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Get A Copy. Published December 5th by Oxford University Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 22, Duane rated it liked it Shelves: book-challenge , reviewed-books , non-fiction , rated-books , biographies. Austen-Leigh was a nephew of Jane Austen and his account of her life, her memoir, is gracious and flattering, as you would expect from a proud relative.
He wrote this from his personal recollections, but he was only 19 when she died and this document was written over 50 years after her death. So his depth of material was somewhat limited and he even states in the first chapter, "Of events, her life was singularly barren: few changes and no great crisis ever broke the smooth current of it's c Mr. So his depth of material was somewhat limited and he even states in the first chapter, "Of events, her life was singularly barren: few changes and no great crisis ever broke the smooth current of it's course".
He also admits his limitations as a writer and this being written in a late Victorian style, many people may find it challenging. But if you are a big Jane Austen fan, as I am, you may find some interesting facts here. I enjoyed reading the deleted chapter from Persuasion. It was good, certainly better written than this one, but it still left me thinking there must be something better out there.
After all, we are talking about one of the most popular writers ever.
She is certainly derserving of a first rate biography. Unfortunately, he has decided to promote her as the ideal Victorian spinster, who never did a wrong thing in her life. He claims the family were "never troubled by disagreements", which if you've read Jane Austen's Letters by Deirdre Le Faye editor you know that this is clearly not the case. Jane wrote in one of her letters to her niece that "Pictures of perfection, as y This is a pompous, saccharine, Victorian memoir of Jane Austen by her clergyman nephew Mr Collins James Edward Austen-Leigh.
Jane wrote in one of her letters to her niece that "Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.. View 2 comments. This book isn't important or even interesting because of the words in it. What makes this book important are the words that are deliberately left out, cut from a picture that didn't fit.
This is a memoir of Jane Austen written by her own family. It was written because the Austen-family feared that if they didn't write it, someone else would. It is written in the vain hope of securing a fitting image of a prestigious author — even if it means reshaping the actual image. And in fact, James Edward A This book isn't important or even interesting because of the words in it. And in fact, James Edward Austen-Leigh literally did alter the only remaining image of Jane Austen in order to write this memoir.
The only image of Austen was a rough sketch made by Jane Austen's sister Cassandra. In the sketch Austen looked cross and annoyed; her features were all angles and her elbows were crossed. Austen-Leigh felt that Cassandra's sketch wouldn't do and requested a new one, specifically made for his memoir.
Cassandra's sketch was sent to an artist, it was redrawn, and a new Jane Austen emerged; a much more mildly looking and doe-eyed woman, who could live up to her new image. The remaking of the sketch is, in many ways, symbolic of Austen-Leigh's entire memoir. He leaves important facts out, doesn't mention the bankruptcy of Jane Austen's brother, cuts off Jane Austen's letters whenever they get problematic and constantly tries to underline the fact, that Jane Austen wasn't merely a writer.
According to Austen-Leigh she was first and foremost a homely woman, a loving aunt and a sensible daughter. A reoccurring image is that of Austen's hands, creating something more womanly fitting than words and novels. None of us could throw spilikins in so perfect a circle, or take them off with so steady a hand. Her performances with a cup and ball were marvellous.
In those days there was an art in folding and sealing. No adhesive envelopes made all easy. Some people's letters always looked loose and untidy; but her paper was sure to take the right folds, and her sealing-wax to drop the right place. It is so interesting to read this memoir critically and wonder how it influenced Jane Austen's afterlife. Jane was a person with high spirit, wit and intelligence, and these claims make her out to look like a small spinster, who dabbled in story writing, but who obtained the greatest pleasure from keeping house.
Very untrue, indeed. Having said that, it is still worth a look, if one reads it with a grain of salt. Overall, I would suggest it, since it is so often referred to in biographies written about Jane. The primary work in this valuable collection is the "Memoir" by James Edward Austen-Leigh--a nephew of the great author. Though it was written decades after the death of Jane Austen, it remains an immensely valuable first-hand source. It is not a biography in the modern sense at all; rather it is a recollection culled from various family sources emphasizing the genuine love Jane Austen inspired in those who were intimately acquainted with her.
There can be no doubt but that this book recalls a v The primary work in this valuable collection is the "Memoir" by James Edward Austen-Leigh--a nephew of the great author. There can be no doubt but that this book recalls a very domestic Jane Austen indeed. It is questionable if JEAL actually understood how great a literary figure his aunt was. He mentions that those who most appreciate her ". Leavis in his first chapter of "The Great Tradition": "Jane Austen is one of the truly great writers, and herself a major fact in the background of other great writers. Her work, like the work of all great creative writers, gives a meaning to the past.
JEAL does include extracts from the very funny "Plan of a Novel, according to hints from various quarters. You can find them in R.
Chapman's "Minor Works" as well as the "Plan". As to her death, her nephew does convey the bafflement and anguish created by that final illness which took her away at the height of her powers. In all likelihood it was either Addison's or Hodgkin's Disease--neither of which was understood in the 19th century. It includes other family reminiscences, illustrations, a family tree, a very fine introduction by Kathryn Sutherland and her excellent explanatory notes which are enormously effective in expanding the context of the "Memoir".
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I was pretty disappointed by this one. I'm a massive fan of the books by Jane Austen and I was really looking forward to getting to know the author a bit better. This book includes 3 biographies by people who knew Jane Austen which could have been interesting but: - They literally copy things from one another. It's obvious that they only want to share the warm and positive things even though we know that this wasn't always how life was. I was having high hopes of seeing Jane Austen from her family's point of view but I honestly feel like her Wikipedia page will let me get to know her better than this book ever will.
Oct 24, Shayne rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This is quite a charming account of Jane Austen's life, written years after her death by her nephew, assisted by two of his sisters. It's diffident, and gently affectionate; noticeably careful in what it says, but not descending into hagiography. By her nephew's account Jane was a much-loved daughter, sister and aunt, warm-hearted and certainly witty, but not someone who would stand out in a crowd.
As well as many biographical details, the memoir includes several letters from Jane to other family members, and these are a delight: witty and entertaining, as well as affectionate. There are also some snippets about her characters that Jane shared with her family: "She would, if asked, tell us many little particulars about the subsequent career of some of her people.
There's a certain amount of self-censoring; Jane's brother Henry's bankruptcy, for instance, is only hinted at.
A Memoir of Jane Austen and Other Family Recollections by J.E. Austen Leigh
My favourite piece of bowderisation is in Austen-Leigh's quote from a letter of Jane's. His version has "Give my love to little Cassandra [a niece]! I hope she found my bed comfortable last night". He left off the last few words of that sentence: "and has not filled it with fleas.
May 05, Sherwood Smith added it Shelves: historyth-c , memoir. I avoided reading this for the longest time, assuming it would be content-free hagiography. Was I wrong! Though it is very much late Victorian in tone, it's the crispy, slightly ironic but altogether compassionate view that one sometimes sees in those whose lives spanned most of the s. Read in conjunction with Deirdre Le Faye's edition of the Letters, it is an especial treat. And the fact that Jane enter I avoided reading this for the longest time, assuming it would be content-free hagiography.
And the fact that Jane entertained kids with fantasy stories. View all 3 comments. Jane Austen has been a favourite author of mine for a long time now. Ashamedly, I have neglected to read any biography on her which I sought to rectify with this lovely little memoir and other family recollections. I thought this would be appropriate for my first read as I'm yet to finish all of her novels.
Many biographies tend to spoil the novel's in full which I seek to avoid until I've managed to get through them all. I thought this memoir, written by her nephew, would be great to start off Jane Austen has been a favourite author of mine for a long time now.
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I thought this memoir, written by her nephew, would be great to start off with. To begin with, I really loved the first section of the book. It the main memoir written by James Edward Austen-Leigh. It was very sweet, and you really got the feel he loved and admired his aunt. However, I didn't so much like the other family recollections. They were quite dull to read and very repetitive. It is quite obvious James used these as the foundations for his memoir, so reading over some of the quotes he picked out became a little tedious and boring.
Although, some of the things the other family members another nephew and a niece included was interesting, I just thought it could have been better without, or at least omitted the bits that he repeated. My only other issue with this is the reliability. Highly religious, angelic, quiet, meek and doesn't venture outside of the ordinary female entertainment so knowing nothing of politics, economy, and so on.
He obviously wanted to preserve Jane's image, and wanted to do this through a positive outlook, but you could tell it was a little exaggerated. I wanted to know the real Jane - who cares what the uptight Victorian society has to say I mean, she is dead!! Other than that, I really enjoyed this! It's so fun unpicking your favourite authors bit by bit through biographies and memoirs like this. I liked knowing the life and story behind my favourite authors, especially those from the 19th century, as life was so different then.
I'd definitely recommend. Oct 29, Bfisher rated it liked it Shelves: biography. That is the main charm of this work, the indirect view it affords of the environmental constraints that Jane Austen had to operate in; a confirmation of the relentless chase for social advantage by her contemporaries, and of the shade that women of great ability had to grow within. Oct 13, Juliana Lira rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography , non-fiction , memoirs-biography. Lovely memories about my favourite authors and most special that it comes from people who knew and lived with her.
James Edward, with the help of his sisters Carolina Austen and Anna Lefroy, gives us an intimate view from their beloved aunt such like her manners, temperament, humour and way of life. The author also Lovely memories about my favourite authors and most special that it comes from people who knew and lived with her. The author also gives interesting studies about the historical period of Regency England and other members of the Austen family and relatives who were important to the famous one.
This is not a typical biography book in the modern sense, but it is a rich recollection of what left over from one of the best British authors. Jun 06, Nicoleta Fedorca rated it liked it. James Edward Austen Leigh published her aunt memoir more than fifty years after her death.
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Not too much was known by the public about the author of 'pride and prejudice' 'sense and sensibility' 'Emma' when she was alive and after her death when her novels became more popular people wanted to know more. She had 7 brothers and sisters but JEAL mentions only 6 in his memoir, the family was close to each other but she was closest with Cassandra her only sister. Much of what is known about Jane Austen James Edward Austen Leigh published her aunt memoir more than fifty years after her death.
Much of what is known about Jane Austen life is known from her correspondence with Cassandra. Before her death Cassandra also destroyed lots of letters from her sister. In this memoir JEAL writes about his and his families memories of her, about the places she lived and the influence those had on her work. Fascinating to read how her family tried to manage her story at first. All the biographies I have read of Jane start from this one so I was long overdue to read. I enjoyed all the different pieces to this very sedate biography. Excellent read!
My Austen in August quest to read more about Jane Austen's life begins with the first 'official' biography. Written in the late Victorian period, more than fifty years after she died, A Memoir of Jane Austen is offered to readers as a kind of 'family record' of the author.