Pubblicato con il titolo Jane Austen: La vita. Una biografia completa di una delle più famose autrici inglesi, con intrighi familiari, viaggi, lettere, e manoscritti.

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors so, of course, I had to read about her life. I first read – and enjoyed – this biography written by Claire Tomalin a few years ago, when I was still at university, and I was glad to return to it.

The last one of eight children (six boys and two girls), Jane Austen had a very close relationship with her sister Cassandra who was also her literary executor after her death. Never married, all we know about Jane Austen’s love life is her brief romance with a young Irish man, broken off because of their poor prospects. Between visits to family, neighbors, and friends, Claire Tomalin explores her first attempts at writing stories, how the story initially called First Impressions became one of the most famous novels in English literature, Pride and Prejudice. But, only in 1811, Jane Austen published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, which quickly sold out, and was then followed by Pride and Prejudice in 1813, Mansfield Park, and Emma, which was dedicated to the Prince Regent. Through letters from her and her family, we find out about the decline of her health which led to her death on 18th July 1817, at the age of 41. Her last two novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published five months after her death.

The book is well-written and well-researched. There are illustrations, extracts from journals, letters, and newspapers, and an extensive bibliography. We learn about Jane Austen’s life through not only her writing, but the testimony of those who knew her. I really enjoyed rereading this fascinating and immersive biography and I recommend it not only to readers of her novels, but also those who want to learn more about the period in which she lived.