything, I wasn’t aware of any inaccuracies, only a few statements that could have been better supported: e.g. the odd aside like 4am as “the lowest point of the 24 hour cycle” for the human body – yes I’ve read something like that before too, but think it should be referenced (and recent research checked in case it has been disproven now). Worsley’s point about Austen being necessary for the Brontës’ work to happen – the Brontës as a reaction against Austen – was interesting, but I’d like to have heard more substance and references. And there really should have been more to back up a big claim in the social history sphere: that Austen’s novels were influential in increasing the acceptance of love-marriage in 19th century British society – this was mentioned almost in passing while wrapping up. Over all, though, Jane Austen at Home was most companionable and interesting, with the right blend of familiar and new, just as I had hoped when I started it. I rarely re-read books these days, but Lucy Worsley has converted me (or reverted me?) to the extent that I would, in theory at least, consider re-reading JA just as much as I would any other classic of her century.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. Lucy Worsley succeeds in presenting a three dimensional Jane Austen in this fascinating biography. She shows how the Austen family tried to sanitise the picture which was presented to the world after Jane's death but the evidence is still there if you choose to look for it. By reference to previous biographies, primary sources, the novels themselves and the juvenilia the author pieces together a very much more robust picture - warts and all. It i I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. Lucy Worsley succeeds in presenting a three dimensional Jane Austen in this fascinating biography. She shows how the Austen family tried to sanitise the picture which was presented to the world after Jane's death but the evidence is still there if you choose to look for it. By reference to previous biographies, primary sources, the novels themselves and the juvenilia the author pieces together a very much more robust picture - warts and all. It is well known that Cassandra Austen - Jane's sister - destroyed some of her letters after her death to help create the picture of her which has been handed down through the generations. But there is enough evidence in the surviving letters to show that Jane's character was not all sweetness and light. She was someone who belonged to the more robust culture of the eighteenth century rather than the more mealy mouthed and buttoned up nineteenth century culture. You only have to read Sense and Sensibility and appreciate the earthy vulgarity of Mrs Jennings to know that Jane Austen must have been aware of aspects of life which would not automatically be associated with a maiden aunt. Her letters show she was something of a flirt and had many possible suitors - all of whom she refused in the end. Jane Austen was very much aware of the facts of life. She also had a very well developed sense of the ridiculous and a sense of humour which could see something amusing in most situations. She also enjoyed misleading people and her letters and the novels can be read on many levels and it is very far from clear whether she is joking or being serious. This is a book to read and re-read and Lucy Worsley has written what to my mind is one of the best books about Jane Austen ever written. The book contains a comprehensive bibliography as well as an index ad notes on sources throughout the text. If you only read one book on Jane Austen this year then make it this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Una absoluta maravilla; no puedo encontrar las palabras para explicar cuánto he disfrutado esta lectura y lo interesante que me ha parecido todo lo que la autora nos ha contado acerca de la vida de Jane. Lo mejor, creo, es que tanta admiración no nace solo de lo mucho que ansiaba leer este libro por el cariño que siento por la obra y la vida de Jane sino porque me he encontrado con un trabajo monumental que en muchos pasajes me dejó boquiabierta. Tan solo de pensar en la labor de documentación l Una absoluta maravilla; no puedo encontrar las palabras para explicar cuánto he disfrutado esta lectura y lo interesante que me ha parecido todo lo que la autora nos ha contado acerca de la vida de Jane. Lo mejor, creo, es que tanta admiración no nace solo de lo mucho que ansiaba leer este libro por el cariño que siento por la obra y la vida de Jane sino porque me he encontrado con un trabajo monumental que en muchos pasajes me dejó boquiabierta. Tan solo de pensar en la labor de documentación llevada a cabo por Lucy Worsley; el conocimiento acumulado durante lo que sin duda han de haber sido años; el amor y respeto casi palpables por su objeto de estudio... tiemblo, me conmuevo y mi admiración crece hasta el infinito. Considero dejar este libro cerca de mi mesita de noche durante mucho tiempo para ir releyendo algunos pasajes marcados de cuando en cuando ♥

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    [4.5] Worsley brilliantly and delightfully details Jane Austen's domestic life - her homes, habits, finances, writing, family relationships and more. The author's focus on the minute details of Jane's life was never tedious but quite captivating. Through the window of Jane's life, I also learned a great deal about life in Georgian England. I loved listening to Ruth Redman's wonderful audio narration.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Galena Sanz

    Cuando vi que este libro iba a salir a la venta supe que quería leerlo. ¿Conocéis esa sensación de cuando veis un libro e intuís que os va a gustar? Obviamente en este caso acerté, ha sido una lectura maravillosa. He descubierto muchas cosas que no conocía de Jane Austen y aunque en Cartas ya había visto mucho de su vida, con este libro me he organizado mejor sobre quien era quien y qué posición ocupaban en su vida sus padres, sus hermanos, sus cuñada, sobrinas y pretendientes. La autora hace un Cuando vi que este libro iba a salir a la venta supe que quería leerlo. ¿Conocéis esa sensación de cuando veis un libro e intuís que os va a gustar? Obviamente en este caso acerté, ha sido una lectura maravillosa. He descubierto muchas cosas que no conocía de Jane Austen y aunque en Cartas ya había visto mucho de su vida, con este libro me he organizado mejor sobre quien era quien y qué posición ocupaban en su vida sus padres, sus hermanos, sus cuñada, sobrinas y pretendientes. La autora hace un gran trabajo citando dichas cartas, pero no se limita a las de Jane o su familia, sino que también aporta citaciones de otras personas contemporáneas de esa época para que podamos hacernos una idea clara de lo que significaba vivir en ese momento histórico. También ha sido magnífico que la autora relacione hechos de la vida de Jane con sus novelas. Podemos ver como se inspiró en algunos de sus familiares para crear algunos de sus personajes, a veces incluso intuimos que en ella misma. Por ejemplo, la señora y la señorita Bates, en Emma, junto a su sobrina Jane Farifax podrían haber sido Jane, Cassandra y su madre, viviendo juntas en una pobreza que nunca se imaginaron. Asimismo, se desprende mucho de la importancia que Jane le da al hogar y podemos ver cómo va evolucionando su opinión sobre el tema en sus diferentes novelas. Las descripciones de las casas parroquiales tienen mucho de lo que ella vivió, de la costa y el mar, de las grandes mansiones… Para mí, Worsley hace un gran trabajo al relacionarlo todo, podemos ver el conjunto. No solo a la Jane escritora o a la Jane tía y hermana, todo junto y bien contextualizado. Creo que esa es la razón por la que sienta que conozco mucho mejor a Jane Austen y su contexto, entiendo mejor a lo que se tuvo que enfrentar y a lo que se debían enfrentar las mujeres en su época. O se casaban y se centraban en ser madres (muchas de ellas corriendo grave peligro) o se quedaban solteras, dependientes de sus familias, a veces sin hogar y sin recursos, y por supuesto, ocupaban un papel en la sociedad muy denostado. También podemos seguir de cerca sus peripecias a la hora de publicar y escribir. Quería ganar dinero con sus novelas y lo hizo, aunque no tanto como debiera. A Jane le gustaba leer las críticas sobre sus novelas y he disfrutado mucho esos momentos, podemos intuir la emoción de ganar por fin su propio dinero, de saber que su escritura era valorada (en su entorno familiar James Austen, su hermano, era considerado el escritor de la familia). El estilo narrativo es muy ameno, Lucy Worsley deja caer su opinión bastantes veces y no me avergüenza admitir que suelo estar de acuerdo con ella. Somos fans de Jane Austen y se nota, por ese si te gusta la autora este es un libro que no te puedes perder, dudo que defraude a nadie. Dicho esto, os animo a darle una oportunidad a esta biografía y a las novelas de Jane Austen, si todavía no lo habéis hecho, es una escritora que merece mucho la pena. Sus novelas mejoran con cada relectura, tiene el poder de mostrarnos algo nuevo cada vez que las leemos y son una joya para mostrarnos cómo era la vida en su época.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    This is a meticulously researched bio of Jane Austen, warts and all. We follow Jane and her family from home to home, including schools, visits, vacations, assemblies, even occasional Inns. This is a book by a Janeite for Janeites. There were some points where I was reading about cousins and neighbors and wondering 'wait where is Jane in all this again?' You really understand the 'genteel' poverty the Austen women suffered from after her father's death. And will marvel at how some relatives of me This is a meticulously researched bio of Jane Austen, warts and all. We follow Jane and her family from home to home, including schools, visits, vacations, assemblies, even occasional Inns. This is a book by a Janeite for Janeites. There were some points where I was reading about cousins and neighbors and wondering 'wait where is Jane in all this again?' You really understand the 'genteel' poverty the Austen women suffered from after her father's death. And will marvel at how some relatives of means could have easily elevated them but didn't. Ms. Worsley even points out how miserly their existence at the cottage compared to the luxury of the Knight family enjoyed only a few yards away. The text ends at 74% on the Kindle with the remainder of the book filled with acknowledgements and the meticulously researched footnotes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Después de pasar unas cuantas semanas sumergida en la vida de Jane Austen me resulta muy difícil cerrar definitivamente esta admirable biografía. Esta especie de diario privado de alguien a quien quieres y ya no está aquí. No puedo decir otra cosa que: gracias, Lucy Worsley. Gracias por darnos a conocer "otra" Jane.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Did you know that Jane Austen had an aunt named Philadelphia who most likely was a sex worker? I did not. I also didn't know that Covent Garden was the red-light district of London back in the day and that "apprentice hat maker" was often a euphemism for "performs sex work on the side." Poor Phila, just trying to survive after her parents died and her uncle left all his money to her brother for his education. Also, did you know that in her private letters Jane made jokes about sodomy? Very witty Did you know that Jane Austen had an aunt named Philadelphia who most likely was a sex worker? I did not. I also didn't know that Covent Garden was the red-light district of London back in the day and that "apprentice hat maker" was often a euphemism for "performs sex work on the side." Poor Phila, just trying to survive after her parents died and her uncle left all his money to her brother for his education. Also, did you know that in her private letters Jane made jokes about sodomy? Very witty ones too. Two of her brothers were in the navy, so I guess she would know about it based on that. No wonder the family burned so many of her letters. Anyway, this is a passionate yet clear-eyed biography that describes Austen's home life and her struggles to get out of genteel poverty while trying to be grateful for the scraps her family gave her. She had a reputation for being forthright to which I say RIGHT ON. And her family tried to prettify her life and legacy by saying what lovely manners she had and how nice her handwriting was and how good she was at housework, to which I say SHUT IT AND DON'T HATE HER BECAUSE YOU AIN'T HER. In short, this book is worth breaking out the CAPS LOCK key.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Siria

    This year is the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death, and Lucy Worsley's biography is an excellent memorial to her. The prose does at times get a bit affected, but this is overall a warm, clear-eyed look at the life of a pioneering author. Worsley is careful to avoid sensationalism—she neatly dismantles, for instance, the old canard that Tom Lefroy was the "real Mr. Darcy", the love of Austen's life who got away—or the temptation to assume that all of Austen's heroines are somehow copies of her, This year is the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death, and Lucy Worsley's biography is an excellent memorial to her. The prose does at times get a bit affected, but this is overall a warm, clear-eyed look at the life of a pioneering author. Worsley is careful to avoid sensationalism—she neatly dismantles, for instance, the old canard that Tom Lefroy was the "real Mr. Darcy", the love of Austen's life who got away—or the temptation to assume that all of Austen's heroines are somehow copies of her, their narratives the key to Austen's own private life. Instead, to much greater effect than any other biography of Austen's that I've read, Worsley teases out the quiet desperation of being a woman perched on the precarious ranks of the lower gentry in Georgian England, the way Austen's novels turn on issues of home and security, and the then revolutionary nature of Austen's prose and her concern with the importance of women's feelings. (How many novels before Austen foregrounded women's wants and desires?) It's still quite astounding to think that a woman with little formal education, who was never part of salon society or a correspondence networks of other authors, managed to sit in a succession of small rooms and come up with an entirely new approach to novel writing which may now seem commonplace but which still resonates.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    It's a little embarrassing to admit how much I cried at the end of this book -- especially since it's not like I didn't know how things would end! But I think my strong emotional reaction is a testament to how deeply Lucy Worsley draws you into Jane Austen's world. And despite my (many) tears during the last chapters, the vast majority of this book is enjoyable to read. I love how Worsley takes little things like furniture purchases and uses them to examine the day to day details of Jane Austen' It's a little embarrassing to admit how much I cried at the end of this book -- especially since it's not like I didn't know how things would end! But I think my strong emotional reaction is a testament to how deeply Lucy Worsley draws you into Jane Austen's world. And despite my (many) tears during the last chapters, the vast majority of this book is enjoyable to read. I love how Worsley takes little things like furniture purchases and uses them to examine the day to day details of Jane Austen's life. I also love how she ties these details in with Austen's own letters to capture her spirit and humor. I'd highly recommend this to any Austen fans, even if you don't (like me) usually read a lot of biographies.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. I enjoyed Worsley's approach in explaining Jane Austen's life according to her residences. The enthusiasm and detail that shines through kept me engaged from page one through to the conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain insight into the life of Jane Austen-not just her works, but how she lived her day to day. I can also see this as a useful companion book to a class being taught about Jane Austen, particularl I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. I enjoyed Worsley's approach in explaining Jane Austen's life according to her residences. The enthusiasm and detail that shines through kept me engaged from page one through to the conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain insight into the life of Jane Austen-not just her works, but how she lived her day to day. I can also see this as a useful companion book to a class being taught about Jane Austen, particularly at the graduate level.

  27. 5 out of 5

    H.A. Leuschel

    What a fascinating read! It is obvious that the author has thoroughly researched the life of Jane Austen and the bibliography at the end of the book is incredible. I really felt like Jane Austen's life came alive in front of my eyes as I progressed through the book and I purposely took my time to read it! Highly recommended if you are interested in a detailed portrait of one of England's best loved authors of all times.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I have been reading Jane and about Jane for thirty-nine years. I found Jane Austen at Home to be revealing and thoughtful, expanding my understanding, and bringing Jane to life as a living, breathing woman. I so enjoyed every bit of Jane Austen at Home. "Miss Austen's merits have long been established beyond a question: she is, emphatically, the novelist of home."Richard Bentley, publishing Jane Austen's novels in 1833 Worsley offers this quotation at the beginning of her Introduction. The search I have been reading Jane and about Jane for thirty-nine years. I found Jane Austen at Home to be revealing and thoughtful, expanding my understanding, and bringing Jane to life as a living, breathing woman. I so enjoyed every bit of Jane Austen at Home. "Miss Austen's merits have long been established beyond a question: she is, emphatically, the novelist of home."Richard Bentley, publishing Jane Austen's novels in 1833 Worsley offers this quotation at the beginning of her Introduction. The search for home is central to Austen's fiction, Worsley contends. Jane herself lost her first home, the Stevenson parsonage, upon her father's retirement. She moved from rental to rental before her eldest brother Edward, adopted into a wealthy family, offered his mother and sisters Chawton Cottage. Austen's characters are in need of a home, have lost a home, are concerned about home in some way. Charlotte even enters a loveless marriage with Rev. Collins to have a home. And yet Jane turned down the opportunity to be a woman with a substantial home with the brother of her dear friends. The book is about the importance of 'home' and how Jane was impacted by her homes. It is also about family, and friendships, and love affairs, and the greater world, and most of all, Jane's dedication to her novels and how she used the world she knew to create her fictional worlds. The book appears in four acts, a nod to Jane's love of theater and plays. Act One: A Sunday Morning at the Rectory presents Jane's childhood home and younger years, including her teenage trip to the Bath "marriage mart." Act Two: A Sojourner in a Strange Land follows Jane and her family into the series of rental homes, vacations, and visits after her father's retirement from ministry: Bath, Southampton, Lyme Regis, and their Bigg's friend's home Manydown. All of these locations appear in her novels. Act Three: A Real Home finds Jane, Cassandra, their mother and Martha Lloyd living in a gifted home provided by Edward (nee' Austen now Knight). Act Four: The End, and After concerns Jane's later years, last novels, and illness and death. It was interesting to read that, based on a pelisse Jane may have worn, her measurements were 33-24-33 and that she was a stately 5'7" tall. The small waist would have been from wearing stays as a girl. She had high cheek bones and full cheeks with good color, and long light brown hair with a natural curl. Jane had many suitors over her life; those who perhaps she wished would make an offer did not, and those who showed interest or did offer she turned down. As Worsley remarks, consider the novels that would never have been born had Jane wed! Had she married she may have ended up like her niece Anna, worn out by age thirty from successive pregnancies. Jane died two hundred years ago. Her family lived into the Victorian Age and endeavored to make Jane palatable to the new era by presenting a pious and loving Aunt Jane who excelled at spillikins. The real woman had a sharp wit and acerbic pen which she employed to earn money to live on. And Mrs. Austen, for all her ailments, loved to put dig her own potatoes and muck about in the kitchen garden! No wonder this Austen family seemed lacking in sophistication by Victorian standards. The impact of slavery, plantations in the Caribbean, and the Napoleonic Wars on Jane's world and her family are also shown. With brothers in the navy, relatives invested in slave plantations, the bank failure of one brother and an aunt who was charged with shoplifting, Jane's life was anything but sheltered! I am asking for this book as a birthday present, to sit on my shelf with my Jane Austen sets. I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    IzamaRi H. Fabela

    RESEÑA COMPLETA ➜ https://goo.gl/ou8mZ6 Al escuchar el nombre de Jane Austen todos inmediatamente pensamos en Orgullo y prejuicio y el señor Darcy. Algunos lo harán pensando en el libro, otros más en la película o en la serie de 1995, pero todos sabemos algo acerca de esta autora nacida en 1775. En mi caso la conocí cuando tenía alrededor de 13 años pues en la secundaria nos hicieron leer uno de sus libros y vimos sobre su historia pero en realidad había muchas cosas que desconocía y que me RESEÑA COMPLETA ➜ https://goo.gl/ou8mZ6 Al escuchar el nombre de Jane Austen todos inmediatamente pensamos en Orgullo y prejuicio y el señor Darcy. Algunos lo harán pensando en el libro, otros más en la película o en la serie de 1995, pero todos sabemos algo acerca de esta autora nacida en 1775. En mi caso la conocí cuando tenía alrededor de 13 años pues en la secundaria nos hicieron leer uno de sus libros y vimos sobre su historia pero en realidad había muchas cosas que desconocía y que me llamaba la atención saber de ella, es por eso que en cuento vi este libro que es una biografía supe que tenía que leerla y de verdad que no me arrepiento de nada pues aunque la lectura no es lo que se dice precisamente ligera ha sido una lectura que verdad he disfrutado mucho. La mayor hazaña de Jane sería conseguir que las chicas normales, imperfectas, de carne y hueso que leían sus libros pensaran que también ellas madera de heroínas. Lucy Worsley comienza esta biografía con los padres de Jane recién casados y nos cuenta el entorno del que vienen. Los Austen eran familia poderosa, relacionada con grandes personajes dentro de la pompa y nata de sociedad londinense pero en concreto los padres de Jane eran una familia venida a menos que dependía un poco al inicio a su parentela poderosa. Gracias a cartas escritas por la familia de Jane y a registros históricos, la autora nos cuenta como fue para Jane vivir en este entorno familiar y sabemos gracias a ellos como repercutió más adelante en sus novelas. Además de conocer el entorno que modeló a Jane, nos adentramos en todas las limitaciones que tenía por ser mujer o más bien, por ser una mujer soltera que tenía que depender de sus hermanos mayores. En este libro no sólo vamos a conocer a la Jane detrás de los libros sino que también veremos a la Jane niña, a la tía, a la hermana, a la humana detrás de esas heroínas que han traspasado el tiempo. El libro además no sólo se enfoca en la vida de Jane antes de ser autora sino que también veremos cómo fue para ella publicar su primera novela y todas limitantes con las que tuvo que enfrentar en el camino. De hecho, es bien sabido que al inicio de su carrera tuvo que mantenerse en el anonimato. Les decía más arriba que no ha sido una lectura ligera, de hecho admito que me la fui leyendo en pequeñas dosis mientras leía otras cosas, pero no sea crean que lo hice así porque me resultaba aburrida, sino al contrario, la historia de Jane y la forma de contar de Worsley son adictivas pero se nota que la autora hizo una ardua labor en documentarse pues la cantidad de datos recopilados es impresionante, tanto así que a veces me abrumaba un poquito y necesitaba despejarme un poco. Aún con ello las tres semanas que me llevó leer este libro han valido totalmente la pena, sobre todo porque a lo largo del libro Worsley va poniendo frases de los libros de Jane y los va relacionando con la vida de la autora y las personas que la rodean. Me ha parecido un detalle encantador, que además me hizo desear leer los libros que me faltan de ella pues ahora puedo comprender un poco lo que hay detrás de cada historia y personajes y podré relacionarlos con su vida día a día. En resumen, Jane Austen en la intimidad es una de las mejores biografías que he tenido el placer de leer, una biografía perfectamente documentada que nos dejara ver el rostro más humano de una de las autoras más famosas a nivel mundial. RESEÑA COMPLETA ➜ https://goo.gl/ou8mZ6

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    When I was nine years old I had to do a report at school on a “Famous Woman.” I picked Jane Austen. Naturally, our tiny school library had no biographies on Austen, so I grabbed a book on Queen Elizabeth I instead. The irony here is that I would develop a lifelong obsession with the Tudors—but after reading this book, I learned that Jane Austen deeply disliked Queen Bess. Oops! What Lucy Worsley does with this book is truly astonishing. It’s meticulously researched, providing intricate details ab When I was nine years old I had to do a report at school on a “Famous Woman.” I picked Jane Austen. Naturally, our tiny school library had no biographies on Austen, so I grabbed a book on Queen Elizabeth I instead. The irony here is that I would develop a lifelong obsession with the Tudors—but after reading this book, I learned that Jane Austen deeply disliked Queen Bess. Oops! What Lucy Worsley does with this book is truly astonishing. It’s meticulously researched, providing intricate details about the daily life of the Austen family. It also presents rich context into how Jane Austen’s relatives, experiences, and acute attention to changing public interests likely shaped the stories she told. I love the parallels that Worsley draws between Jane’s life and her works, but I also love that she stresses the difficulty of some things we take for granted, like travel (50 miles was an arduous distance to cover), and the expense of publishing when paper was a luxury. Twenty years after I went looking for this book, I’m so glad it found me at this time. I’m reminded why I love Austen’s work, of course, but this also brought me back to that indescribable feeling of experiencing her art for the first time. This book was truly a gift that arrived at the perfect moment. See more of my reviews: Blog // Instagram

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