Jane Austen.

By Andrew Norman

Printed: 2009

Publisher: The History Press. Stroud

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 3

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

                     A very nice collector’s copy.

Jane Austen is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in the English literary canon, and recent film and television adaptations of her works have brought them to a new audience almost 200 years after her untimely death. Yet much remains unknown about her life, and there is considerable interest in the romantic history of the creator of Elizabeth Bennett, and Mr Darcy. Andrew Norman here presents a fresh account of her life, breaking new ground by proposing that she and her sister, Cassandra, fell out over a young clergyman, who he identifies for the first time. He also suggests that, along with the Addison’s Disease that killed her, Jane Austen suffered from TB. Written by a consummate biographer, Jane Austen: an Unrequited Love is a must-read for all lovers of the author and her works.

Review: Andrew Norman is the latest in a long line of authors to attempt to wring a few more insights from the limited surviving biographical material on Jane Austen. In 2009’s “Jane Austen: An Unrequited Love”, Norman provides a concise, sympathetic but unremarkable narrative of the short life of the beloved romance novelist. At the appropriate intervals in the chronology, Norman weaves in descriptions of her literary output, from the so-called Juvenalia to the unfinished novel “Sanditon”. His literary criticism has been covered in more depth by other authors. Norman does wrestle with two questions of interest to Jane Austen fans. He claims to identify the young man with whom Jane Austen reportedly shared a romantic attachment at a seaside resort in 1801 or 1802. The suspect has been discussed by other scholars, notably R.W. Chapman, and there are at least two significant objections to his standing as Austen’s “nameless and dateless” romance. To his credit, Norman acknowledges the objections; readers must be their own judge as to whether he overcomes them with his explanation.


                 The original is unsigned but was believed by the family to have been made by Austen’s sister Cassandra and remained in the family until 1920 with a signed sketch by Cassandra. The original sketch, according to relatives who knew Jane Austen well, was not a good likeness.

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six novels, which implicitly interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage for the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works are an implicit critique of the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism. Her deft use of social commentary, realism and biting irony have earned her acclaim among critics and scholars.


                  Watercolour of Jane Austen by her sister, Cassandra, 1804.

The anonymously published Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815), were modest successes but brought her little fame in her lifetime. She wrote two other novels—Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818—and began another, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. She also left behind three volumes of juvenile writings in manuscript, the short epistolary novel Lady Susan, and the unfinished novel The Watsons.


   Austen was a regular visitor to her brother Edward’s home, Godmersham Park in Kent, between 1798 and 1813. The house is regarded as an influence on her works.

Since her death Austen’s novels have rarely been out of print. A significant transition in her reputation occurred in 1833, when they were republished in Richard Bentley’s Standard Novels series (illustrated by Ferdinand Pickering and sold as a set). They gradually gained wide acclaim and popular readership. In 1869, fifty-two years after her death, her nephew’s publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced a compelling version of her writing career and supposedly uneventful life to an eager audience. Her work has inspired a large number of critical essays and has been included in many literary anthologies. Her novels have also inspired many films, including 1940’s Pride and Prejudice, 1995’s Sense and Sensibility and 2016’s Love & Friendship.

About the Author –  Andrew Norman is a writer and retired GP. He has previously written biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy and Agatha Christie. His website is http://andrew-norman.com  and he lives in Poole, Dorset.

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