Mar 012011

An Insightful Biography on Jane Austen’s Popularity and Phenomena

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

Those who know a little about Jane Austen’s life, know that she didn’t always enjoy the vast readership and iconic status that she does today. Throughout her lifetime, when her newly published novels were fashionable and her identity a curious mystery, Jane Austen only received some mild popularity and acclaim. And when she died and her identity was revealed, the reading world did not immediately embrace our beloved author, and her fame dwindled. We all know that since then, Jane Austen’s fame and fandom has become illimitable. Today, Jane Austen is renowned, revered, celebrated, reinterpreted, and ardently admired and loved.

How did this happen? Who or what are the causes for Jane Austen’s global, fervent, and rampant popularity two hundred years later?

I took great pleasure in discovering the history of Jane Austen’s rise in notoriety in this well-researched and thorough biography. I found the first couple of chapters, where Ms. Harman challenged several myths about Jane Austen’s life fascinating. I whole-heartedly agree with her claim that Jane Austen most likely did not stop writing in between the years 1803-1809, despite the lack of anything being saved or documented from that time. In addition, Ms. Harman made many other valid arguments about Jane Austen’s desire for praise, her image, and her letters, and I found them all to be insightful and perceptive speculations.

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