Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Brother
This attractive coffee-table sized biography has long caught my eye for many reasons. One, being the superb and striking color of the cover (I love purple!), Secondly, because it is by Janet Todd, who is well-known for her many scholarly works on Jane Austen and other female authors. And finally, because it comes with removable memorabilia! In recognition of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s passing this month, I thought reading about Jane Austen, her life, her times…and her novels would be a most apropos way to remember and commemorate her. 😉
This 112 page collection is divided into twenty-two chapters. Each chapter is between four and six pages long and there is at least one image per page. In three separate locations of the book are purple envelopes that hold removable facsimiles of letters, manuscripts, articles, and other items such as a map of Bath. The text provides a concise overview of Jane Austen’s life, her family, important events that happened during her lifetime, and the creation and publishing of her novels.
MY READING EXPERIENCE:
I loved how the chapters were organized in this collection. I love that the history of Jane Austen’s life was interspersed between the chapters about her novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of images from Jane Austen’s novels and movies as well artwork relevant to the time period. The images were large, stunning, and tied into the text beautifully. And I thought it was so fun to have removable bits to take out and touch and explore. One of my favorites was looking at the map of Bath and trying to find all the places mentioned in Jane Austen’s novels and biographies. In addition, I love the copy of “The History of England” complete with illustrations from Cassandra Austen! I will say though, that the handwritten manuscripts and letters were a bit hard to read, so sadly I often didn’t read them all the way through.
Similar to Maggie Lane’s Jane Austen’s World, this book is not intending to be a scholarly study that shares a detailed and extensive analysis of Jane Austen’s life. It is a beautiful and elegant visual feast that provides readers with an understanding of who Jane was and what she experienced in her life. I am happy to say that I did learn some new things about Jane Austen that I didn’t know before, such as Mansfield Park earned her the most profit in her lifetime and that there were several stressful and worrisome incidents that took place in the Austen family in the years 1814-1817 that may have helped contribute to Jane Austen’s failing health.
Jane Austen, Her Life, Her Times, and Her Novels is a supremely gorgeous and informative volume! I think any Jane Austen fan or admirer would be more than delighted to have such a lovely tome to peruse and grace their bookshelf!
I hope you enjoy this little video preview I made!
Sorry the page flipping is in reverse order, it just worked so much better when I did it with my left hand!