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Becoming Jane: The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen Paperback – Bargain Price, June 27, 2007

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About the Author

Anne Newgarden is a writer and editor. She lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax; Mti edition (June 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401309046
  • ASIN: B001QXC4L8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,824,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Though the domain of Jane Austen's novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her family's entertainment. As a clergyman's daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called "The First Impressions" an early version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1801, on her father's retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death on July 18, 1817. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Austen's identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Sharma VINE VOICE on September 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Becoming Jane is a collection of quotes from Jane Austen. As author of Pride and Prejudice alone, she would have deserved a place in list of one of greatest romance novelists of English Literature. She wrote six novels, and every novel deals with issues of love, marriage, relationship and friendship. While Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are most well known of her characters, Emma is my personal favorite. In these novels, the language is Victorian, sexual propriety is heeded to (as per the need of those times) and hence as love stories, these novels possess an innocence, a charm that has been hallmark of Austen's style, and has contributed to her popularity with people of all age groups about centuries. Becoming Jane collects her pearls of wisdom from not only her novels, but also from her personal letters.

The book is divided into various sections, each highlighting quotable lines related to say family, vanity, beauty or courtship. Anne Newgarden, the editor, introduces each section with some insight into writing, life and times of Jane Austen. Certain social practices and customs from Austen's time have faded away, and these mini-essays convey what background information is not available firsthand to readers to Austen. But Jane Austen was, like every good novelist, a creator of a world complete in itself; characters who exist outside and beyond their space and time; and hence are going to be always relevant and identifiable.

If you are an Austen fan, and you have read all her books already, you will like this book, as it will bring back the memory of certain passages or personalities from your earlier reading. You will also find additional quotes from her personal life, which are equally enjoyable.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on September 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have read and loved Jane Austen's novels for a long time, but I must admit that I didn't know too much about Jane Austen herself. When first glancing at the picture from the Miramax film of the same title on the cover of Becoming Jane, I figured the book was going to be solely about the romance aspect of Jane Austen's novels. I was wrong.

Becoming Jane is a small, fairly short book full of quotations and history about Jane Austen's life. The passion the editor has for Austen and her work comes through in her writing; you can tell how eager she is to show you the things she loves about Austen. Romance and love were important to Austen, and to the characters in her novels, but that is by far not the only theme to her writing.

There are chapters on everything from family to money to fashion to letter writing. She fully embraces humanity, with all of its failures and follies, and rejoices in finding the humor in life. Alongside quotes from Austen's novels are quotes from the many letters she wrote to her family and friends. It was the quotes from her letters that I found the most interesting.

I also enjoyed the historical context at the beginning of each chapter; I learned just how little control and autonomy many women of the time had over their lives. Austen was in favor of marriage and love and accepted in some ways the basic idea of the man as the main breadwinner as it was such a part of the culture she was living in, but she was able, in subtle ways, to poke fun at and expose the double standards for men and women.

For those who already know and love Jane Austen, this book will make you want to go back and reread some of your favorites. For those who haven't read her before and perhaps just saw the film version of Becoming Jane, it's a quick introduction to her wit and wisdom that hopefully will inspire you to read one of her many novels. Its size makes it perfect for a gift.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book, I am not reading it straight through, but skipping around instead. It has a lot of funny passages, and glimpses into Miss Austen life by taking lines out of letters to family and friends over the course of her life. Also has many lines from her famous characters that she has brought to life in her many novels. Not a case study, but just some neat little gems and wisdoms to make you smile. I like this book, and I think it would be cool to actually read some of her complete letters, now that I have read some actual snippets from them. Great book for any Jane Austen fan. (Tip- this book is small and great to take to appointments for a few minutes of reading in the waiting room, or as a light read before bed.)
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