It's unlikely that there's a more comprehensive collection on the life of novelist Jane Austen than this boxed set of three one-hour videos. The first video, Life
, takes viewers to the locations where Austen lived her abbreviated life. The film looks at her birth, as one of seven children born to a country curate, how she lived and wrote, and her unfortunate early death. There's also a look at her relationships, notably with her elder brother (who assisted in the publication of her novels) and her sister Cassandra. A visit to the family's Chawton cottage home gives a nice image of the environment in which Austen found herself.
The second video, Society, explores the Regency era in which Austen lived. It's a thorough, historical, informative perspective that puts Austen in the context of her time. There's a look at what people wore, what they ate, and the change in English society from the reign of King George III to the Regent's turn, pre-George IV. Society also examines the political state at the time and the caricatures and cartoons that populated the newspapers.
Works presents narrated excerpts of Austen's writing, as well as insight into her personal life, through letters (although Cassandra is said to have destroyed those letters with too personal an insight). What's most fascinating is the speculation and examination of the real-life people who inspired the now-classic heroes and heroines in Austen's novels. --N.F. Mendoza