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Publisher's Summary

Since her death, people have got Jane Austen wrong. The real Jane - revealed for the first time in this landmark biography - was a less cosy, more spiky, more modern figure than she is usually imagined to be. Far from retelling a familiar story, Byrne’s book uses new research and new techniques to give us Jane Austen for the 21st century.

Paula Byrne - an internationally renowned Jane Austen scholar and a best-selling biographer – has uncovered a very different Jane Austen from the Jane of popular imagination. This Jane is a woman deeply immersed in the culture around her, but also far ahead of her time in her independence and tough-mindedness.... Throughout, this audiobook gives the sense of Austen as an astute commentator on human nature in general and her own age in particular, and above all as a writer of independence and ambition.

Each chapter is focussed on a key moment in Austen’s life: eg. When her handicapped brother is removed from the family, when her exotic cousin Eliza arrives in the family circle, when her aunt was arrested for shoplifting, her time alone in London.

The book also gives detailed attention to the novels themselves. After this book, no longer can Austen be viewed as someone who did not engage with the great political events of her time. How many lovers of her work are aware that the Prince Regent kept a debauched household down the road from her village, that she was related by marriage to other major literary figures of the time such as the libertine Gothic novelist William Beckford and her favourite poet, George Crabbe. The book will also identify her long lost seaside love as well as argue that her assumed "genteel" sense of humour could also be savage, highly subversive irony.

©2012 Paula Bryne (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Completely engrossing and illuminating

I've loved Jane Austen for a long time. i re-read her novels every year or so and yet I'd never really explored her biographies before. After I read her letters, I decided I needed more information and found this book. It's beautifully written, not at all dry, taking the bare bones of what I thought I knew about Austen and opening up her life, her context, her novels in a way that is still with me, weeks after finishing. Gorgeous.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • R
  • 01-18-13

Best buy the book!

Immediately disappointing - sorry Louise Hulland you don't have the right voice for this book...... will be buying the printed version!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mystery Girl
  • 05-25-13

Extremely disappointing

I found the narrator's style and voice totally inappropriate for the subject manner. I actually had to stop listening and give up on the book, which otherwise, seemed quite interesting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • 02-17-13

Who chose this narrator?

I was thrilled to see this title available on audible, and purchased without listening to the sample first. What a mistake that was!

I found the narration to be irritating in the extreme, so much so,I had to give up listening after two chapters.

A complete waste of my money.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • KATHLEEN
  • 02-17-13

A good book ruined by the narrator

Having heard some of this book narrated on BBC Radio 4 I was stupid enough to assume that this was the same reading. The narrator in this audible.co.uk version rendered the book quite impossible to listen to. I love the book, so I have given it many chances, but no, I just can't bear what sounds like the immature voice of a bright enthusiastic 5th former. I have wasted my credits.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful