Sunday, 14 March 2010

Jane's Fame

In spring my thoughts always turn to Austen and the thoughts of other book bloggers obviously do, too. Make Do And Read and Stuck In A Book have interesting posts up. I'm also looking forward to Sanditon week at Austenprose. At only seventy pages, Sanditon can be read in a couple of hours, but it is so frustrating not to know how this delicious novel would have developed. I loved Mr Parker's self-serving promotion of Sanditon as a fashionable watering place and his daft sister's exertions to secure lodgings for a 'lady whom she had never seen, and who had never employed her.'

Jane's Fame is out in paperback at last! A witty account of Austen's life and the 'cult of Jane' that has arisen since her death, it's a different approach to life writing to Hermione Lee's biography of Willa Cather which was very much a literary critique of her novels. I'm about halfway through and enjoying it very much - anybody else read this?

13 comments:

Merenia said...

Hello, I find the new innovation in the last decade of biography and history writing really interesting. I like the way some author's take a very specific angle or a narrow slice of one stage of someone's life, so will be keen to read Jane's Fame from this perspective as well as loving anything 'Jane'! I am half way through "Mad World" which is another innovative biographical work that just focuses on Evelyn Waugh's relationship with the family that inspired Brideshead Revisited. There was a bit of an academic row over Jane's Fame when if first came out...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/15/jane-austen-research-row

Steph said...

Any time of year is a good one for me when it comes to Austen! I have actually never read Sanditon - I am purposefully leaving a few Austens unread so that I have some of her books to look forward to in years to come. I like knowing that I still have some of her stuff to discover!

Frisbee said...

I saw Jane's Fame today at a bookstore and hesitated over it. Library, library, I kept muttering to myself. But I do love Jane and this will go on my list. Spring does seem like a good time of year to read Jane Austen.

mary said...

Thanks for your kindness in commenting on my very new blog, Nicola! I was thrilled to receive my first visitor though I'm still finding my way and hardly ready for company.
I'd love to read Hermione Lee's biography of Cather but I'll wait until I've read all the novels. (I've read four since you inspired me to start with O Pioneers! but I think The Professor's House will always be my favourite.)
I have Lee's V Woolf biography out from the library. Haven't quite got into it yet, though it looks very good. It's the physical weight of biographies that defeats me ... not a book for tucking into my handbag!

bookssnob said...

This sounds terrific and I do very much want to read it - a trip to the library is forthcoming I think!

I am yet to read Sanditon or her other unfinished pieces of writing - I am holding onto them as I don't like the thought of never having anything new to discover.

candletea said...

I received my copy of Jane's Fame in the mail today! I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time (ever since the hardcover book came out - but was deemed too expensive by me). I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it.

Laurel Ann said...

Thanks for the shoutout for the Sanditon event at my blog Austenprose. I look forward to your comments.

makedoandread said...

Oh dear. I suspect a trip to the bookstore is inevitable. That looks wonderful.

A Bookish Space said...

I've only read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensability, so lots of Jane Austen still for me to look forwards to. I have been coverting Jane's Fame since I read a review about it when it first came out.

Vintage Reading said...

Merenia, hi, thanks for the link, I remember when Jane's Fame first came out that there was a flurry of articles - I love a good academic row! 'Mad World' sounds interesting, it's years since I read Brideshead Revisited. As you say, looking at a specific aspect of life writing is fascinating.

Steph, I envy you, having some unread Austens! I find that as I get older my favourite Austen's change all the time.

Frisbee, I think you'd like Jane's Fame. I should use the library more but I've had such high fines from hanging on to books that I might as well have bought it in the first place!

Mary, hello, glad you are enjoying Cather. The Professor's House is my favourite, too, closely followed by May Antonia, although I'm also very fond of Lucy Gayheart and My Mortal Enemy. I did find the Lee biog of Cather very academic - I would have liked a little more detail about Cather's life.

Booksnob, I wish there was some more Austen to discover. I dream of a hidden manuscript being uncovered - the way they are always finding Beatles tapes in someone's attic!

candletea, do post a review of Jane's Fame. I couldn't justify they price of the hardback either. Paperbacks seem to come out pretty quickly now anyway.

Hi Laurel Ann, I'm loving Sanditon week - great idea.

makedoandread, I'm really enjoying Janes's Fame. The Tomalin biog, for me, is the definitive work on Austen but I think this book adds valuable perspective and it's entertaining, too.

A Bookish Space, you are so lucky coming to the great novels for the first time. I'm very fond of Persuasion.

Mystica said...

A suggestion of an author you may like Susan Howatch. I have done a review of one of her books (there is a whole lot of them). It does not fall exactly into your categories but I think you may like them.

hopeinbrazil said...

Hi Nicola, Just stopping by in response to the question you left on my blog. I think The Warden is Trollope's best novel. It's followed by five other books in the series if you like the first one. It takes patience to get through Trollope, but I think it's more than worth it for the wit and nuggets of wisdom.

Karen said...

I have tossed and turned over whether or not to read Jane's Fame - but I think I will have to give in! I have not read Sandition before either - I couldn't stand the thought of not being able to read the end! I think I might have to change that though.