Facts about Jane Austen are reiterated again and again by biographers and yet we continue to wonder who was this woman that wrote these novels and, more importantly, what does her writing have to say about its author?
Helena Kelly presents a ground-breaking theory in her book, Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, closely examining the author’s words and themes to reveal new views on this much-studied writer. She makes the argument that Jane is not to be found in the half-portraits and bare facts, not in the much-examined museum at Chatham or in the topaz cross she once wore, but instead in her books, in words we know to be hers.
This book delves deeply into the times Jane lived in, coming back to her words again and again, because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what she looked like. What does matter are the words she left behind, the imaginary people and wonderful stories that exist to speak for her when facts fail.
This is a deep book that spends much time considering how Jane wanted to be read and glorying in the stories themselves. It’s a must-read for Jane Austen fans and those who take interest in what happens behind the veneer of politeness and rattle of teacups and crave to see the darker political, economic, and societal views beneath.
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