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Jane Austen at Home: A Biography

by Lucy Worsley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4131351,090 (4.2)46
""Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity." - Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire. On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen's death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses - both grand and small - of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'. Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but - in the end - a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world's favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home"--… (more)
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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
A fairly conventional biography, relying upon other biographies, and emphasising Austen’s homes, as apparent from the title. The book starts quite drily as Worsley explains family relationships and backgrounds, but this quickly transitions to excellent popular history, engagingly written, humorous at times and very enlightening. ( )
  CarltonC | Aug 10, 2022 |
This biography of the incomparable Jane Austen is center around her life at home and the places she considered to be home. Lucy Worsley's writing style in this book is light and chatting (it's clear how much she loves Jane and her novels), making for a fun reading and clarity into what her take on Jane's life is. I appreciated the details about Jane's family, her spurned suitors, and the aspects of her life that made it into her famous novels. Overall, a good read for Austen fans and those seeking to better understand Austen and her era. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 18, 2022 |
Lucy Worsley takes us through Jane Austen's life through the lens particularly of the houses she lived in. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jan 12, 2022 |
Very well written and fun, I think this books does a great deal to imagine Jane as a person and Lucy's warm regard for Jane really comes through. I knew the Austen family didn't seem to appreciate their now-famous member's talent but reading evidence of it made me quite sad. I would have loved to sit down with a cup of tea or five with Cassandra Austen and ask her about her sister... loved the book. ( )
  JuliaMay | Dec 10, 2020 |
2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. Historian Lucy Worsley's new book, Jane Austen At Home, gives us a peek into her home life and family relationships. Austen's life was not one of excitement, but a life lived within the constraints of society. Worsley does not fictionalize or sensationalize, but gives facts and details about Austen's life in a witty and engaging style.

This is the first book by Worsley that I have read, but I have watched several of her historical documentaries. Her wit and humor make history interesting and accessible. I found her book to be much the same. Some of the events in Austen's books mirror challenges or hardships faced by her and her family. I find I have a greater understanding of her writing and characters after reading this book. I can't imagine living within the constraints of Georgian society. An unmarried woman could face huge financial and property issues...not to mention the difficulties faced by female writers. The fact that Austen faced these challenges and produced several books that remain widely popular after 200 years is astounding and beautiful.

It took me several days to finish this book because I read it a little bit at a time. I enjoy historical non-fiction in small bites, rather than gulping my way through it all at once. I think this is why I enjoyed this book so much....rather than reading it quickly and getting bogged down in all the detail, I took it slowly and savored my time in the Austen household. It was so interesting learning about what actual life was like for Austen and other women of the time period.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history and Austen's writing! I hope that Worsley does a documentary or series on this topic as well!

Worsley is the author of several books on history including The Courtiers, The Art of the English Murder and If Walls Could Talk. For more information on her books and television documentaries, check out her website here: http://www.lucyworsley.com/

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St Martins Press via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.** ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Worsley, Lucyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Redman, RuthNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To generations of Austen worshippers, the site of Steventon Rectory is hallowed ground.
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But at least here we have some evidence, lacking from earlier years, that it had become agreed that Jane would be excused household duties. It sounds like a tiny thing -- and indeed it was -- but a tiny trickle of water gradually hollows out a stone. Jane's ducking out of the housework in order to write would lead inexorably onwards, upwards, towards women working, to women winning power in a world of men. This is the significance of trying to reconstruct the detail of Jane Austen's daily life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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""Jane Austen at Home offers a fascinating look at Jane Austen's world through the lens of the homes in which she lived and worked throughout her life. The result is a refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity." - Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire. On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen's death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses - both grand and small - of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'. Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but - in the end - a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world's favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home"--

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Take a trip back to Jane Austen's world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses--both grand and small--of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'.

Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but--in the end--a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.

Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world’s favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home. [retrieved 5/4/18 from Amazon.com]
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