Wednesday, March 31, 2010
by Peter Leithart
Thomas Nelson, Pub. 2009
This is another great book from the Christian Encounters series.
Peter Leithart takes us from the very, very young "Jenny" Austen, through the sad embrace of her death in July of 1817.
Her literary sense and style are carefully inspected through disection and microscopic scrutiny. We learn that "Jenny" had a sense of humor above all else; this ranged from the price of a pair of carriage horses to the macabre death of others.
Her poetic side waxed often, as she wrote of her nephew's birth and again at the death of an old friend, and even regarding her own illness and impending end.
Jane Austen had a writing style, and storytelling abilities that preceded the feminist movements that came after her death. She was truly ahead of her time! Young and old, male and female enjoyed her many, though limited, books.
I think it is truly Austen's humor that seems to grab Leithart above all else. He writes, "At her best, Jane Austen wrote out of laughter. Her art came from the impish glee of a precocious teenager amused by the follies of the world around her, wanting to get us in on the joke. Her final voice is modulated, deepened, matured by life and its losses; but it is still the voice of the Juvenalia, the joyous voice of Pride and Prejudice, the voice of the narrator of Emma and of the comic passage in the unfinished Sanditon. It is the playful voice whose resonance is enriched by the piety that is always in, with, and under it. It is the voice of the supremely talented, supremely meticulous writer who lived and died as Jenny, whose greatness as a woman and as an artist is the greatness of one who became, and remained, a little child."
There is no doubt that Jane Austen as written by Peter Leithart, will become a mandatory read for those who are studying Austen; or for those who love her works purely for the art itself.
I highly recommend this read, and give it a five star rating!
***DISCLOSURE NOTICE: A free copy of this book was supplied to me for the purpose of review by Thomas Nelson Publishing. No monetary exchange was given. All comments and wording in this review are purely my own. - Cyndi Beane Henry