Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Mostly Jane

Found Jane Austen by Elizabeth Jenkins in my local second hand bookshop. I'm intrigued by the handwritten inscription and very much hope that "H" was fond of Austen and delighted to receive this book as a gift from "J" on Christmas Day, 1948.

While I think that Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen -A Life is the definitive Austen biography, Elizabeth Jenkins' uses her experience as a novelist to provide a unique insight into Austen's genius and her polished style makes this book a real pleasure to read.

When Jenkins' describes 'the brilliant perfection of Pride and Prejudice, sixteen years maturing in the mind of an unequalled artist' and the 'peculiar loveliness of Sense and Sensibility' it makes you want to immediately re-read them.

Talking of which, this year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility. Anyone planning a re-read?


Bellezza said...

I'll reread it with you, if you'd like. Sometime after Easter?

Carolyn said...

Ooh, I'd love to find a copy of her biography of Jane Austen, since I loved The Tortoise & the Hare last year! It would be interesting to see if the way people look at Austen has changed over the years too.

Lilacs In May said...

It would be a pleasure to reread it with you.

Anonymous said...

You always have the best luck in charity shops! This looks wonderful. I would love to read more Elizabeth Jenkins after greatly enjoying The Tortoise and the Hare.

I haven't read Sense and Sensibility since I was a teenager - I'd definitely consider doing a reread with you!

Barbara C. said...

Oh, it's so sad that H's grandchildren don't have her book.

seagreen reader said...

It would be lovely to commemorate the anniversary by re-reading Sense and Sensibility.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful find. I read a little of Elizabeth Jenkins in Jane Austen in her memoir a while back, and that was more than enough to make me believe that this will be a gem.

Mystica said...

I too would love to find this book.

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

ooh ooh oooh we've just read it at book club - though have yet to meet to discuss it. We read it because of the anniversary. I highly recommend re reading it in 2011.

Monica said...

I've never read a bio of Austen, I really ought to. I'll look into Tomalin's one. Thanks.

Sunday Taylor said...

I would definitely like to reread "Sense and Sensibility," one of my favorite Jane Austen books. Thanks for letting us know that this is the big anniversary year!

Anbolyn (Cousins Read) said...

i love sense & sensibility and would completely enjoy re-reading it. just name the date!

Mae said...

Didn't know it was the 200th anniversary. Wow! Not planning a re-read. Simply planning to read it. :-)

potterjotter said...

Oh, how lovely ... I love to wonder about inscriptions on the inside of books. Nice to think the book has found its way to you. Will re-read any Austen any time.

StuckInABook said...

Mm, must read this... I have read Tomlin's book, but it would be lovely to read Jenkins' view. The book I really want to read is A View from Downshire Hill - but it's impossible to find.

JaneC said...

I read them all - once a year. Ok, maybe not Northanger Abbey! But defs 'the big 4'.

Audrey said...

I am! Would join with you and the other friends here. And I loved the Elizabeth Jenkins biography...wonderful new insights on the novels. I wish I had my own copy, but thankful to the library.

Penny said...

I have to admit to having both these biographies and having read neither yet! I've always been meaning to, though... :o)

I have another, too. I can't remember the author and it's upstairs and I'm tired... Ah, David Noakes? Maybe... You've nudged me into thinking I'd better get on with them! Thanks!

Vintage Reading said...

Bellezza - Oh yes, any time this year - please let me know your thoughts.

Carolyn - I'd like to read The Tortoise and the Hare, I've not read any of her fiction.

Lilacs in May - will be looking out for your post!

Booksnob - please squeeze it in if you get time. Apologies for not joining in the Persephone reading week, but I'm such a hopeless Austen fan I sometimes can't tear myself away!

Barbara C. Yes that is one book I wouldn't have donated!

seagreen reader (love that name!) I am eagerly anticipating lots of S&S posts!

fleur fisher, yes Jenkins is a very elegant writer - I must check out her fiction.

Mystica, I should use second-hand bookshops more and less of the big commercial outlets.

Joan, I'm putting a lot of pressure on my book group to read it right now - we've read a series of disappointing titles lately.

Monica, I think Tomalin's is the best. Look out for Carol Shields' biog, too.

Sunday Taylor, please do post your thoughts on S&S. I've found it so fresh and contemporary while re-reading it is difficult to believe it is 200 years old!

Anbolyn, oh anytime this year! I can never stick to schedules or time scales. Will be awaiting your post.

Mae - I deeply envy you coming to S&S for the first time. A brilliant novel!

potterjotter - I'd love to know who they were and what they thought of the book. I never inscribe books when I give them as gifts, perhaps I ought to do it to leave something for posterity!

Stuck in a Book - is that a Jenkins title? I really must read some of her work. Another neglected writer, I think.

Hi Jane! Are your big 4 the same as my big 4?! Persuasion, Mansfield Park, S&S and P&P. Emma is probably my least loved title.

Audrey - I found Jenkins and extremely perceptive writer with very interesting points to make about the nature of literary genius. So glad your library retained a copy. Please post or comment on S&S, I love to share thoughts.

Penny, I'd highly recommend the Tomalin. Not read the other title you mentioned. I'm not a huge non-fic reader, but I do like a good biog. Do let me know how you get on with the Tomalin.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read Elizabeth Jenkins but Carol Shields also does another interesting biography from a novelist's perspective.