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Jane Austen (Christian Encounters Series) [Kindle Edition]

Peter Leithart
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description


Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

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-selling author of The Lightkeeer's Daughter

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Peter Leithart has taught Theology & Literature at New St. Andrews College since 1998, and has served as pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho, since 2003. He received his Ph.D. at Cambridge in England. Dr. Leithart and his wife, Noel, have 10 children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 397 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1595553029
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003G83UIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,928 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Done April 13, 2010
It's been a while since I reviewed a book for Thomas Nelson, but it should come as no surprise that I chose another biography from the Christian Encounters Series to read. When I saw the biography of the one and only Jane Austen was available for review, I almost had a heart attack because I was so excited. I am most definitely, in the words of one of my refugee elders, a "Number One Fan" of Jane Austen (the refugee actually refers to himself as "Number One Fan" so take that for what you think). My mom introduced me to the literary stylings of Austen when I was a young girl- not only through her books, but also through the amazing adaptation of Pride and Prejudice BBC produced several years back (and yes, that is where my love affair with Colin Firth began, as I'm sure it did for every other female who fancies herself a good match with him).

Of course, Jane Austen is no new subject material for a biographer; hundreds upon hundreds of books describing the authoress's life have hit the market. Even movies have been made concerning her so-called love affairs, however fictionalized they may be. In reality, taking on the challenge of writing a fair and honest biography of Austen must be a daunting task. Because her fame did not reach significant heights until well after her death, we find the details of her life in her surviving correspondence between family and friends. Her nephew James Edward published a biography of his Aunt Jane in the latter half of the eighteenth century, but there is quite a deal of adversity over how he characterized her.

In this particular biography Peter Liethart tries to present an accurate portrayal of the Austen; he uses a great deal of primary sources, citing letter upon letter between Austen and various other people.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of such a remarkable woman March 4, 2010
This book was quite enlightening as well as entertaining about the life and times of Jane Austen. Reading it made me want to reread her most famous novels. It's always interesting to get a glimpse into the life of an author, especially one as timeless as Jane Austen. To see into her everyday life through information such as excerpts from personal letters gave a truer picture of who this amazing "authoress" was. The book did a thorough job of painting the background of the people and places most influential in her life, particularly her beloved family and favorite homes. Reading this book gave me a greater respect for her (her compassion, her humor, and overall virtuous nature) as well as awareness to the depth of who she was and the work that went into her novels. It was enlightening to see the pattern of writing in her life - beginning in her teens, taking a break for a decade during her personal trials, and then culminating in such success at the end of her very young life. She was a remarkable woman as well as writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Rael
Despite my love of her novels, I never read a Jane Austen biography until I recently thumbed back the cover of an almost-squarish little book by Peter Leithart - Jane Austen (Christian Encounters Series).

Well-Researched -
Numerous excerpts of letters fill these pages and give evidence for the portrait Leithart paints of Jane for us. I imagine it might be easier when writing a biography to rely on previous biographies, but Leithart primarily sticks to original sources. And what better sources than words of Jane and those who knew her?

Concise -
Leithart is a good writer, painting a vivid picture of lively, childlike "Jenny" without getting bogged down in dull information (no offense meant, I hope, to those of you who love lengthy biographies - I tend to drown in seas of information). His words were a breath of fresh air and a pleasure to read after the last book I read. And going from a fantasy tale to a biography, that's saying a lot for me.

Balanced -
By sticking to facts and making a few reasonable deductions, Leithart strikes a wonderful balance, both in showing Jane's flaws and fine points, and in giving a reasonable idea of her Christianity:

"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 these extremes distort Austen's life and personality."

And again:

"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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...IF You're a Jane Austen Fan September 15, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been making my way through some of these "Christian Encounters Series." I feel like I should know more about Jane Austen (and perhaps even one day read one of her books) and I thoroughly enjoy author Peter Leithart's incisive writing. Leithart is great but I'm just not that interested in Austen's life. This biography would be more useful to those who've read several Austen texts and now wish to piece together a clearer picture of the author herself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific First-Time Biography of Jane Austen November 11, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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.

"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." - page 68

Manners and morals are two very important elements in Jane Austen's novels. In her novels, Jane Austen gently reprimands those who are too fanciful and flighty, ridicules those who are vain and haughty, and punishes those who are dishonest and dishonorable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Christian Jane Austin
I greatly enjoyed this in-depth look at a much misunderstood author. A good companion book to this is Leithart's Miniature and Morals. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kim Southwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting intro for beginner of Austen
I received this biography on Jane Austen before I read Pride & Prejudice, which I did not like. I kind of wish I had read this first because I had no idea that the book was... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Shannon M. Mcgee
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know Jenny.
Quick and enjoyable read on the life of Jane Austen, or Jenny as she was known. Peter Leithart did a wonderful job in describing her life and personality. Read more
Published 19 months ago by ShannonT
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Brief Biography
Since diving into the world of Austenesque fiction a few years ago, I've been meaning to take in a biography of my now-beloved Jane Austen. Read more
Published 20 months ago by L. Hartness
3.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen Christian Encounters Series By Peter Leithart Published by...
This is a very interesting book detailing the life of Kane Austen through much research and her personal letters. Read more
Published on September 1, 2012 by S. Price
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content, poor format.
This is a very informative and detailed biography, but its dissapointingly hard to read. The text is so small, its not reader friendly!
Published on June 10, 2012 by Nikki S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick read biography
Jane Austen is a beloved author. Reading about her life brings the setting she wrote about to life. This series provides a quick read for the back story and helps provide a more... Read more
Published on January 27, 2011 by Jean Marrapodi
4.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen by Dr. Peter Leithart is a short but informative life one...
Jane Austen is a short 155 page book by Dr. Peter Leithart. Leithart teaches at New St. Andrew's College and is the pastor of a Reformed Church. Read more
Published on January 26, 2011 by C. M Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Author has wit and insight!
I have been enjoying this book a lot. I am a big Jane Austen fan, as well as a British Literature minor. This man seems to have good discernment. Read more
Published on December 16, 2010 by C. Maynard
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick, skinny read on Jane Austen;very accessible to fans otherwise...
I've attempted to read a couple of brick sized Jane Austen biographies in my time and after picking them up, putting them down, I picked them back up & muddled through, despite my... Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Christina Boyd @xtnaboyd
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