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Download The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things Audiobook, by Paula Byrne Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paula Byrne Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2013 ISBN: 9780062263360
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The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things offers a startlingly original look at the revered writer through a variety of key moments, scenes, and objects in her life and work. Going beyond previous traditional biographies which have traced Austen’s daily life from Steventon to Bath to Chawton to Winchester, Paula Byrne’s portrait—organized thematically and drawn from the most up-to-date scholarship and unexplored sources—explores the lives of Austen’s extended family, friends, and acquaintances. Through their absorbing stories, we view Austen on a much wider stage and discover unexpected aspects of her life and character. Byrne transports us to different worlds—the East Indies and revolutionary Paris—and different events—from a high society scandal to a petty case of shoplifting, She follows Austen on her extensive travels, setting her in contexts both global and English, urban and rural, political and historical, social and domestic—wider perspectives of vital and still under-estimated importance to her creative life.

Literary scholarship has revealed that letters and tokens in Austen’s novel’s often signal key turning points in the unfolding narrative. This groundbreaking biography explores Jane's own story following the same principle. As Byrne reveals, small things in the writer's world—a scrap of paper, a simple gold chain, an ivory miniature, a bathing machine—hold significance in her emotional and artistic development. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things introduces us to a woman deeply immersed in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in her independence and ambition; to an author who was an astute commentator on human nature and the foibles of her own age. Rich and compelling, it is a fresh, insightful, and often surprising portrait of an artist and a vivid evocation of the complex world that shaped her.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vividly persuasive…The Real Jane Austen is excellent.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Byrne breathes yet more life into Austen and her works by considering the objects that populated her days…The thematic approach offers a revealing picture of Austen and a lively social history…paints a fresh and vivid picture of an inimitable woman.”

    Economist

  • “Byrne’s aim is to show how these objects, many of them reproduced in her book in lush color plates, reveal a much more cosmopolitan awareness of the world than is commonly credited to Austen.”

    NPR

  • “Byrne takes Austen seriously as a writer…She brings to life a woman of “wonderful exuberance and self-confidence,” of “firm opinions and strong passions.” Little wonder that every other man she meets seems to fall in love with her.”

    Washington Post

  • “A vivacious portrait…Byrne’s Austen emerges as a worldly woman, profoundly enmeshed in a wider world than she’s often acknowledged to occupy. This is an Austen with a sense for the political as well as for the finer points of sensibility.”

    Publishers Weekly

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About the Author

Paula Byrne is the author of Perdita, a highly acclaimed biography of eighteenth-century celebrity Mary Robinson. A regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and other publications, she lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, the critic and biographer Jonathan Bate.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.