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  In this Christian Encounter Series biography, author Peter J. Leithart explores the life of Jane Austen, beloved author of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Emma.  Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity. Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. Kipling and   In this Christian Encounter Series biography, author Peter J. Leithart explores the life of Jane Austen, beloved author of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Emma.  Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity. Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. Kipling and Churchill found solace in her writings during times of war and illness. Mark Twain had a love/hate relationship with her work. And then, there’s our celebrity culture: the television hit Pride and Prejudice, the award-winning 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and all the remakes and prequels and sequels. Modern-day Jane Austen fans just can’t seem to leave her characters alone. “Janeia” is the author’s term for the mania for all things Austen. This biography captures the varied sides of Austen’s character and places her Christian faith in a more balanced light and with less distortion than has been achieved previously. It is a delightful journey through a life spent making up stories that touched the lives of millions.       Jane Austen “I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels. I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens. Highly recommended for Janeites like me!” --Colleen Coble, best-sellingauthor of The Lightkeeer's Daughter


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  In this Christian Encounter Series biography, author Peter J. Leithart explores the life of Jane Austen, beloved author of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Emma.  Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity. Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. Kipling and   In this Christian Encounter Series biography, author Peter J. Leithart explores the life of Jane Austen, beloved author of such books as Pride and Prejudice and Emma.  Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity. Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. Kipling and Churchill found solace in her writings during times of war and illness. Mark Twain had a love/hate relationship with her work. And then, there’s our celebrity culture: the television hit Pride and Prejudice, the award-winning 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and all the remakes and prequels and sequels. Modern-day Jane Austen fans just can’t seem to leave her characters alone. “Janeia” is the author’s term for the mania for all things Austen. This biography captures the varied sides of Austen’s character and places her Christian faith in a more balanced light and with less distortion than has been achieved previously. It is a delightful journey through a life spent making up stories that touched the lives of millions.       Jane Austen “I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels. I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens. Highly recommended for Janeites like me!” --Colleen Coble, best-sellingauthor of The Lightkeeer's Daughter

30 review for Jane Austen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Milka

    I was so happy when I noticed that Thomas Nelson had published this book and that it was available for the booksneeze reviewers. For years I've been Austen addict and I knew that this book would be perfect addition to my collection. This book, like many Austen biographies, included the basic stuff: her childhood, stories of her family, her process of writing and her death. What I liked about this book where the little details. I love trivia information and this book provided it a lot for me. I li I was so happy when I noticed that Thomas Nelson had published this book and that it was available for the booksneeze reviewers. For years I've been Austen addict and I knew that this book would be perfect addition to my collection. This book, like many Austen biographies, included the basic stuff: her childhood, stories of her family, her process of writing and her death. What I liked about this book where the little details. I love trivia information and this book provided it a lot for me. I liked the quotations and additions from Austen's relatives and other people who have know her or studied her. I must say that there was one thing which really annoyed me during the whole process of reading. From time to time, the author addresses Jane Austen as Jenny. I do not know was that really her nickname, I've never heard about it, but it made me really angry. Also because of that the text was hard to follow at first because first the author was talking about Jane, then Jenny and then again Jane. Even though this book is part of Christian Encounters series I must say that the role of religion in Jane Austen's life was not hugely emphasized in this book. There were some random parts in this book which, in my opinion, were totally out of context, just talking about the bible etc. But since there were only couple of those parts they did not bother me that much. Jane Austen by Peter Leihart is a great addition to a bookshelf of Austen addict. It is also great book for a one who is doing a research about Jane Austen. The book is not very long and it provides a lot of interesting information about Jane Austen.

  2. 4 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    Quite as delightful as reading Austen herself.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Excellent! Really interesting and well-paced. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book in one day but this one kept me going!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Broussard

    This was fascinating, and in some ways kind of an expose. I'm actually quite delighted by the fact that the far-inferior Bronte's really didn't like Austen at all. Especially as I know several people that always mix up who wrote what, which is simply inconceivable to me. It's like asking who wrote King Lear: Edward de Vere as Shakespeare or Stephanie Meyer. What I chiefly had not known was the depth of her religious conviction. If you read the books, you get glimpses of it. Very little of that su This was fascinating, and in some ways kind of an expose. I'm actually quite delighted by the fact that the far-inferior Bronte's really didn't like Austen at all. Especially as I know several people that always mix up who wrote what, which is simply inconceivable to me. It's like asking who wrote King Lear: Edward de Vere as Shakespeare or Stephanie Meyer. What I chiefly had not known was the depth of her religious conviction. If you read the books, you get glimpses of it. Very little of that survives the screenwriters (if any), and it's typically forgotten. But this is a woman whose last words were "God grant me patience. Pray for me, oh pray for me." She was delightful, flippant, lively, witty and at times downright savage in her prose. Consider a few examples. When a woman gave birth, or 'was brought to bed' untimely due to a fright, Austen speculated "I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband." Or in a letter to her sister, she commented "Expect a most agreeable Letter for not being overburdened with subject--(having nothing at all to say)--I shall have no check to my Genius from beginning to end." In what ended up being one of my favorite sections of Leithart's book, he quotes her as having said that she (and I quote): "attended the theater to see Don Juan, 'whom we left in Hell at 1/2 past 11.' One home was full of 'modern Elegancies,' but lacked an air of seriousness: 'if it had not been for some naked Cupids over the Mantlepiece, which must be a fine study for Girls, one should never have Smelt Instruction.' " Not exactly the Austen that most people describe: far more vivacious, far less Victorian prudishness, let alone Edwardian weirdness that has been attributed to her as of late. She was a good deal more like Eliza Bennett than we typically seem to think, delighted and amused by the folly of others, and not the first person you'd want to cross swords with in the dinner-time chatter. So this was a great book, an especially fine read after just going through her novels. Also, I was called in to arbitrate as to which was better: Persuasion or Northanger Abbey. In an attempt to avoid being slain by a very diminutive, Chesterton loving girl, I shall gladly (and nervously) say that Persuasion is Austen's finest serious novel, but of all her books (which is to say, of all her heroines), the one I'll return to most often out of a simple, childlike affection will be the lovely Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)

    The Christian Encounters Series is a collection of biographies that focus on the religious aspects in the lives of historical figures. Some of these important individuals are known and for their religious beliefs and acts, while others are not. The one trait all these historical figures have in common is that they were all Christians. These biographies are packaged in a petite yet pleasing volume, around two hundred pages in length, and are complete with appendixes and endnotes. Published by Tho The Christian Encounters Series is a collection of biographies that focus on the religious aspects in the lives of historical figures. Some of these important individuals are known and for their religious beliefs and acts, while others are not. The one trait all these historical figures have in common is that they were all Christians. These biographies are packaged in a petite yet pleasing volume, around two hundred pages in length, and are complete with appendixes and endnotes. Published by Thomas Nelson, this series includes biographies on Winston Churchill, Johann Sebastian Bach, Saint Francis, Saint Nicholas, Isaac Newton, Galileo and many others. While she is known for being a clergyman's daughter, or as Dr. Leithart aptly identifies her, a PK (a Preacher's Kid), Jane Austen is best known for is her satirical wit, her keen observations of human nature, and biting social commentary. Sometimes referred to as being “waspish” and possessing a “sharp tongue,” Jane Austen doesn't always present the picture of a devout and pious Christian. However, Jane Austen was a faithful Christian who read sermons and wrote prayers. In addition, many characteristics of the Christian faith can found in her writing. In this biography, Dr. Leithart reveals the characteristics of Christianity that are most visible and predominant in Jane Austen and her writing. To continue reading, go to: http://janeaustenreviews.blogspot.com...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    A compact view of "Jenny Austen's" life through a Christian lense There are several biographies in print on Jane Austen (1775-1817) revealing her life, family and her inspiration to become a writer. Two very famous books come to mind: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin (1998) and oddly the same title published in the same year by David Nokes. Both books were extensively researched and are quite lengthy. This new slim volume by Austen scholar Dr. Peter Leithart runs 153 pages and fills an entir A compact view of "Jenny Austen's" life through a Christian lense There are several biographies in print on Jane Austen (1775-1817) revealing her life, family and her inspiration to become a writer. Two very famous books come to mind: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin (1998) and oddly the same title published in the same year by David Nokes. Both books were extensively researched and are quite lengthy. This new slim volume by Austen scholar Dr. Peter Leithart runs 153 pages and fills an entirely different niche. While the lengthier and exhaustive expositions might appeal to historical researchers, biography enthusiasts and her dedicated fans, the size alone would intimidate the average reader or student seeking the “sparks notes” version so-to-speak of her life. In addition, very few biographies reflect upon the influence of her Anglican faith as a guide to the Christian morality in her life and novels. In the introduction Dr. Leithart’s summarizes his motivation for writing the book and its emphasis: “In the brief compass of this biography, I have tried to capture the varied sides of Austen’s character. Early biographers often turned her into a model of Victorian Christian domestic femininity, and emphasized her Christian faith in an evangelical idiom she never used. In reaction, many more recent biographers all but ignore her faith. Both of those extremes distort Austen’s life and personality. I have tried to depict accurately the depth and sincerity of her Christianity, as well as her Anglican discomfort with religious emotion, but without losing sight of the other sides of her complex character –her playfulness, her satiric gift for ridicule, her ‘waspishness,’ her rigid morality. I have attempted to capture Jane Austen in full.” (pp xvi) The introduction is entitled Janeia, a term penned by Dr. Leihart to describe “the current obsession with everything Austen” by the media and her fervent fans. If you admit you are one of her disciples, then you are a Janeiac. One fellow reviewer described it as a disease. Leihart describes it as dementia while elaborating on Austen’s pop-culture phenomena and its inaccurate memory of depicting her life and characters. “Austen has become what she never was in life, what she would have been horrified to be: a literary celebrity.” With mild academic disdain we are taken on a brief tour through her rise in readership through the 19th to 21st centuries and her recent Hollywoodization through movies, books and spinoff’s. In my view, this was not the best way to begin a biography for readers who may not have read about Austen’s life before. That, and I am feigning my own “Austen fandom ridicule fatigue” from being poked at by zombie fans, the media and Austen nay-sayers for the past few years. I am an Austen fan and I do embrace a sense of the ridiculous, but enough already. Go pick on Bronte fans for a while, please. Besides this eyebrow raising beginning, this is really an excellent compact biography on an important literary figure and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Leithart includes all the important moments of Austen’s life and also gives us great background on her family and others in her circle who influenced her education, her social and religious views and her writing. In seven succinct chapters we learn of Austen’s wholly English world, her gentry-class family background as a minister’s daughter, home-school education, early manuscripts, disruptions in her writing, final publication, death, and later widespread growth in popularity. There is also a helpful appendix of family, friends, and neighbors and a second appendix of characters in her novels that are mentioned in this biography. Even though Jane Austen: Christian Encounters has its charms, I must point out a few foibles. Technically it is lacking in an index which I find imperative in biographies no matter how brief or long. Leithart draws from many reputable scholarly sources such as Claire Tomalin, David Cecil, Claudia Johnson, Deirdre Le Faye, Claire Harman and many family letters and recollections citing them in the notes in the back of the book by chapter. I prefer footnotes so you do not have to flip back and forth. Small quibble I know, but it adds to quicker reference and less disruptive reading. Repeatedly he refers to Jane Austen as “Jenny” but failed to cite the one reference that we know of where she is called this nick name by her father Rev. George Austen when he wrote to his sister on the event of her birth. His reasoning for the repeated use of “Jenny” was to emphasize the young child-like qualities she retained throughout her life. “Childlikeness might not strike us an apt description of a “serious” novelist like Austen, but this only highlights how pretentious we are about art and artists. Anyone who spends her life making up stories has got to have more than her fair share of whimsy, and nearly all Austen’s virtues, personal and artistic, as well as nearly all of her vices, are those of a woman who, at the center of her soul, remained “Jenny Austen” all her life.” This is debatable, but an interesting opinion. Pastor, professor and Austen scholar Dr. Peter Leihart has a passion for Austen and her works that permeates throughout this biography. Readers could equate him to a modern-day C.S. Lewis or more accurately the 21st-century version of George Saintsbury who coined the term Janeite in 1894. Even though I had my concerns about how Leithart would present Christianity in Jane Austen’s life and novels, in the long-run it all fit together quite seamlessly. This was not Mr. Collins sermonizing or Edmund Bertram being priggish, but a natural extension of what formed Jane Austen’s character and fueled her brilliant imagination for the enjoyment of millions of readers. Kudos to publisher Thomas Nelson for resurrecting this biography after its first publisher Cumberland House Press folded in 2009 and sold its catalogue to Sourcebooks who then passed on publishing it. This was a considerable surprise given that Sourcebooks is the largest publisher of Jane Austen sequels in the world. Like oil and water, do Austen biographies and sequels not mix? I know it is business, but this is the oddest publishing putdown I have heard of in some time and all the more reason to obtain this lovely slim volume for your own edification and enjoyment. Oh, and Dr, Leihart thinks “Real men read Austen.” Laurel Ann, Austenprose

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book was a Christmas gift I received a few years ago. It got lost from sight and memory not long after the holidays ended, but fortunately resurfaced when I moved last year. Given the title, I expected it to talk in depth about Jane Austen's religious views. Instead, it read more like a typical biography that occasionally mentions religion. The language is concise and simple, but well-researched at the same time. I found it especially interesting to compare the information here to the movie This book was a Christmas gift I received a few years ago. It got lost from sight and memory not long after the holidays ended, but fortunately resurfaced when I moved last year. Given the title, I expected it to talk in depth about Jane Austen's religious views. Instead, it read more like a typical biography that occasionally mentions religion. The language is concise and simple, but well-researched at the same time. I found it especially interesting to compare the information here to the movie PBS aired a few years ago, Miss Austen Regrets. Doing so made me feel impressed with how much of the movie was real, nonfictionalized information about her life. Another nonfiction text I read a few years ago was 101 Things You didn't Know About Jane Austen. With its Q & A format, that was good reading for a little pop-culture two-minute Jane Austen fix, rather like a nice sugary snack. Enjoyable, but not totally filling. I like the more in-depth view this biography offers. It is certainly not the most comprehensive text about Miss Austen's life, but it is just about the right amount for the interested casual reader who isn't a serious literary scholar looking for sources for their dissertation. This book is like the good, just-full-enough feeling after a normal dinner, rather than the overstuffed, barely-able-to-move sensation that comes after Thanksgiving at the buffet restaurant. It makes me now want to read Jane Austen's Juvenalia, which happens to have appeared for me under the tree just last Christmas. How providential! My one main criticism is the author's fondness for talking about "Jenny" throughout the book. Jenny? Who is Jenny? I see from other reviews here that evidently her father called Jane "Jenny" in that one letter that one time. It was rather strange that Mr Leithart's theme for the whole biography then was that, in spite of everything that happened in Jane's life, she still remained "Jenny," without ever explaining why he calls her that in the first place. Perhaps that little explanation was deleted by accident during the editing process. Other than that puzzling oddity, it was a fine biography of a fine authoress.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Alexander

    (Drawing from the book) Two remarks about Jane Austen. Her novels contain penetrating, often humorous observations about the differences between men and women. In our time gender differences, despite John Gray, etc., are being suppressed and slighted in pursuit of an equality of interchangeable function and a disembodied sexuality. Given this state of affairs, her analyses in her artful portrayals seem just what the doctor ordered. G.K. Chesterton commended Austen for being able to do what neith (Drawing from the book) Two remarks about Jane Austen. Her novels contain penetrating, often humorous observations about the differences between men and women. In our time gender differences, despite John Gray, etc., are being suppressed and slighted in pursuit of an equality of interchangeable function and a disembodied sexuality. Given this state of affairs, her analyses in her artful portrayals seem just what the doctor ordered. G.K. Chesterton commended Austen for being able to do what neither George Eliot not Charlotte Brontë could do: "she could cooly and sensibly describe a man." It is interesting that she always wrote from a female narrator's perspective, from the perspective of a woman in the room. Despite her depth of insight into men, perhaps this was as a recognition of her limitation. "For all we know, she never even attempted to describe an all-male scene...no rough manly male-only conversations," writes Peter Leithart. The other thing is I thought I would mention that Rudyard Kipling wrote this story about men taking Austen's novels to the war front, called "The Janeites": http://www.jasna.org/membership/janei... --- Jane Austen's lines of praise from an elegiac poem for her deceased friend Madam Lefroy seem especially apt applied to the spinster Austen herself, "Angelic Woman! past my power to praise In Language meet, thy Talents, Temper, mind. Thy solid Worth, thy captivating Grace!- Thou friend and ornament of Humankind!-" --- "(Jane Austen) was not absent from her fiction, but her presence was subtle enough to pay readers her greatest compliment- her confidence that we could figure out what we are supposed to think based on what she told us. Her narrative style is a humble style, which make it artistic." -Peter Leithart, Jane Austen, pg. 114

  9. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Kyriosity

    Really enjoyable intro to Jane's life. Whetted my appetite for more, which was why the lack of a recommended bibliography was disappointing. But my upcoming natal autoendowment shall at least include the unfinished novels and the juvenalia, my reading of which is long overdue. Some of my favorite bits: I loved the comparison of Jane and Flannery, two spinster authoresses who died young, leaving behind smaller bodies of work than their aficionados would prefer, who were vastly different in style, Really enjoyable intro to Jane's life. Whetted my appetite for more, which was why the lack of a recommended bibliography was disappointing. But my upcoming natal autoendowment shall at least include the unfinished novels and the juvenalia, my reading of which is long overdue. Some of my favorite bits: I loved the comparison of Jane and Flannery, two spinster authoresses who died young, leaving behind smaller bodies of work than their aficionados would prefer, who were vastly different in style, yet shared a keen understanding of human character. I don't know of record of Flannery's opinion of Jane, and of course Jane couldn't have had one of Flannery, but I indulge myself in believing that they are now fast friends who will, some millennia into the resurrection when those more deserving than I have had their chance, honor me with the opportunity of a conversation. Despite Victorian attempts to make Jane out to be Fanny Priceish, it is clear she was more Elizabeth Bennet. Which has always been intuitively obvious to me. Only a Lizzy could have written a Lizzy. (Which is, let us be clear, not a slight on Fanny, whom I also love.) My decidedly unfavorite bit: If I ever discover that the author bears responsibility for the disastrous appendix that purports to list the characters in the various novels, I shall swallow my own bonnet. It appears rather to be the work of an unpaid intern on his last day at the publisher. Or perhaps the originated with the author, but was the victim of an unfortunate coffee spill and a lazy transcriber who decided (erroneously) that the legible bits would be sufficient. P.S. I don't own a bonnet, so I'd have to procure one if the occasion arose for making a meal of it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sherrah

    I’ve long been a fan of Jane Austen’s books, but even after reading them and after taking a class on them, I knew relatively little about Austen herself. The Christian Encounters biography of Jane Austen by Peter Leithart was a great tool for changing that. Leithart supplements his biography with letters by Austen and her friends and family, which adds a wonderfully personal touch. To hear her story through her own words and through the words of those who loved her allows the reader great insight I’ve long been a fan of Jane Austen’s books, but even after reading them and after taking a class on them, I knew relatively little about Austen herself. The Christian Encounters biography of Jane Austen by Peter Leithart was a great tool for changing that. Leithart supplements his biography with letters by Austen and her friends and family, which adds a wonderfully personal touch. To hear her story through her own words and through the words of those who loved her allows the reader great insight into who she was. We see that the sharp wit and keen insight that make her books so much fun to read were present in every aspect of her life. She seems to have met every challenge with good humor and an ability to laugh. I like that this biography does address her Christian faith, but not in a heavy-handed way. This biography was a fairly easy and quick read, although keeping up with all the names of friends and relatives was a bit difficult, especially as so many names are so similar. Overall, I enjoyed this book, and it has made me want to re-read Austen’s novels. I received this biography for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review blogger program, www.booksneeze.com.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Biographers of Jane Austen have a difficult task because Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed much of her correspondence. But Peter Leithart endeavors to give us a sense of her in Jane Austen, part of publisher Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounter series. He draws from what letters we do have from her as well as others’ writings and remembrances of her. In his introduction he writes: In the brief compass of this biography, I have tried to capture the varied sides of Austen’s character. Early biogra Biographers of Jane Austen have a difficult task because Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed much of her correspondence. But Peter Leithart endeavors to give us a sense of her in Jane Austen, part of publisher Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounter series. He draws from what letters we do have from her as well as others’ writings and remembrances of her. In his introduction he writes: In the brief compass of this biography, I have tried to capture the varied sides of Austen’s character. Early biographers often turned her into a model of Victorian Christian domestic femininity, and emphasized her Christian faith in an evangelical idiom she never used. In reaction, many more recent biographers all but ignore her faith. Both of those extremes distort Austen’s life and personality. I have tried to depict accurately the depth and sincerity of her Christianity, as well as her Anglican discomfort with religious emotion, but without losing sight of the other sides of her complex character –her playfulness, her satiric gift for ridicule, her ‘waspishness,’ her rigid morality. I have attempted to capture Jane Austen in full. I particularly enjoyed these observations: The best marriages in Austen’s novels are marriages of minds and temperament, marriages that make both husband and wife more fully themselves. Austen believed there was a moral dimension to social behavior. Manners and morals do not exist in separate realms of life. Manners are a moral concern, and morals take specific shape in the gestures of manners. Jane…was satirizing Romanticism before Romanticism existed. Sir Walter Scott wrote of Austen’s “exquisite touch which renders ordinary common-place things and characters interesting from the truth of the description and the sentiment.” This being part of a Christian Encounter Series, part of it focuses on her faith. This was what particularly drew me to this book, because some kind of faith is evident in her books, but I wasn’t sure if it was a general, surface faith or a heartfelt personal one. In his biographical sketch of his sister, Henry described her piety: “Jane Austen’s hopes of immortality were built upon the Rock of ages. That she deeply felt, and devoutly acknowledged, the insignificance of all worldly attainments, and the worthlessness of all human services, in the eyes of her heavenly Father. That she had no other hope of mercy, pardon, and peace, but through the merits and suffers of her Redeemer.” Jane never used such Evangelical language, preferring the more formal cadences of prayer-book Anglicanism, but that doesn’t falsify the substance of Henry’s characterization. The Austens’ Christianity was not the excitable Christianity of Bunyan or John Newton, but a cooler, more rational and more ethically focused Christianity, which expressed itself chiefly in acts of charity. Despite her comparative reticence and her careful avoidance of moralizing, Austen’s faith was sincere and deep. Biographers minimize Austen’s Christianity mainly because they cannot believe that her acerbic, sometimes childishly cruel wit, her satires of the clerical imbecilities of Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton, and her playful silliness are compatible with deep Christian faith…the assumption that Christian faith is incompatible with a satirical spirit is entirely wrongheaded. I generally love biographies, but, although I hate to do so, I must admit this is not a favorite. First of all, Leithart begins by going into great detail about a plethora of Jane’s relatives. That section got quite confusing and, though some of that information was necessary to understand Jane in context, to me the bulk of it detracted from rather than enhanced focus on her. Secondly, Leithart insisted on calling her “Jenny” at least half the time, if not more, without documenting that she was ever called that. In my search to discover whether she was actually ever called Jenny, I came across a review of this book which mentions that her father spoke of her as “Jenny” to his sister shortly after Jane was born. But that hardly qualifies it as a permanent nickname, especially since none of the other correspondence or memorials of her call her Jenny. To make it worse, Leithart speaks of “Jenny” as if she were the “real” Austen. He evidently used the name to emphasize her child-likeness. Childlikeness might not strike us an apt description of a “serious” novelist like Austen, but this only highlights how pretentious we are about art and artists. Anyone who spends her life making up stories has got to have more than her fair share of whimsy, and nearly all Austen’s virtues, personal and artistic, as well as nearly all of her vices, are those of a woman who, at the center of her soul, remained “Jenny Austen” all her life. She recognized her own smallness, and she achieved artistic greatness because she recognized her limitations and joyfully worked within them, because she refused to outgrow being Jenny. Quotes like these samples seem to imply that she was conscious of “being Jenny” when her “being Jenny” seems to me to be an implication only of Leithart. Leithart comes across to me as pretentious in other ways as well: in his coining of his own word for Jane Austen mania (“Janeia”), in his criticism of other Austen biographers, and in what seems to me to be his mischaracterizations of her (“In another age, Austen might have written for Saturday Night Live.”) There is an odd mix-up of characters from different books when Leithart says “Fanny Price is ignored and lost within the constant din of domestic life. She feels liberated when Frank Churchill shows up to take her into the open air.” Fanny is from Mansfield Park and Frank is from Emma. While I don’t know that Leithart accurately “captured” Austen, this book does present a compact overview of her life, times, and career.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    In this theologically grounded nonfiction approach to one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century, Leithart reveals his appreciation of the mastery of the drawing room milieu by this pre-eminent literary historian of manners. Jane Austen’s insight into her characters was remarkable for the times in which she lived. So universal are they that they live on till this day, featured in countless television and film remakes, prequels and sequels. In his introduction to Jane Austen, Leitha In this theologically grounded nonfiction approach to one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century, Leithart reveals his appreciation of the mastery of the drawing room milieu by this pre-eminent literary historian of manners. Jane Austen’s insight into her characters was remarkable for the times in which she lived. So universal are they that they live on till this day, featured in countless television and film remakes, prequels and sequels. In his introduction to Jane Austen, Leithart stresses that “the whole point of an Austen novel is to record the ironic discrepancies between surface and reality, to express social masks as masks.” He provides a brief overview of “Janeia,” the plethora of publications and reworked versions that have stemmed from Austen’s most notable works: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility. Leithart attributes the perennial appeal of Austen’s work to her minimization of contemporary references, which lends her novels a sense of timelessness. Leithart asserts that, in this relatively brief biography of 153 pages, he has attempted to reveal the many different sides to Austen’s character. His holistic portrayal of the novelist is an attempt “to depict accurately the depth and sincerity of her Christianity, as well as her Anglican discomfort with religious emotion, but without losing sight of the other sides of her complex character—her playfulness, her satiric gift for ridicule, her ‘waspishness’, her rigid morality.” Leithart’s conversational and colloquial style renders this biography a gentle introduction to the world and writings of this most eminent of Regency novelists. Though his approach highlights the Christian aspects of the writer’s work and life, his approach is not at all polemic, as he emphasizes the humanity and humaneness breathing forth from her accurate portrayals of small town and rural middle-class and landed gentry life at the start of the 19th century. Jane Austen is well researched, and contains many excerpts from other works about Jane Austen, as well as extracts from her own correspondence. As a distinguished author and theologian in his own right, Leithart is well positioned to have written such an informative biography. In addition to the main text of this book, he also includes an annotated alphabetical listing of Austen’s family, friends and neighbors, lists the characters in Austen’s novels, and notes the sources on which he draws. Jane Austen should find a wide readership among all those interested in the author’s work, as well as among those who are interested in the faith aspects of this author’s life and works.  

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mallory Mac

    Fantastic biography of Jane Austen, which seems to pain a truer picture of her character than others. Using excerpts from her letters and quotes from family members and friends who knew her, the author shows her to be quite like her most famous character, Elizabeth Bennett, in temperament - lively, sharp-witted, and quick to laugh. The author also speculates on her reasons for writing and discusses the varying reception of her works. He includes several quotes from famous authors - including E.M. Fantastic biography of Jane Austen, which seems to pain a truer picture of her character than others. Using excerpts from her letters and quotes from family members and friends who knew her, the author shows her to be quite like her most famous character, Elizabeth Bennett, in temperament - lively, sharp-witted, and quick to laugh. The author also speculates on her reasons for writing and discusses the varying reception of her works. He includes several quotes from famous authors - including E.M. Forster, Sir Walter Scott, and Virginia Woolf - that I thought were both interesting and helpful in showing why her novels are so enduring.

  14. 4 out of 5

    MC

    Almost everyone has heard of Jane Austen, and many have read her works. Very few people, however, have even the slightest clue as to who this woman really was. What was her personality, or her worldview? How did she relate to friends and family? What influenced her in her acutely realistic writing? The truth is that most people do not have much of an idea. Jane Austen has been distorted and twisted into a popular myth so much so that the real Jane Austen is largely unknown, despite her books bei Almost everyone has heard of Jane Austen, and many have read her works. Very few people, however, have even the slightest clue as to who this woman really was. What was her personality, or her worldview? How did she relate to friends and family? What influenced her in her acutely realistic writing? The truth is that most people do not have much of an idea. Jane Austen has been distorted and twisted into a popular myth so much so that the real Jane Austen is largely unknown, despite her books being standard reading in most high school and college literature classes. Pastor and professor Peter Leithart, Ph. D., introduces us to a more accurate picture of Austen. His book, *Christian Encounters: Jane Austen*, focuses on the personality and viewpoints of “Jenny” Austen, as she was known to friends and family. Through a slim, but thoroughly researched biography, we are able to witness a playful, snarky, at times cruel and irreverent, but always fervently religious and kind-hearted young woman. All of this is the opposite of what we seemingly know of the woman. She is made out to be staid, prim and proper, and exceedingly “high-church”. She very much would have been “high-church” by the definition of today, where all of Christianity seems to be emotive, but at the time, much of faith was very intellectual, and a regular part of life. When one keeps this in mind, one can see where the faith of young Jenny Austen intersected with the way that she lived, and the novels that she wrote. The incredibly fun and witty side of Jenny is shown not simply in her published novels, but in an examination of her letters, and her early personal stories, called *Juvenalia*. As CS Lewis would later have his *Boxen*, his childhood stories, so Austen had her *Juvenalia*. The stories reveal a perceptive, witty, and sometimes biting and cruel wit. Austen is shown time and again to be more than willing to make the observations and comments that so many then, and even today, would consider to be rude or “best overlooked.” The issue that the author contends with is two-fold. First, how can he reconcile the equally pious and snarky sides of Austen. He does this by looking at the whole person, and concludes that the Austen that most knew was a lively, but exceedingly moral young woman. Her correspondence, the views of family and friends, her novels, and other primary works are utilized to make this point. The second potential stumbling-block that the author dealt with was an honest portrayal of Austen. I am a Christian, and I enjoy reading of how the Truth of God’s Word impacts the life of anyone, famous or otherwise. Despite this desire, I do not wish to lie about someone else just to make a point. People must not be placed in cookie-cutters, and made historically to favor our preferred viewpoint in the world. Thankfully, Leithart does not do this, but very honestly examines how the world of Austen was one of sometimes public religion absent private piety. Austen, it seems was privately and publicly pious, despite the fact that she did not emote in the way that we do today. Perhaps that is a sad thing for us. Perhaps we have lost our piety, our religious sense, in our constant quest for something akin to widespread public catharsis. Who knows? It’s something to think about. The only problem that I could identify with the author is a lack of understanding for how the culture of the United States would have influenced the early perceptions of Austen and her works. At the same time that the Victorian ideas were in place as identified by the author, a very different view of women was at work in the US. Historians have called it “The Cult of True Womanhood”. While in the Victorian concept, women were relegated to roles for their own protection, in some absurd paternalistic notion, in the US, the role of women was very much that of moral arbiter, and really the de facto head of the household. As a spokeswoman for this idea, Catharine Beecher, and her sister, *Uncle Tom’s Cabin* author Harriet Beecher Stowe, might have agreed on some ideas with the Victorians, but not much, and certainly not the basis behind those ideas. Each was very much into an assertive style of women’s place in the world. While I think that some of the ideas were not right, they also were not the same simpering way of life that the British mode of domesticity was. How this different idea would have impacted the perceptions of Austen would, I think, have lead to a greater understanding of the reasons for the “lost Jenny Austen.” I only mention this because the author mentions the misinterpretation of Jenny Austen, but leaves this, to my thinking, gaping hole in the narrative and argument. Jenny Austen, the real Jane Austen is a pleasure to get to know, as well as very thought-provoking to learn about. I highly recommend this book. -------------------- I received this biography of Jane Austen for free from Thomas Nelson publishers via their BookSneeze program. I am obligated to read it and give a review on my blog and on a commercial web site such as Amazon.com. I wanted to review it more fully here, as the reviews elsewhere are somewhat shorter to properly fit into those formats. Thomas Nelson emphasizes their desire for honest reviews, whether positive or negative, in order to help them create a better product. The opinions above are my honest viewpoint. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for allowing me to review this book, and thank you all for reading this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karina Heng

    The literary world wants to own her story. They’ve largely ignored her faith which this biography has taken the time to explore. More should read it. It gives the true reason why her stories have endured.

  16. 5 out of 5

    George

    Good writing not interesting subject The reading was slightly boring. At the end I just passed the pages. It had some good moments. I would recommend this to hard core Austen fans.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Nice scope for a biography. I haven't read any other biographies of Jane Austen so it's hard to compare but seems to cover enough of her life to get a good idea of it without dragging on or being too academic. Enjoyed reading this a lot. Nice scope for a biography. I haven't read any other biographies of Jane Austen so it's hard to compare but seems to cover enough of her life to get a good idea of it without dragging on or being too academic. Enjoyed reading this a lot.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    My first look into the life of one of my very favorite fiction authors. I had what the author describes as the typical Victorian view of her which was different than reality. This is a fairly short treatment of her but was interesting and seems to be a good place to dip the toe in.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    A lovely little biography of Jane Austen. Leithart clearly loves Austen and her works, and takes readers through her life as well as giving them some helpful lenses through which to read her works. Recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Interesting and enjoyable. Ended on a weird note, though, with quotations from Virginia Woolf, who famously misunderstood Austen in a profound way.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara Leacock

    A short portrait of one of the greatest writers of the 19th century.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    There was nothing stellar or amazing about this book, but I was engaged with the story, and did learn quite a bit about Jane Austen. I would recommend it as an easy-to-understand biography on Jane Austen, for people like me who don't know much about her. There was nothing stellar or amazing about this book, but I was engaged with the story, and did learn quite a bit about Jane Austen. I would recommend it as an easy-to-understand biography on Jane Austen, for people like me who don't know much about her.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has been all the rage for quite some time. Her books have surged in popularity, and many “continuations” or copy-cat novels have surfaced trying to imitate the esteemed Austen canon. The speculation regarding Jane Austen’s life has ranged as far afield as the interpretations of her novels. Films like Becoming Jane depict Jane as a romantic heroine, much more of a Marianne than an Elinor, only able to write about what she has experienced her It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen has been all the rage for quite some time. Her books have surged in popularity, and many “continuations” or copy-cat novels have surfaced trying to imitate the esteemed Austen canon. The speculation regarding Jane Austen’s life has ranged as far afield as the interpretations of her novels. Films like Becoming Jane depict Jane as a romantic heroine, much more of a Marianne than an Elinor, only able to write about what she has experienced herself: a clandestine romance, an elopement, a broken heart. But was the real Jane Austen’s life as melodramatic as Hollywood would have us believe? Peter Leithart’s new biography of Jane Austen gives a far different picture of the foundress of the modern novel. Published in the Thomas Nelson Christian Encounters series, the book describes her wit, her childlike character, and the pervasiveness of her Christian faith. Throughout the book, Leithart employs detailed scholarly research with many quotations from letters and memoirs written by Jane and her relatives. Leithart gives a thorough sketch of Jane Austen’s life, discussing her ancestors, her family members, and the whole of her short life. He argues that Jane Austen was really “Jenny,” a young woman with the playfulness of a child who had a keen insight into the small world wherein she lived. He discusses and confounds popular portrayals of Austen’s lovelife, showing scant evidence that the unmarried authoress was ever involved in any romantic intrigue. Some shallow readers consider Austen to have a contempt for Christianity and the Church (since the most memorable clergymen in her tales are the conceited Mr. Elton and the absurd Mr. Collins). However, Leithart points out that all of Jane’s other clergymen are praiseworthy individuals. Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park, despite temptation from the worldly Miss Crawford, takes the right path to join the Church. And though Mr. Elton is exposed to ridicule, the whole book of Emma is centered around the virtue of Christian charity. Leithart writes that although Jane Austen was not demonstrative with her religious sentiments, she was a true Christian in the style of the period in which she lived. She attended church regularly, wrote her own prayers in the style of the Anglican prayer book, and encouraged her family members in upright living. Leithart’s biography is an excellent resource for those interested in the real Jane Austen. Not only does it provide a needed corrective to the fables of Hollywood, it also gives interesting background on the novels themselves, explaining some of the special qualities that have made them the enduring masterpieces they are today.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    In this theologically grounded non-fiction approach to one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century, Leithart reveals his appreciation of the mastery of the drawing room milieu by this pre-eminent literary historian of manners. Her insight into her characters was remarkable for the times in which she lived. So universal are they that they live on till this day, featured in countless television and film remakes, prequels and sequels. In his introduction to Christian Encounters: Jane A In this theologically grounded non-fiction approach to one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century, Leithart reveals his appreciation of the mastery of the drawing room milieu by this pre-eminent literary historian of manners. Her insight into her characters was remarkable for the times in which she lived. So universal are they that they live on till this day, featured in countless television and film remakes, prequels and sequels. In his introduction to Christian Encounters: Jane Austen Leithart stresses that “the whole point of an Austen novel is to record the ironic discrepancies between surface and reality, to express social masks as masks.” He provides a brief overview of “Janeia”, the plethora of publications and reworked versions that have stemmed from Austen’s most notable works: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility. Leithart attributes the perennial appeal of Austen’s work to her minimization of contemporary references, which lends her novels a sense of timelessness. Leithart asserts that, in this relatively brief biography of 153 pages, he has attempted to reveal the many different sides to Austen’s character. His holistic portrayal of the novelist is an attempt “to depict accurately the depth and sincerity of her Christianity, as well as her Anglican discomfort with religious emotion, but without losing sight of the other sides of her complex character—her playfulness, her satiric gift for ridicule, her ‘waspishness’, her rigid morality.” Leithart’s conversational and colloquial style renders this biography a gentle introduction to the world and writings of this Regency novelist. Though his approach highlights the Christian aspects of the writer’s work and life, his approach is not at all polemic, as he emphasizes the humanity and humaneness breathing forth from her accurate portrayals of small town and rural middle-class and landed gentry life at the start of the 19th century. Christian Encounters: Jane Austen is well researched, and contains many excerpts from other works about Jane Austen, as well as extracts from her own correspondence. As a distinguished author and theologian in his own right, Leithart is well positioned to have written such an informative biography. In addition to the main text of this book, he also includes an annotated alphabetical listing of Austen’s family, friends and neighbors, lists the characters in Austen’s novels, and notes the sources on which he draws. Christian Encounters: Jane Austen should find a wide readership among all those interested in the author’s work, as well as among those who are interested in the faith aspects of this author’s life and works.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Serviceable, but I think it could have been far more interesting. I liked his Dostoevksy biography better, but I think he's right to judge that she was a genuine Christian. Still, he comes across as slightly defensive and I wish he could have pointed to the more theological parts of her letters, particularly against Evangelicals. It did not feel developed. Also, I think Austen is a little over-rated and I think all of her books show flaws so, for want of a better forum to do so I will offer a few Serviceable, but I think it could have been far more interesting. I liked his Dostoevksy biography better, but I think he's right to judge that she was a genuine Christian. Still, he comes across as slightly defensive and I wish he could have pointed to the more theological parts of her letters, particularly against Evangelicals. It did not feel developed. Also, I think Austen is a little over-rated and I think all of her books show flaws so, for want of a better forum to do so I will offer a few humble critiques. Northanger Abbey has its obvious flaws, but the romantic lead certainly stands out for being too much the male Jane Austen herself. Sense and Sensibility is better, though I feel that Marianne is sometimes far too easy and simple a character, especially compared to Austen's later portraits, and neither Brandon nor Edward Ferrars are particularly inspiring and their lack of charisma only serves the story by contrasting the dashing Willoughby (though having Alan Rickman works too). Pride and Prejudice is of course better, but I was struck by the fact that almost no character transformation takes place in the second half--merely the complications of Wickham and Bingley getting reversed. If Lydia had not eloped, it is doubtful the two would not have come together anyway and thus character growth is somewhat displaced by drama. C.S. Lewis was point blank right about Mansfield Park, and I'll finally admit that Edmund was an idiot for falling for Mary Crawford in exchange for getting to say that Fanny has too much "calf-love" and Henry Crawford would never pursue her (though I still treasure the dramatic ending--adultery in an Austen novel!). Persuasion, alas, is somewhat heartbreaking. Though Anne and Captain Wentworth are well drawn, the ending sounds too much like the wish-fulfillment of an old maid for me to properly enjoy it (I have similar thoughts now about Elinore Dashwood and Elizabeth Bennett actually). So I suppose that leaves me most satisfied with Emma, perhaps the least virtuous of Austen's protagonists. Emma's match to Mr. Knightly is well done, coming as a surprise to herself and the best twist (and one that both film versions cut out) is the fact that her relationship with Harriet must diminish and, tragically, we note that she might have done better had she befriended Jane Fairfax. It gives the book just the right amount of wistfulness and joy. J.K. Rowling also loved it. Can you ask a better endorsement? Also, Leithart's right that nobody matches Austen for humility, irony, and perfectly mimetic dialogue. I want to broaden my oeuvre, but it's difficult to find books that match her level of realism and anti-existentialism (I can't quite say sentimentality anymore though).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The Real Jane A loving biography of one of my favorite writers.  Well worth the read if you love Jane Austen's work. The Real Jane A loving biography of one of my favorite writers.  Well worth the read if you love Jane Austen's work.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Although a cute little pocket size paperback and a charming etching of Jane on the cover, beneath the cover lies a scholarly piece of work by Peter Leithart. If you are looking for a cursory and light read, you need to look elsewhere. Leithart has "pieced together this infinite life from the very finite shards and fragments people have left behind." The first hand accounts via personal letters to and from Jane Austen help Leithart to shape her into a real person for the reader. We know through the Although a cute little pocket size paperback and a charming etching of Jane on the cover, beneath the cover lies a scholarly piece of work by Peter Leithart. If you are looking for a cursory and light read, you need to look elsewhere. Leithart has "pieced together this infinite life from the very finite shards and fragments people have left behind." The first hand accounts via personal letters to and from Jane Austen help Leithart to shape her into a real person for the reader. We know through these personal accounts that she was raised by a preacher father and as such Reverend Austen taught his children the duty of prayer, and charity to the poor but also instilled in her a great love of literature. From her mother, Cassandra, she gained her energy and humor for life. Amazingly, Pride and Prejudice was first rejected without comment in November 1797 even though Jane's father had written a cover letter for the book stating that the author, not the publisher would initially bear the brunt of the publishing cost. It would not be published until January 1813 and that anonymously, "By a Lady." Leithart covers her upbringing, her education, her writing, her mentors, and finally her death. The relatives and relations get to be a bit convoluted and messy in the writing, they are hard to keep straight and that gets to be a bugger. Peter Leithart has written an excellent compendium for Jane Austen's books, Miniatures and Morals which I highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebornbutterfly

    Thomas Nelson has just published their first collection of what they call "Christian Encounters" The first collection of these neat little biographies are on John Bunyan, St. Patrick, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and my favorite, Jane Austen! I Admit, I've read a lot of books about Jane Austen, about her country, about her times, about her influences and about her family and even "Jane Austen for Dummies"! Some are are dry, and seem to be just facts, others tend to go off the deep end and ela Thomas Nelson has just published their first collection of what they call "Christian Encounters" The first collection of these neat little biographies are on John Bunyan, St. Patrick, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and my favorite, Jane Austen! I Admit, I've read a lot of books about Jane Austen, about her country, about her times, about her influences and about her family and even "Jane Austen for Dummies"! Some are are dry, and seem to be just facts, others tend to go off the deep end and elaborate a bit too much, especially on her short-lived romances.Very, very, few make her life seem real and tangible to the reader. To get to the point, I never have read one quite as enjoyable as this! At times this book reads like a novel, and yet it is full of (interesting - and verifiable!) facts and details. He's not one to drone on about the trivial, but he doesn't ignore the little nuances of her all too brief life. He also realizes his audience have probably not only experienced Jane Austen's books but also the many other variations on them. He mentions these, but doesn't take pages and pages to discuss this, just makes the reader aware of what he calls "Janeia." :) I am a Jane Austen ADDICT, (as in, ahem, STALKER!!) so I know my stuff, and this guy has shown me that knows his too! BIG thanks to the wonderful people at Book Sneeze for providing this book for review!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christy Trever

    Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart is the newest edition in a terrific series about famous Christians in history. I am a big Austen fan, but I've never read any of her biographies. Although she's been dead for nearly two hundred years, her popularity continues to grow with the constant updates of movies based on her popular novels, as well as in novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Creatures. Jane's image has undergone several incarnation Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart is the newest edition in a terrific series about famous Christians in history. I am a big Austen fan, but I've never read any of her biographies. Although she's been dead for nearly two hundred years, her popularity continues to grow with the constant updates of movies based on her popular novels, as well as in novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Creatures. Jane's image has undergone several incarnations over the course of history, but it seems only in the late twentieth century has she been acknowledged as the witty, clever, and ironic creator of the English novel. Leithart does a wonderful job of recreating Austen's life (Jenny, as he calls her), with her large, loving, and literate family. He doesn't try to make more of her faith than is truly on the record. Austen had a true and deep faith, but it was that of the eighteenth century: quiet, unspoken, and humble. He uses letters between family members and friends, Jane's books, and prayers she wrote herself to support his thesis. Leithart portrays Jane as a favorite aunt, one who was always ready with a funny story, had time to play games with bored children, and loved to laugh. This biography will not only shed light on Austen's faith, but on how her upbringing contributed to her ability to write such timeless stories.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    I liked Austen; I thought the book was okay. I like the size of the book--small books I dig. I have not read any other Austen biographies, but it seemed mostly fair and balanced. I got tired of the suppositions. There is too much: we could suppose this. Or probably that. Or maybe this. Because here are very little resources available about Austen's life, to some extent it is not the authors fault. But it feels rather poorly done. The inferences of Austen's character and intentions based on small o I liked Austen; I thought the book was okay. I like the size of the book--small books I dig. I have not read any other Austen biographies, but it seemed mostly fair and balanced. I got tired of the suppositions. There is too much: we could suppose this. Or probably that. Or maybe this. Because here are very little resources available about Austen's life, to some extent it is not the authors fault. But it feels rather poorly done. The inferences of Austen's character and intentions based on small often ambiguous quotes, and the interweaving of evidence to commentary, all reminds me of a well done highschool paper: flat, suspect, and having a tiring rhythm. Further, there were some things repeated, which is not a big deal, but it annoyed me to have something said as if it was something fresh and interesting that was already said. I liked Jane (Jenny) Austen, her wit, her fun, her poking and joking. I liked her not going for overt moralism. She's great. The book, meh. I got tired of the authors voice. It reminded me of the kind of person that I just stop listening to or believing anything they have to say because so much they say is hearsay. Not to say Leithart didn't put his research in--he did, but I find silly the sort of sentences that amount to: "I think that what Jenny wanted was for you to think this and this."

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