What was Jane Austen like as a child? What were her formative influences and experiences, her challenges and obstacles, that together set her on the path toward becoming a writer?
Drawing upon a wide array of sources, including Austen's own books and correspondence, Lisa Pliscou has created a "speculative biography" for adults which, along with 20 charming black-and-white illustrations, offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of young Jane Austen. Also included is a richly detailed, annotated version of the narrative and an overview of Austen's life, legacy, and the era in which she lived, as well as a timeline of her key childhood events.
YOUNG JANE AUSTEN is sure to intrigue anyone interested in Jane Austen, in writing and the creative process, and in the triumph of the artistic spirit.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
What People are Saying About This
Like the very best of books, Young Jane Austen exists well beyond labels. It is an empathetic biography and an empathic search, a reflection on a singular person and an engaging, universal treatise on creative fervor. At the heart of it all lives an against-the-odds heroine who helped launch that strange, imperfect, necessary creature we now call the novel. --Beth Kephart, author of Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir and Going Over
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Virtual Feast for the Eyes and a Delight to Read This narrative gives the reader a glimpse into the first twelve years of the life of Jane Austen. As the author, Lisa Pliscou states, it is a ‘speculative biography’. Ms. Pliscou reconstructs Jane Austen’s youth in an attempt to show how her world, the time and place, influenced her to become a writer that has stood the test of time. Young Jane Austen is in full color from beginning to end and is a virtual feast for the eyes. The narrative is divided into three sections and each section has its own color/style and background. It is absolutely lovely and a delight to read. Section one is entitled ‘Young Jane Austen’ and has twenty entries with twenty illustrations, by Massimo Mongiardo, commissioned especially for this book. Each short chapter is written as if a young Jane is thinking about the events that are taking place with her family and gives insights into her thoughts. Some even appear as if they are journal entries from young Jane. I enjoyed this approach as it brought feeling and truth to the narrative. The choice of printing and color adds its own nuance. Each entry or chapter is printed on paper that looks like an old manuscript or journal with a lovely blue print behind the journal. The second part is the annotated version of Young Jane Austen. This section gives some interesting information and facts related to things mentioned in the narrative. This was one of my favorite parts as it elaborated on certain events and happenings. (This section is printed on light blue and is easy on the eyes.) The third and last section is ‘About Jane Austen’. It answers the question, “What was she like?” There is a chapter about Jane Austen, the author. It gives a little more history and insight into her specific writings. A timeline for those first twelve years is included. The sources used to gather the thoughts and facts stated throughout the book are listed here as well as a complete index. Young Jane Austen is an easy and enchanting read. It is obvious that much research went into the writing of this biography. The book is unique in both approach and appearance. Anyone that is devoted to Jane Austen would be delighted to own this book. It is truly a treasure.
There is a significant bit of information (though not nearly enough) about Jane Austen's adult life, but her childhood is rather a blank slate. What was Jane Austen like as a child? What did she do and how did she fit into her family? How did she grow into a writer? I was tickled to see that one author asked herself these questions and tackled it in this sweet tale that can be appreciated by young and young at heart alike, by the pleasure reader and the amateur scholar and by those who have a long love of this author and her works as well as those new to her. I don't normally make comments on the appearance of a book, but in this case, I'll make an exception. This is a gorgeous book, inside and out. The illustrations by Massimo Mongriardo that look like sketches help bring the print alive for the reader, the layout, colors, and even textures make you feel like you're holding something precious. For those who want to give a lovely gift or enjoy in editions with eye appeal, this is for you. As to the format, there are three main sections to the book. First, there is the story which is short, but appealing. Next section is the annotated edition of the story. And finally in the back are notes and further research along with a nice bibliography and index. I read it all in one sitting so when I encountered the annotated story, I just read the notes alone. I found it interesting where the author chose to focus with the notes. There were the usual explanations that help modern readers understand life in the late Georgian period for a family like the Austens and details about the Austens and their acquaintances, but the notes went beyond that to discuss the psychology of the creative mind, the Austen parents and Jane, herself. I think this is the first time I've encountered that approach and I enjoyed the analysis. The story itself was simple and from a young child's perspective. It was speculative as it must be under the circumstances, but it read true in a 'day in the life of...' way. Known facts were blended with speculation based on research for the times and a pinch of author creativity. I found it delightful. It's a sweet story from little Jane's perspective on what goes on around her. I learned some things in the process of reading. I didn't know Mrs. Austen farmed out her babies a few months after birth until they were toddlers and I was unaware of the nature of Jane's brother, George Austen's afflictions. The little story helped me gain insight too particularly with the continuous change going on in the family even from a young age all the while, the experiences fed her future writing genius. <i>Papa no longer took in students and the house was emptier, quieter. Cassy and Jane were given their very own room adjoining theirs. They called it the Dressing Room, but it was much, much more than that. When Cassy was home, it was a place to share stories, jokes, secrets. When Cassy was away, Jenny could be alone. Alone, but not lonely, for here you could think. Feel. Read. Figure things out. Dream.</i> p. 68 Jane from Young Jane Austen <i>Even if you were only a girl, words made you mighty. Words, stories, books: they could take you anywhere, and they could go out anywhere in the world. Jenny- Jane- picked up her pen to write. </i> p. 79 Jane from Young Jane Austen All in all, it was a joy to read this short piece that made the child Jane Austen come alive and had some nice notations and research to enhance my growing knowledge of the person behind the brilliant stories. I would recommend it for middle grade readers to adults who might be interested in famous historical figures or further knowledge of Jane Austen. My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.