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Jane Austen: Daddy’s Girl (ePub)

The Life and Influence of The Revd George Austen

P&S History > British History > Georgian History P&S History > By Century > 18th Century P&S History > Social History

By Zöe Wheddon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 24.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 232
ISBN: 9781399071130
Published: 4th April 2024

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Jane Austen Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of the Revd George Austen is a poignant and pertinent examination of a relationship which became the cornerstone of Jane’s life, the bedrock of family and faith as she knew them.

Our epic journey through the life and times of the Reverend George Austen will lead us from his early childhood and humble beginnings as an orphan, through his schooldays and on to Oxford University, and beyond. We will follow his career in the Church of England and as master of his own boarding school, as well as peek into his marriage and home life.

Dovetailed in with this revealing biography is a thorough interpretation of fatherhood as a theme, as outlined in Jane’s novels, with scrutiny of the fathers of all her most beloved fictional families. Chapter by chapter we will understand more about Jane’s own view on fatherhood and how the Reverend Austen, as her father, coloured and created that view.

As we draw George and Jane’s relationship closer to us, we understand anew the many layers of clever meaning that Jane Austen interlaced within her stories. Through an examination of this unique father-daughter bond, Jane Austen fans everywhere can pull up a footstool in George’s library and become further united in spirit with their beloved

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and informative: the perfect book to learn something new about Jane Austen.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

In this interesting Austen-centric biography, Wheddon focuses on Jane Austen’s relationship with her father, Reverend George Austen, and on George Austen’s life and biography. With many references to the various father characters in Jane Austen’s six novels, Wheddon explores the pivotal role that George Austen played in Jane’s development and early career as a writer, supporting her writing and self-education while also ensuring that she lived the life that propriety demanded. Wheddon explores George Austen’s childhood and family life (particularly with his sister Philadelphia) and his time at school and at Oxford before joining the Church of England and taking up his post. By exploring themes of fatherhood in Austen’s novels, Wheddon shows her readers where George’s influence on Jane and the meaningfulness of this relationship reappears in her literary works, providing this nuanced insight into classic British literature. With these incredible lines of analysis and biography, Wheddon’s book is a fantastic contribution to current scholarship on Jane Austen and adds some new context and influence to existing lines of analysis and inquiry. An enjoyable read full of fascinating detail and insights into both the author, her father, and her books, Austenites and historians alike will greatly enjoy Wheddon’s latest book.

NetGalley, Lily Amidon

As featured in the Basingstoke Gazette

Jemma Cullum

As featured in the Basingstoke Gazette

Jemma Cullum

As featured in the Basingstoke Gazette

Jemma Cullum

This was an interesting book looking at Jane’s father rather than Jane herself. It was well written and researched. I enjoyed this very much and highly recommend it.

NetGalley, Rebecca B

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a captivating biography of George Austen, Jane’s Anglican vicar and farmer father, who had such a great influence on his famous daughter. Indeed, he had a huge influence on all of his eight children. It is truly a tale of hard work, courage, and a well-lived life.

George had a difficult time when he was young. Orphaned at an early age, he faced abandonment from his stepmother and separation from his siblings. Luckily, his benevolent uncle came to the rescue and George was given a headstart. Diligent and clever, he eventually went to Oxford and became a Fellow before settling down, marrying Cassandra who had aristocratic relations, and serving as a vicar, farmer and schoolmaster. During his time at Oxford, when he was a Proctor, he and some others actually stood up against the university, showing some courage.

Enlightened and ‘liberal’for his time, George saw his daughter’s talents and encouraged them, even helping her with publication of her work. He allowed her to have access to his huge library, sharing with her his love of reading, and even let the children stage rather bawdy plays! His main influence, though, was, of course, her deep Anglican beliefs and Christian upbringing.

This is a great book to read for anyone who wants to know yet more about Jane! The author’s podcast looks fascinating as well.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

A unique perspective on one person who affected Jane Austen's life and literary career. Her father. The reverend was the head of the household and had a big impact on how Jane looked at relationships and wrote about them in. her novels. Find out why in this book. If you love Jane Austen, you won't want to miss this.

NetGalley, Katherine McCrea

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A significant part of Jane Austen’s life has been omitted in the concentration on her relationship with her sister Cassandra. Such attention has been successful in showing Jane as a woman influenced by her own female friendships and then reflecting them in her work. Jane Austen: Daddy’s Girl, The Life and Influence of the Revd George Austen adds another important dimension to the influences on Austen’s writing, not only proving a detailed account of George Austen’s life from his early years but in the impact he had on Austen’s depiction of men, the social environment and moral imperatives with which her work is imbued, and the educational and inspirational environment in which she thrived.

Not only is this book a valuable addition to what is known about Austen and her writing, but it is a wonderful read. Packed with information it is, but a turgid recounting of events it is not. As is usual with the Pen & Sword style Zöe Weddon’s writing is extremely accessible. The book is entertaining to read and enhanced by frequent references to where Jane’s life and the influences upon it are reflected in her novels. Titles are in brackets and the text often elaborates on the connections she made between real life and fiction.

Zöe Wheddon adds judicious speculative dimensions to her work. These are some of the best examples of a writer using wide ranging research to provide a context and enhancing the way in which we can understand the events and characterisation based on known material. Some of the speculation is aided by Austen’s fictional work which is based on her knowledge of the events and circumstances around her. Together, the novels, Wheddon’s research-based knowledge of context, and her ability to draw together this with material which can be cited, produces a wonderfully woven familiarity with Austen, her family, in particular her father and her environment.

Together with such speculation is a host of information for which Wheddon has references. Each chapter is well endowed with citations, and the bibliography, plus material referred to as extra reading, demonstrates the important place Wheddon gives to research and using that research to produce a thoughtful encounter with the Austen family, Jane and her father, her siblings and her mother, Cassandra, as well as more far-flung relatives. The end result is a pleasure to read, and makes an important contribution to understanding Jane Austen, her world and her novels.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a really interesting read, I never really thought of Jane Austen's father and enjoyed how the author was able to bring this unspoken person perfectly. Zöe Wheddon does a great job in writing this and I hope to read more.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

I love Jane Austen, so reading this story about her family was amazing. She is such an amazing writer, and learning about her father and how she became a great writer was a story worth reading for all Jane Austen fans.

NetGalley, Emma Lynn

This revealing biography explores the pivotal father-daughter bond that shaped Jane Austen’s life and writings. Delving into Reverend George Austen’s journey from orphan to family man and clergymen, it examines how his roles and experiences influenced Jane’s portrayal of fatherhood in her novels. An interesting, well-researched, and easy-to-read book, it’s a gem for Jane Austen fans.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Once again, my Jane Austen obsession sneaks back into my life. Zöe Wheddon's Jane Austen: Daddy's Girl was an amazing non-fiction read, detailing the life of George Austen and his impact on Jane Austen and her writings.

Before Wheddon's book, I hadn't thought too much about the impact of Austen's family on her writings and in her book, Zöe Wheddon opens your eyes to an array of little-known information on the influential clergyman and father who shaped many characters in his daughter's writings from childhood to her successes.

Overall, Jane Austen: Daddy's Girl is a witty, well-researched book that shows the little-known influences behind Jane Austen's beloved classics. Wheddon's book should be on every Janeite's bookshelf this year.

NetGalley, Megan Rose

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The impact of Jane Austen's father on her and the entire family is revealed in this lovely book by biographer Zöe Wheddon. Jane learned so much from the erudite Reverend George Austen, and he even championed her work to publishers while gifting her the iconic portable writing table.

This unique, rich, and witty bio illumines how one loving man profoundly influenced the world's greatest novelist--at a time when women did not usually receive such support--with all of us as beneficiaries. Highly recommended!

NetGalley, Literary Redhead

From Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Bennet to Emma’s Mr. Woodhouse, fathers in Jane Austen’s fiction exercise an enormous influence on their daughters, yet the role of the novelist’s own father, the Rev. George Austen, is often understated in accounts of her life. That’s why Jane Austen: Daddy’s Girl is such a brilliant book, weaving archival evidence into an illuminating, enjoyable read. Zöe Wheddon’s father-daughter biography is a welcome wonder of both research and storytelling.

Professor Devoney Looser, Jane Austen scholar

In Jane Austen: Daddy's Girl, biographer Zoe Wheddon shares a wealth of little-known archival information and informed (and even wonderfully playful) conjecture to vividly bring to life the man most responsible for cultivating the genius of Jane Austen, her father. George Austen was a renaissance man--a top student, teacher, clergyman, and farmer--who understood the power of literature, and opened his library to Jane as a child, gave her the now-famous portable writing desk, and cold-contacted publishers to proudly tout her talent. Jane Austen was born at a time when women's education was never guaranteed, which makes her father's efforts in that regard all the more special and critical to her success. With palpable affection, illuminating detail, and a highly entertaining writing style, Wheddon creates for the reader the consummate portrayal of a man who encouraged all his children in their ambitions, regardless of ability: the result was a strong and loving large family who were able to recognize and encourage the genius in their midst, and the result for us was Jane's legacy of the greatest novels the world has ever known.

Natalie Jenner Internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls & the forthcoming Every Time We Say Goodbye (2024)

About Zöe Wheddon

A native of Jane Austen's beloved county of Hampshire, I have been married to Matt, (a stationery salesman, who keeps me supplied with post-it notes and gorgeous notebooks) for 30 years. We live in a North Hampshire village, on the outskirts of the town that we both grew up in, with our three grown up children and our cat Princess Leia. 
 
A perfectly imperfect local historian and aspiring writer, as the writer of my blog I write articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development at mrswheddon.wordpress.com. 
 
When I am not researching or writing I can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in my kitchen.

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