The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things

Paula Byrne. Harper, $29.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-199909-3
Just in time for the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (first published in January 1813), comes Paula Byrne's vivacious new portrait of its author. The approach Byrne (Jane Austen and the Theatre) takes is refreshingly material-based and the book is experimental in structure; each chapter unfolds from the biographer's description of a small object associated with Austen's life (chapter titles include "The East Indian Shawl", "The Cocked Hat" "The Card of Lace", "The Crimson Velvet Cushions", and "The Topaz Crosses"). This technique serves two functions: firstly, it honors the precision for which Austen was famed by drawing attention to the material artifacts of her life; secondly, it challenges the "‘official' family biography of Jane Austen," which stresses the novelist's "enclosed, sequestered world", coloring Austen's life with the same "ivory miniature" quality she famously ascribed to her fiction. Byrne's Austen, as revealed through this archive of objects, emerges as a worldly woman, profoundly enmeshed in a wider world than she's often acknowledged to occupy. This is an Austen with a sense for the political as well as for the finer points of sensibility—and one who will be unfamiliar (though never unrecognizable) to many readers. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
Show other formats
Hardcover - 380 pages - 978-0-00-735834-2
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-0-06-199910-9
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-00-756512-2
Book - 978-0-06-226336-0
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-00-735833-5
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-219906-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-00-747976-4
Hardcover - 380 pages - 978-0-00-735832-8
Hardcover - 978-0-00-746818-8
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.