Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Christian Encounters: Jane Austen

By Peter Leithart

From the back of the book:

“Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become – a literary celebrity. Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing. This biography captures the various sides of Austen’s character and places her Christian faith in a more balanced light and with less distortion than has been achieved previously. It is a delightful journey through a life spent making up stories that touched the lives of millions.”

Dr. Peter Leithart is a professor of theology and literature and has authored several books. That makes this biography all the more special, in my opinion, as he is able to combine two topics he is very knowledgeable about and create a book that is not only informative but readable, as well.

This biography begins with an explanation of the time in which Jane Austen lived. Dr. Leithart thoroughly explains what the feelings of the day were when it came to women and men and their places in society.

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the typical rebel. She was determined not to get caught up in the norms. She never married and she produced books that were very different than those read then. Yet, she loved children and was a favorite aunt to her nieces and nephews and she was very modest about her ability to write.

She was also quite humorous, both in her writing and in her life. In fact, Leithart said she would be writing for Saturday Night Live if she lived today.

I loved that comparison! And as I read some of the excerpts from her writing Leithart included in this book, I could really see where he is right. She had such a unique sense of humor – very satirical and downright funny!

Austen is credited with the beginning of the modern novel and today, her books are more widely read than ever. Anyone who is a fan should read this biography as it truly provides an honest insight into this marvelous author.

1 comment:

Suko said...

Terrific review! Jane Austen was definitely ahead of her time. I will look for this biography.