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Jane Austen : a life /
Claire Tomalin.
1st American ed.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.
xiv, 341 p. : ill.
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New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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This item was nominated for the following awards:
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-01-01:
Despite only a few surviving personal papers and letters, no autobiographical notes, and no diaries written by Jane Austen, attempts to piece together the life and personality of the author abound. An experienced biographer, Tomalin makes do by focusing more on the Austen family, acquaintances, and friends than on Austen herself, forthrightly acknowledging, "It is only because of her writing that we think them worth remembering; and yet she is at almost every point harder to summon up than any of them...she is as elusive as a cloud in the night sky." Like David Nokes's recent biography, Jane Austen (LJ 9/1/97), Tomalin's presents an engaging story of the life and times of the Austen family. Although Tomalin's biography is not as detailed as Nokes's, it offers a freshness in its attention to, and compassion regarding the child-rearing practices of the Austens, the physical demands on child-bearing women, and to the portrayal of Austen's will, determination, and energy in her final days. Recommended for literature collections for its perspective and minimal speculations.‘Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1997-09-29:
Tomalin (The Invisible Woman) solves the problem of preparing yet another biography of Jane Austen (1775-1817), a "life of no event," by a familiar formula. At every turn, one meets "may have," "may be" and "might have." A biographical boon is the large supporting cast. Tomalin takes 100 pages to get Austen to age 18 by filling in the pages with stories about her relatives and neighbors in Hampshire. An entire chapter is devoted to a single Austen letter‘and because few of her letters survive, Tomalin suggests that in some years, in a letter-writing age, Austen wrote none whatsoever. Such apparent silences are suffused with hypotheses about her dreary existence during the long gaps between her teenage novelizing and her shrewd, mature works like Emma and Mansfield Park, which followed the much-delayed publication of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Tomalin is strikingly sensitive, however, to Austen's life of social discomfort. In what is a very personal book, she often resorts to the first person, which fits the speculative approach. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.) FYI: For reviews of two other Austen biographies published this year, see Jane Austen by Valerie Grosvenor Myer in Nonfiction Forecasts (March 10) and Jane Austen by David Nokes (July 7). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, September 1997
Kirkus Reviews, October 1997
Booklist, November 1997
Library Journal, January 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Map Showing Steventon and the Austens' Hampshire Neighboursp. xvi
1775p. 3
Meritocratsp. 13
Boysp. 23
Schoolp. 33
The French Connectionp. 44
Bad Behaviourp. 60
Weddings and Funeralsp. 74
Neighbourp. 85
Dancingp. 101
The Doll and the Pokerp. 108
A Letterp. 112
Defence Systemsp. 118
Friends in East Kentp. 131
Travels with My Motherp. 141
Three Booksp. 154
Twenty-fivep. 167
Manydownp. 175
Brotherly Lovep. 190
A Death in the Familyp. 203
At Chawtonp. 209
Inside Mansfield Parkp. 222
Dedicationp. 239
The Sorceressp. 252
College Streetp. 265
Postscriptp. 272
A Note on Jane Austen's Last Illnessp. 283
"An African Story" from Fanny Austen's Pocket-book, 1809, with a Note on Attitudes to Slaveryp. 285
Notesp. 289
Short Bibliographyp. 323
Family Treep. 326
Indexp. 329
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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