David Cecil, A Portrait of Jane Austen, London: Constable, 1978.
R.W. Chapman (ed) Jane Austen’s Letters to her Sister Cassandra and Others, (2nd edn) London 1952, repr. 1979.
R.W. Chapman, Jane Austen: Facts and Problems, Oxford 1948, repr. 1970.
Edward Copeland (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
John Halperin, The Life of Jane Austen, Baltimore and London, 1984.
Claire Harman, Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, Cannongate Books, 2010.
Park Honan, Jane Austen: her life, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
Elizabeth Jenkins, Jane Austen: a Biography, London: Gollancz, 1949.
Marghanita Laski, Jane Austen, London: Thames and Hudson, 1975.
Deirdre le Fay, Jane Austen’s Letters, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Valerie Grosvenor Myer, Obstinate Heart: Jane Austen – A Biography, Michael O’Mara Books, 1997.
Catherine Reef, Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
Jon Spence, Becoming Jane Austen, Hambledon Continuum, 2007.
George Holbert Tucker, A Goodly Heritage: A History of Jane Austen’s Family, Manchester, 1983.
Claire Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life, Penguin, 2003.
Jane Austen: a Life is a biography which traces Jane Austen’s progress through a difficult childhood, an unhappy love affair, her experiences as a poor relation and her decision to reject a marriage that would solve all her problems – except that of continuing as a writer. Both the woman and the novels are radically reassessed in this biography. Her life was superficially uneventful, but Claire Tomalin brings out the flesh and blood woman who lies behind the cool, ironic prose.
The Complete Critical Guide to Jane Austen is a good introduction to Austen criticism and commentary. It includes a potted biography, an outline of the novels, and pointers towards the main critical writings – from Walter Scott to critics of the present day. It also includes a thorough bibliography which covers biography, criticism in books and articles, plus pointers towards specialist journals. It also has an interesting chapter discussing Austen on the screen. These guides are very popular.
© Roy Johnson 2009