Impeccably researched, concise and laugh-out-loud funny, this unique biography uses beautiful graphics and brightly coloured charts to illustrate Austen’s life, talent and enduring legacy. Learn about the etiquette of a Regency ball, see the hierarchy of servants in a middleclass home, and compare the degree to which each Austen heroine was ‘marrying up’ financially.
The timeless quality of Austen’s work makes this book’s interest in the politics and economic realities of her world particularly enlightening, while quotations from her harshest critics and pictures of the most bizarre products to have been marketed using her name ensure that Biographic Austen is a joy to read.
Given her popularity in recent decades, it’s easy to forget about Austen’s struggles in getting published, and the delay in her work receiving proper recognition. Here her career and reputation are placed in the context of her literary contemporaries, and her hard work and sharp intellect are clearly demonstrated. A flow chart comparing the ending of an early draft – unpublished – of Persuasion with the version we know today is a standout, but every detail is impeccable, right down to the stunning fan motif on the book’s inside cover. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookworm in possession of a love for Jane Austen is in want of a copy of Biographic Austen – or at least they should be.