Kategoriarkiv: Jenkins, Elizabeth

Jane Austen – a biography

Oops. More than a month since I made a report…

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading the diary, I had a bit of a draught period just before Christmas, which was solved by starting a reread of Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon. Unfortunately, Bloom is of the kind to need concentration, which there is little to be had of at my grandparents. So over the Holidays I instead read Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen and Elizabeth Jenkins’ Jane Austen biography. Both are intended to be useful once I get around to writing this thesis thing. The former is a delightful collection of letters to a fictional niece from Weldon’s fictional alter ego. It is, in it’s own way, a novel, but it is also literary critisism. Jenkins’ biography is a decent piece of scholarship, seemingly, the one thing that jarred with me this time around (I can’t remember even noticing last time I read it) was her harping on the class issues – as in how they relate to Austen’s writing but also just in general. It makes the biography seem very dated, much more dated than the novels it deals with, despite being more than a hundred years younger.