A sparklingly intelligent and intimate biography of one of Britain’s best-loved writers by the highly praised biographer of Swift: ‘The best biography of Swift to date.’ Michael Foot, Observer.
In this brilliant reassessment of an often misunderstood subject, David Nokes explores beneath the surface of Jane Austen’s outwardly calm existence to uncover the psychological dramas which shaped her fiction and forged her profound and knowing insight into human emotions. Re-examining the letters and documents of her life, as well as her novels, to trace the inner sources of the imaginative vitality and emotional power that animated her work, Nokes has produced an altogether more personal portrait than has ever been achieved before. He argues that the seductive power of Austen’s fiction comes from her intense, imaginative struggle to create images of harmony out of the disruptions and upheavals of her private life. Her novels, for all their triumphant artifice, betray many disturbing reminders of the frustrations of female hopes and the penalties of social dependency. This biography is an engaging, original and highly readable, a fitting testimony to the clergyman’s daughter whose novels rank among the world’s greatest literary works.