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A Memoir of Jane Austen

A Memoir of Jane Austen

3.6 7
by James Edward Austen-Leigh, Des Gahan (Editor)

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"Memoir of Jane Austen" from James Edward Austen-Leigh. He was the favorite nephew of his aunt (1798-1874).


"Memoir of Jane Austen" from James Edward Austen-Leigh. He was the favorite nephew of his aunt (1798-1874).

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CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Meet the Author

A Memoir of Jane Austen is a biography of the novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817) published in 1869 by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh. A second edition was published in 1871 which included previously unpublished Jane Austen writings. A family project, the biography was written by James Edward Austen-Leigh but owed much to the recollections of Jane Austen's many relatives. However, it was the decisions of her close friend and sister, Cassandra Austen, to destroy many of Jane's letters after her death that shaped the material available for the biography.

Austen-Leigh described his "dear Aunt Jane" domestically, as someone who was uninterested in fame and who only wrote in her spare time. However, the manuscripts appended to the second edition suggest that Jane Austen was intensely interested in revising her manuscripts and was perhaps less content than Austen-Leigh described her. The Memoir does not attempt to unreservedly tell the story of Jane Austen's life. Following the Victorian conventions of biography, it kept much private information from the public, but family members disagreed over just how much should be revealed, for example, regarding Austen's romantic relationships.

The Memoir introduced the public to the works of Jane Austen, generating interest in novels which only the literary elite had read up until that point. It remained the primary biographical work on the author for over half a century.

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Memoir of Jane Austen 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
katknit More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clearly being the nephew of an author does not make you an author yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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