Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Jane Austen at Home
First sentence: The world of Jane Austen's novels, seen in countless feature films, is domestic, well-ordered and snug. Her characters inhabit neat, genteel cottages, gentleman-like country mansions, and elegant townhouses in London or Bath. And her life is often seen through the same lens.
Premise/plot: Lucy Worsley examines Jane Austen's life through the lens of the homes she lived and the domestic circles she was a part of. Worsley writes, "For Jane, home was a perennial problem. Where could she afford to live? Amid the many domestic duties of an unmarried daughter and aunt, how could she find the time to write? Where could she keep her manuscripts safe? A home of her own must have seemed to Jane to be always just out of reach. With only a tiny stash of capital hard earned by her writing, the death of her father forced her into a makeshift life in rented lodgings, or else shunted between the relations who used her as cheap childcare. It's not surprising, then, that the search for a home is an idea that's central to Jane's fiction."
The book focuses on her Austen's personal and professional life. She pays careful attention to both, taking careful consideration of the details and what they might show us today about her life. While the main focus is on Austen, some attention is also given to her fictional creations and the homes they lived in.
My thoughts: I would describe this one as personal but not presumptuous. I think it makes for compelling reading. I appreciated the amount of detail included. These are things that most biographies would spend very little--if any--time discussing and considering.
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews