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Jane Austen

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Description

 

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

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. Kipling and Churchill found solace in her writings during times of war and illness. Mark Twain had a love/hate relationship with her work. And then, there’s our celebrity culture: the television hit Pride and Prejudice, the award-winning 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and all the remakes and prequels and sequels. Modern-day Jane Austen fans just can’t seem to leave her characters alone.

“Janeia” is the author’s term for the mania for all things Austen. This biography captures the varied 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.

 

 

 

Jane Austen

“I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels. I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens. Highly recommended for Janeites like me!”

--Colleen Coble, best-selling author of The Lightkeeer's Daughter

Reading Guides

Reading Group Guide

  1. Jane Austen's novels have been made into popular films, and so Austen has been sucked into the "culture of celebrity." What is the culture of celebrity? How does that culture distort Austen's novels? How does the shift from page to film alter Austen's work?
  2. Was Austen wrong to minimize attention to the social, economic, and political movements of her time? Would her novels be better if she were more topical?
  3. Austen was a Christian, yet overt Christian themes rarely appear in her novels. No one is ever converted to the faith. Is her reticence about Christianity a weakness? Or is it a strength?
  4. Modern artists are often rebels against convention, but Austen was not. Is that a strength or a weakness in her work?
  5. Discuss the similarities and differences between Austen and her father. What are the differences and similarities between Austen and her mother?
  6. Austen grew up around boys. Find some examples from her novels of how that affected her sensibilities as an artist.
  7. Was Austen an early feminist? Why or why not?
  8. How did Austen's lack of formal education affect her novels?
  9. Austen had more than one romance that ended without marriage. How does that experience affect her novels?
  10. Austen's novels are, among other things, social satires, and Austen often writes with deep irony and even sarcasm. Is satire a Christian mode of writing? Is Austen being mean-spirited? Give some biblical examples of satire or humor.
  11. Throughout the biography, the author claims that Austen remained fundamentally teenage "Jenny" throughout her life. How is that true? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? How does it fit with Jesus' exhortation to "become like little children"?
  12. Austen frequently writes about money, property, and wealth in her novels. Is she overly concerned about material things? Does this reflect a commendable practicality? How do the events of her life shed light on her interest in wealth?
  13. Austen wrote for a long time without publishing anything, yet she persisted. For Austen, it was obviously the right thing to do. But is it ever wrong for someone to keep pursuing the dream of being an artist or author? How can someone tell when to give up?
  14. Read Exodus 31:3 together with Galatians 5:22-23. How are the two passages related? How do these two passages fill out the portrait of a Christian artist?
  15. Like most people in her time and class, Austen placed a great deal of emphasis on propriety and manners. Was this healthy, or was it a form of Pharisaism (like the practices of the Pharisees)? Is it ever right to be impolite? Give biblical support for your answer.
  16. Describe Austen's attachment to her home area of Hampshire. Does attachment to a particular place limit the scope of an artist's work? Does it make an artist parochial?
  17. How did Austen handle the suggestions of Rev. James Stanier Clarke? Was she rude? Did she overstep her bounds? Why or why not?
  18. What was Austen's attitude toward death? Was it a Christian attitude, or something else?
  19. Discuss how Austen's family helped to create the image of "divine Jane." How did that distort the real Austen? Was it good or bad for the family to try to protect her reputation as they did?

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Jane Austen, Peter Leithart
  • Jane Austen, Peter Leithart

Details

 

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.

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. Kipling and Churchill found solace in her writings during times of war and illness. Mark Twain had a love/hate relationship with her work. And then, there’s our celebrity culture: the television hit Pride and Prejudice, the award-winning 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and all the remakes and prequels and sequels. Modern-day Jane Austen fans just can’t seem to leave her characters alone.

“Janeia” is the author’s term for the mania for all things Austen. This biography captures the varied 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.

 

 

 

Jane Austen

“I was riveted by Leithart's excellent biography of Austen, the woman who profoundly influenced me to search for the universal truth in my novels. I was able to see the flesh-and-blood woman I've admired since my teens. Highly recommended for Janeites like me!”

--Colleen Coble, best-selling author of The Lightkeeer's Daughter

More Information

Length 192 Pages
Series Christian Encounters Series
Publication Date March 2, 2010
Company
  • Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10 1595553029
ISBN-13 9781595553027
Height 6.9"
Width 5"