James Edward Austen-Leigh was the nephew of Jane Austen, one of the most beloved authors of the English language. The son of Austen’s eldest brother, James, James Edward was the author of A Memoir of Jane Austen, a family project first published in 1869 that collected the family’s memories of Jane, who had passed away in 1817, and which revealed her authorship of such classic novels as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. Published anonymously during her life, Austen’s work was renowned for its realism, humour, and commentary on English social rites and society at the time.
A Memoir Of Jane Austenby James Edward Austen-Leigh
A Memoir of Jane Austen is the Austen family’s memoir of the beloved 19th century English novelist. Written and compiled by Austen’s nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen reveals the author as her family knew her, while at the same time protecting the author’s privacy in keeping with the Victorian conventions/em>/em>
A Memoir of Jane Austen is the Austen family’s memoir of the beloved 19th century English novelist. Written and compiled by Austen’s nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, A Memoir of Jane Austen reveals the author as her family knew her, while at the same time protecting the author’s privacy in keeping with the Victorian conventions of the time.
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Jane Austen (as is so cogently noted in this volume) gained little notice or fame during her regrettably short life. Likewise, other than her six novels and some letters, little primary evidence exists to enlighten her admirers. Alas, it was common in the 19th century for families to burn all materials believed to be too personal or too revealing. In undertaking to write this "memoir" about the life of his brilliant aunt, J.E.Austen-Leigh undoubtedly followed the mores of the times in protecting her privacy. But the little he tells his readers about his memories of Jane Austen are worth a careful perusal, if only because he knew her. Those who know from her books about the sharpness of her sense of humor and satire will take with a grain of salt her portrayal here as always genteel and decorous. But he does manage to convey a sense of her playfulness, creativity, and inventiveness, and he is justified in referring to her as a genius. Written in a now antiquated style, portions of this slim memoir can be hard going, but it is worth the effort.
Clearly being the nephew of an author does not make you an author yourself.
This is a Victorian biography written by a family member who perhaps unintentionally selected and slanted the facts to portray his beloved aunt as a nice domestic lady who did not write for money or fame but just for fun. It is worth reading for the basic facts and as an example of Victorian biography. If you want a reliable, readable biography, go with Dierdre Le Faye, Claire Tomalin or other late 20th and early 21st century biographers.