Review: The Real Jane Austen: A Life of Small Things by Paula Byrne
Author: Paula Byrne
Published: January 1, 2013
ISBN 13: 9780062199065
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work. Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen’s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrne’s portrait—organized thematically and drawn from the most up-to-date scholarship and unexplored sources—explores the lives of Austen’s extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Through their absorbing stories, we view Austen on a much wider stage and discover unexpected aspects of her life and character. Byrne transports us to different worlds—the East Indies and revolutionary Paris—and different events—from a high society scandal to a petty case of shoplifting, She follows Austen on her extensive travels, setting her in contexts both global and English, urban and rural, political and historical, social and domestic—wider perspectives of vital and still under-estimated importance to her creative life.
I don't think I'll ever tire of reading about Jane Austen. There's something about her that captivates me. I've read several biographies about Austen, but I couldn't stay away from this one. Byrne writes this book, not about the things most of her audience are familiar with, but on the things in her life that seemed to have the biggest impact on her that made her the author that we fell in love with. This book is very untextbook-like and really easy to read. Byrne goes over in great detail, but without boring her audience, the life of Jane Austen. The author opened my eyes to many aspects of her family life that transverses into her novels. How the influence of her favorite authors inspired her work. After I finished this book I wanted to go back and reread not only Austen's books but also read the authors that Austen adored. The Real Jane Austen has made me appreciate Austen on a whole new level.