Jane Austen

By David Nokes

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.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 18 Sep 1997
Pages: 592
ISBN: 978-1-85702-419-7
Dr David Nokes is the author of Jonathan Swift A Hypocrite Reversed (which won the James Tait Black Prize for Biography 1985) and a biography of John Gay. He has written adaptations of Clarissa and Tristram Shandy for TV. He has reviewed books, film and TV for the TLS, Spectator, Observer, LRB, Independent, BBC Radio’s Kaleidoscope, First Night and Bookshelf.

Praise for Nokes’s biography of SWIFT: -

‘Nokes writes with pith and vigour. This volume will confirm his position as one of the most acute critics of 18th century literature now active.’Books and Bookmen -

‘Exemplary’TLS -

‘Concise, lucid and lively’Sunday Times -