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Jane Austen at Home: A Biography
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Jane Austen at Home: A Biography (Hardback)

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'This is my kind of history: carefully researched but so vivid that you are convinced Lucy Worsley was actually there at the party - or the parsonage.' Antonia Fraser

'A refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity.' Amanda Foreman

'Brilliant and very moving, this book is a fascinating and original exploration of Jane Austen with lots of new material - Worsley brings Austen to life superbly, through her pages she is a flesh and blood woman, intelligent, powerful, contradictory, loving, loved. A magnificent book.' Kate Williams

On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.

This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.

Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, based at Hampton Court. She also presents history programmes for the BBC including 'Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley' and 'Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing'. Her bestselling books include A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of how Crime was Turned into Art, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Courtiers: the Secret History of the Georgian Court and Cavalier: The Story of a 17th century Playboy.

More books by Lucy Worsley

Customer Reviews

“The perfect marriage of author and subject” it declares on the cover of my proof copy of this book, and I think that it is in this instance correct. Worsley covers this subject so well, in such detail, in such a readable style, that it is looking like my book of the year. With chapter notes, an extensive bibliography and index, this book is such a thorough examination of the life and homes of Jane Austen it would cover all requirements for a biography short of degree level study, and even then it would form the beginning of in depth work. Yet it is an easy to read book, which made me want to carry on reading. Quite an achievement! I am sure that Lucy Worsley had a lot of help in researching and producing this book, which she mentions in the Acknowledgements section. This is a long read, with observations on subjects allied to Jane’s actual life, such as the practice of sending fairly small babies away from the family to be nursed, examined. Even if you are not an enormous fan of Jane’s novels, this book is a remarkable resource on the life of an unmarried woman at this time, when she was truly dependent on family money with her only option to marry well. The fact that Jane did publish successful novels in her lifetime gave her some money, but sadly so little compared with the popularity of her work with millions of readers since. In some ways this is a sad book, but any sort of historical work has to deal with illness and death. She at least avoided the fate of many of her contemporaries; death in childbirth was a fact in her family, as well as illnesses that we would regard as minor today. There are many points of departure for the reader to find out more about, such as the writings of Fanny Burney who was a forerunner of Jane as novelist of women’s lives. There has been at least one article alleging that parts of this book, theories concerning Jane have appeared in our publications. My view is that a relatively short life, restricted so much by the domestic, has been poured over in such detail by so many that there will be an overlap or common points whenever a work of this length and detail is attempted, especially for the non academic reader as well as the specialist. This is a fine book, enjoyable and nicely challenging, enabling further study if required, detailing the whereabouts of artifacts and buildings today, as well as the sources for sections on the inheritance of Jane’s brothers and much more. In this book it is possible to discover exactly how much Jane, her sister and mother had to live on, as well as her probable feelings at having to leave the Rectory at her father’s retirement. This is not a book of the novels; the assumption is made that the reader will be familiar with those texts, but there is detail about where Jane was when they were written and something of their main themes. In short, this is a very worthwhile book for anyone interested in the life of Jane Austen, but also valuable for someone requiring a more academic resource. It is worth buying or borrowing!

- 01/06/2017
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