(Review) A Portrait of Jane Austen by David Cecil

Publisher and Publication Date: Hill and Wang/a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1979.
Genre: Nonfiction. History of Jane Austen and her era. Women and literature.
Pages: 208.
Source: Self purchase.
Audience: Readers of Jane Austen.
Rating: Good.

Amazon link

David Cecil explains this book is not intended to be an analysis of Jane Austen’s life nor of the history of that era. It is meant to show her life through illustrations, letters, writings, and biographical information from family.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book.
It’s an inexpensive hard cover book with illustrations throughout. Some of the illustrations are of the Austen family, copies of Jane’s letters and works, drawings made by the family, the homes they lived in, and other included history.
I learned about the Austen family. Jane’s grandparents and parents, siblings, and their families.
I learned about how Jane’s ill health in the final years had an effect on her writings.
Jane Austen was a creative genius. Her stories were not all the same, but with differing developments and expressions.
She was not afraid to branch out to something new. For example the last work, Sanditon. Sanditon was left unfinished because of her failing health, but it showed remarkable difference from previous works.
At times though, Jane Austen was not a confident writer.
I feel A Portrait of Jane Austen is a more personal study. The letters and biography information give the book an intimate quality.


2 thoughts on “(Review) A Portrait of Jane Austen by David Cecil

  1. I think the book was poorly edited. There are many issues with the grammar which are distracting to me. Cecil’s book on Melbourne is a masterpiece. I am disappointed in this book on Austen.

    Liked by 1 person

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