To those of her time, Jane Austen seemed to have lived an unremarkable life. She was the youngest daughter of a country rector. She never married or had children. During her lifetime, her books were published anonymously as “A Lady”. Northanger Abbey, her first completed novel and Persuasion, her last completed novel, were published posthumously.
Why is it that a woman seemed to have lived an unremarkable life during her own time period, is still discussed and debated nearly 200 years after her death? Natalie Tyler’s 1999 book, The Friendly Jane Austen answers this question.
Through interviews with academics, writers and performers who have acted in the various adaptions, Ms. Tyler makes Jane Austen as vibrant and alive as she was 200 years ago.
I bought this book at a used book store. I didn’t expect to find it, but it was too tempting to not purchase.
I loved this book. Some Jane Austen related books are written only for the Janeite fan community, an newbie or an outsider might find those books to be boring and unreadable. But not this book. The interviewees include writer Fay Weldon and actress Harriet Walter (Fanny Dashwood in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility). This book is for everyone, whether they be a newbie or a long time Janeite or anyone who is curious about her novels.
My favorite part of the novel was the quizzes. Ms. Tyler creates multiple quizzes, asking the reader what type of Jane they might be and asking them to guess the quotes from the various novels.
I highly recommend this book.