Джейн Остин подарила миру шесть незабываемых романов, но о самой Остин мы знаем до обидного мало: практически вся переписка писательницы после ее смерти была уничтожена. Брат Джейн Остин когда-то обмолвился, что жизнь его дорогой сестры была крайне скудна событиями, и многие биографы ему вторят, но Томалин решительно восстает против этого мнения, увлекательно рассказывая о ярких впечатлениях недолгой жизни писательницы: о несчастной любви юной Джейн к молодому ирландцу, о ее продолжительных визитах в Лондон, о ее близкой дружбе с великосветской кузиной, чей муж-француз пал жертвой революции и встретил смерть на гильотине, о службе в королевском флоте ее братьев-моряков (дослужившихся до адмиралов) во время Наполеоновских войн и об их жизни в далеких английских колониях… Миф о тихой старой деве, провинциалке и домоседке Джейн Остин, чьи представления о мире не простирались дальше околицы хэмпширской деревни, оказывается несостоятельным, в чем убедится всякий, кто прочтет одну из лучших биографий Джейн Остин, впервые переведенную на русский язык.
Almost one hundred years after the death of Jane Austen, William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh published "Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters. A Family Record" (1913). The book lovingly details Jane's birth, childhood, adolescence, and maturity; the everyday minutiae of her life, the circumstances in which she wrote her juvenilia and her six novels, and her early death. Using Jane Austen's own letters, additional letters sent between a large and fond family, and family reminiscences, William and Richard Austen-Leigh continued the family tradition of carefully nurturing the literary and personal reputation of a literary icon who also happened to be a most beloved aunt.
Of Jane Austen's life there is little to tell, and that little has been told more than once by writers whose relationship to her made them competent to do so. It is impossible to make even microscopic additions to the sum-total of the facts already known of that simple biography, and if by chance a few more original letters were discovered they could hardly alter the case, for in truth of her it may be said, "Story there is none to tell, sir." To the very pertinent question which naturally follows, reply may thus be given. Jane Austen stands absolutely alone, unapproached, in a quality in which women are usually supposed to be deficient, a humorous and brilliant insight into the foibles of human nature, and a strong sense of the ludicrous. As a writer in The Times (November 25, 1904) neatly puts it, "Of its kind the comedy of Jane Austen is incomparable. It is utterly merciless. Prancing victims of their illusions, her men and women are utterly bare to our understanding, and their gyrations are irresistibly comic."
It has been remarked that "in works of genius there is always something intangible — something that can be felt but that cannot be clearly defined — something that eludes us when we attempt to put it into words." This "intangible something" — this undefinable charm — is felt by all Jane Austen's admirers. It has exercised a sway of ever-increasing power over the writer and illustrator of these pages; constraining them to follow the author to all the places where she dwelt and inspiring them with a determination to find out all that could be known of her life and its surroundings.
Such a pilgrimage in the footprints of a favourite writer would, alas! in many cases lead to a sad disenchantment, but no such pain awaits those who follow Miss Austen's gentle steps. The more intimate their knowledge of her character becomes the more must they admire and love her rare spirit and the more thorough must be their enjoyment in her racy humour — a humour which makes everything she touches delightful, but which never degenerates into caricature nor into "jestings which are not convenient." Elizabeth Bennet is speaking in the author's own person when she says to Darcy: "I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can." We read in a short memoir of Miss Austen written by her brother Henry, "Though the frailties, foibles and follies of others could not escape her immediate detection, yet even on their vices did she never trust herself to comment with unkindness. She always sought in the faults of others something to excuse, to forgive or forget."
The Memoir of my Aunt, Jane Austen, has been received with more favour than I had ventured to expect. The notices taken of it in the periodical press, as well as letters addressed to me by many with whom I am not personally acquainted, show that an unabated interest is still taken in every particular that can be told about her. I am thus encouraged not only to offer a Second Edition of the Memoir, but also to enlarge it with some additional matter which I might have scrupled to intrude on the public if they had not thus seemed to call for it. In the present Edition, the narrative is somewhat enlarged, and a few more letters are added; with a short specimen of her childish stories. The cancelled chapter of ‘Persuasion’ is given, in compliance with wishes both publicly and privately expressed. A fragment of a story entitled ‘The Watsons’ is printed; p. iii and extracts are given from a novel which she had begun a few months before her death; but the chief addition is a short tale never before published, called ‘Lady Susan.’ I regret that the little which I have been able to add could not appear in my First Edition; as much of it was either unknown to me, or not at my command, when I first published; and I hope that I may claim some indulgent allowance for the difficulty of recovering little facts and feelings which had been merged half a century deep in oblivion.
James Edward Austen-Leigh.
In one of her personal letters, Jane Austen wrote "Little Matters they are to be sure, but highly important." In fact, letter-writing was something of an addiction for young women of Jane Austen's time and in her social position, and Austen's letters have a freedom and familiarity that only intimate writing can convey. Wiser than her critics, who were disappointed that her correspondence dwelt on gossip and the minutiae of everyday living, Austen understood the importance of "Little Matters," of the emotional and material details of individual lives shared with friends and family through the medium of the letter. Ironic, acerbic, always entertaining, Jane Austen's letters are a fascinating record not only of her own day-to-day existence, but of the pleasures and frustrations experienced by women of her social class which are so central to her novels. Vivien Jones's selection includes nearly two-thirds of Austen's surviving correspondence, and her lively introduction and notes set...
"Sanditon" - the last Jane Austen novel, which remained unfinished and bequeathed to his niece.
When Charlotte Heywood, eldest daughter in the family, are invited to stay in a Place Sanditon that promises to become a popular seaside resort, she happily agrees. A marriageable girl, Charlotte, as usual, preoccupied with finding a husband.
The Watsons is an unfinished novel by Jane Austen. She began writing it c. 1803 and probably abandoned it after her father's death in January 1805. Mr. Watson is a widowed clergyman with two sons and four daughters. The youngest daughter, Emma, has been brought up by a wealthy aunt and is consequently better educated and more refined than her sisters. But when her aunt contracts a foolish second marriage, Emma is obliged to return to her father's house. There she is chagrined by the crude and reckless husband-hunting of two of her sisters. She finds the kindness of her eldest and most responsible sister, Elizabeth, more attractive.
«Сэндитон» — последний роман Джейн Остин, оставшийся незавершенным и завещанный племяннице.
Когда Шарлотту Хейвуд, старшая дочь в семье, приглашают погостить в Местечко Сэндитон, обещающее в дальнейшем стать популярным морским курортом, она с радостью соглашается. Девушка на выданье, Шарлота, как водится, озабочена поиском мужа…
«Уотсоны» (англ. The Watsons, возможно написание Ватсоны) — неоконченный роман Джейн Остин. Писался ею в 1803—1804 годах. Завершён племянницей Джейн Остин уже после смерти писательницы, опубликован под названием «Младшая сестра» (The Youngest Sister). Действие, как обычно у Джейн Остин, происходит в сельской Англии рубежа XVIII—XIX веков. Эмма Уотсон — главная героиня романа — воспитывается в респектабельной семье, однако после замужества её тётки вынуждена вернуться домой…
Возможно, уже в 1787, Джейн Остин начал писать стихи, рассказы и пьесы для развлечения своего собственного и своей семьи. Позже писательница составляет «честные копии» этих ранних работ, которые разделены на три тетради. Теперь эти работы называются «Ювенилия», т. е. юношеские. Изначально эти небольшие по объему произведения написаны между 1787 и 1793 годами.
В книгу вошли четыре юношеские произведения: «Любовь и дружба» (Love and Freindship), «Замок Лесли» (Lesley Castle), «История Англии» (The History of England) и «Собрание писем» (A Collection of Letters).