A Memoir of Jane Austen: And Other Family Recollections by James Edward Austen-Leigh

By James Edward Austen-Leigh

Jane Austen (as is so cogently famous during this quantity) won little realize or status in the course of her unfortunately brief lifestyles. Likewise, except her six novels and a few letters, little basic proof exists to enlighten her admirers. regrettably, it used to be universal within the nineteenth century for households to burn all fabrics believed to be too own or too revealing.

In project to put in writing this "memoir" concerning the lifetime of his very good aunt, J.E.Austen-Leigh certainly the mores of the days in keeping her privateness. however the little he tells his readers approximately his stories of Jane Austen are worthy a cautious perusal, if merely simply because he knew her. those that be aware of from her books in regards to the sharpness of her humorousness and satire will take with a grain of salt her portrayal the following as constantly genteel and decorous. yet he does be capable to express a feeling of her playfulness, creativity, and inventiveness, and he's justified in concerning her as a genius.

Written in a now antiquated kind, parts of this slender memoir could be tough going, however it is definitely worth the attempt.

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Additional info for A Memoir of Jane Austen: And Other Family Recollections (Oxford World's Classics)

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January, Edward Austen’s first child, Fanny, born;  April, James Austen’s first child, Anna, born;  June, JA writes last item of juvenilia. Chronology  lix M. de Feuillide guillotined in Paris; death of Edward Austen’s adopted father Thomas Knight.  JA probably writes ‘Elinor and Marianne’; death of Anne Mathew Austen at Deane; Anna sent to live at Steventon; December, Tom Lefroy visits Ashe rectory.  January, Tom Lefroy leaves Ashe for London; Tom Fowle sails for West Indies; October, JA begins ‘First Impressions’ (finished August ).

I have included with Austen-Leigh’s Memoir four others: the account written by Jane’s brother Henry Austen to accompany the posthumous joint publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in ; Henry’s reworking of the same materials to preface the edition of Sense and Sensibility issued by Bentley in  as No.  of his ‘Standard Novels’ series; Anna Lefroy’s ‘Recollections of Aunt Jane’, written in  and first published in ; and Caroline Austen’s My Aunt Jane Austen: A Memoir, written in  and first published in .

So, for example, Claire Tomalin examines the Memoir account (p. ) of Mrs Austen’s system of child-rearing for clues to explain what she diagnoses as Jane Austen’s emotional defensiveness in adult life. It was Mrs Austen’s practice to breast-feed each of her numerous babies for the first three or four months of life and then foster-out the baby to a woman in the village for the next year or longer (until she/he was able to walk). In Austen’s adult letters we encounter, by Tomalin’s reading, not the passionate confidante of Brabourne’s description, but ‘someone who does not open her heart’, a woman potentially traumatized by very early weaning and associated emotional withdrawal.

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