Jane Austen

Carol Shields' biography of Jane Austen is also a compelling meditation on how great fiction is created.

Carol Shields

With the same sensitivity and artfulness that are the trademarks of her award-winning novels, Carol Shields explores the life of a writer whose own novels have engaged and delighted readers for the past two hundred years. In Jane Austen: A Life, Shields follows this superb and beloved novelist from her early family life in Steventown to her later years in Bath, her broken engagement, and her intense relationship with her sister Cassandra. She reveals both the very private woman and the acclaimed author behind the enduring classics Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. With its fascinating insights into the writing process from an award–winning novelist, Carol Shields's magnificent biography of Jane Austen is also a compelling meditation on how great fiction is created. (From Penguin Canada)

Jane Austen: A Life won the the Charles Taylor Prize (now known as the RBC Taylor Prize) in 2002.

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From the book

A glance can both submit and subvert; it can be sharp or shy, scornful or adoring; it can be a near cousin to scrutiny — but it almost always assumes a degree of mutually encoded knowledge. A spark is struck and apprehended; the head turns on it's spinal axis; the shoulders freeze; the eyes are the only busy part of the body, simultaneously receiving and sending out information, so that a glance becomes more than a glance. It is a weapon, a command, or a sigh of acquiescence.

From Jane Austen by Carol Shields ©2001. Published by Penguin Canada.

Author interviews

Featured VideoListen to the late Carols Shields, author of a biography of Jane Austen, talking to Eleanor Wachtel for CBC’s Writers & Company in 2001.