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 Austens daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrnes portraitorganized thematically and drawn from the most up-to-date scholarship and unexplored sourcesexplores the lives of Austens 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 worldsthe East Indies and revolutionary Parisand different eventsfrom 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 domesticwider perspectives of vital and still under-estimated importance to her creative life. Literary scholarship has revealed that letters and tokens in Austens novels often signal key turning points in the unfolding narrative. This groundbreaking biography explores Janes own story following the same principle.
As Byrne reveals, small things in the writers worlda scrap of paper, a simple gold chain, an ivory miniature, a bathing machinehold significance in her emotional and artistic development. The Real Jane Austen A Life in Small Things introduces us to a woman deeply immersed in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in her independence and ambition; to an author who was an astute commentator on human nature and the foibles of her own age. Rich and compelling, it is a fresh, insightful, and often surprising portrait of an artist and a vivid evocation of the complex world that shaped her.