Archive for 'young Jane Austen'

“Young Jane Austen” Wins INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer has won the Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Gold Award in Biography, Adult Nonfiction.

A new biography focusing on Austen’s creative development as a child, Young Jane Austen was written by Lisa Pliscou, illustrated by Massimo Mongiardo, and published by Wyatt-MacKenzie in April 2015.

Read the full announcement here.

More about Young Jane Austen here.

 

 

“Young Jane Austen” an IPPY Silver Medalist

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer has received a silver medal in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards, known informally as the IPPY Awards. A new biography focusing on Austen’s creative development as a child, Young Jane Austen was written by Lisa Pliscou, illustrated by Massimo Mongiardo, and published by Wyatt-MacKenzie in April 2015.

To read the full announcement, click here.

For more about Young Jane Austen, click here.

 

 

 

“Young Jane Austen” an INDIEFAB Finalist

Lisa Pliscou’s Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2015) is a Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist in the biography / adult nonfiction category. It was illustrated by Massimo Mongiardo.

 The winners will be announced at the American Library Association’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida, in June.

More here.

More about Young Jane Austen here.

 

 

“Young Jane Austen” Featured in Bas Bleu Catalog

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer is featured in the new Bas Bleu catalog. The copy reads, in part:

“The brief, eminently charming narrative — complete with original illustrations — makes up the first half of this slender volume, and the second half contains the annotated version of the same story, filled with fascinating facts about Jane’s life and times. Young Jane Austen makes a perfect introduction to the author for a young reader — especially one with creative inklings. And established Austenites of all ages will find this unique biography enlightening and encouraging as well!”

More here.

More about Young Jane Austen here.

“Young Jane Austen” an Austenprose Best of 2015 Book

Lisa Pliscou’s Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, a recently published biography focusing on Austen’s childhood and her creative development, has been named one of Austenprose’s Best Books of 2015.

Read more here.

More about Young Jane Austen here.

 

 

 

Lisa Pliscou on HuffPost

Lisa Pliscou, author of Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, Higher Education, and the forthcoming Jane Austen, the Girl Who Wrote, was interviewed by Annie Scholl for HuffPost’s “Books” section on December 14, 2015.

Read the interview, “Author Celebrates ‘Badass’ Birthday Girl, Jane Austen,” here.

More about Annie Scholl here.

More about Lisa Pliscou here.

 

 

Lisa Pliscou & Holly Brady at Jane Austen Gala

Lisa Pliscou and Holly Brady will discuss Lisa’s recently published book, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer, as part of the annual gala hosted by the Jane Austen Society of Northern California on December 5, 2015, at San Francisco State University.

Their talk is titled “Obstinate, Headstrong Girl.” Holly and Lisa will converse about various aspects of Young Jane Austen, including Jane’s life as a child, the influence of her family dynamics, practical and cultural obstacles facing her as a young writer, and the fascinating connections between her youth and her mature work.

They’ll also discuss Lisa’s inspiration for Young Jane Austen, what the writing process was like, and how it came to be published. The audience will be invited to share their questions during the latter part of the talk.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Holly Brady is the former director of the Stanford Publishing Courses. She is an editor and a publishing strategist with a strong interest in new publishing processes. Currently she works with serious writers who are interested in using new media tools to self-publish their work. She also teaches self-publishing techniques through Stanford Continuing Studies.

Young Jane Austen has been praised by Jane Austen’s Regency World, Austenprose, VOYA, Austenesque Reviews, Beth Kephart, Laura Fraser, Polly Shulman, Quadrapheme, and others. Frequently mentioned is the book’s wide-ranging scholarship, intriguing focus on a less-studied interval of Jane Austen’s life, its unusual format, and exceptional beauty in design and illustration. More about Young Jane Austen here.

“Young Jane Austen” Spotlight and Giveaway

Lisa Pliscou’s recently published Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer is featured today on Marie Antoinette’s Gossip Guide to the 18th Century.

Says Abby Stambach, College Archivist and Reference Coordinator Librarian at the Sage Colleges: “Young Jane Austen is a fun and charming book that is a must read for any Janeite or any future Janeite.”

A giveaway for a signed, print copy is being offered, which runs through September 30, 2015.

To read Abby Stambach’s full review, and to enter the giveaway, click here.

To learn more about Young Jane Austen, click here.

Lisa Pliscou Featured on the Regency Explorer

Lisa Pliscou’s guest post, “Jane Austen’s ‘Secret’ Brother,” recently appeared on the Regency Explorer blog. 

Lisa’s post begins:

As I was making my way through a stack of Jane Austen biographies — what began as pure enjoyment and ultimately became research for my Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer — I was surprised to see that occasionally, an author would tally Jane’s siblings and end up with six.

The correct number, of course, is seven; altogether there were eight Austen children, beginning with James and ending with Charles. Jane’s older brother George, somehow, slipped between the cracks.

And why? Because he was the “defective” Austen child.

"Changes" by Massimo Mongiardo in Lisa Pliscou's "Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer"

“George had been put somewhere else. They might see him sometimes, but he would never come home. . . . Poor George.” From “Young Jane Austen”; this illustration is “Changes” by Massimo Mongiardo.

Read the full post here.

More about Lisa’s recently published biography, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writerhere.

The “Secret” Brother of Jane Austen

As I was making my way through a stack of Jane Austen biographies — what began as pure enjoyment and ultimately became research for my Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer — I was surprised to see that occasionally, an author would tally Jane’s siblings and end up with six.

The correct number, of course, is seven; altogether there were eight Austen children, beginning with James and ending with Charles. Jane’s older brother George, somehow, slipped between the cracks.

And why? Because he was the “defective” Austen child.

Aside from this one key characteristic, almost nothing is known about George Austen. As mysterious as Jane Austen’s appearance is, there are, at least, two verifiable images to date; there are none of George. We have no idea as to what he looked like, what he sounded like, how he behaved on a day-to-day basis, who he loved or what he loved. For some biographers, it seems, he may as well have never existed — a pitiable footnote in the otherwise exhaustively exhumed and analyzed Austen lore.

Born in 1766, the second baby, George early suffered from what his parents described as “fits.” As with so many other aspects of Jane’s life, her brother’s ailment, or ailments, cannot be definitively identified.

He was “mentally defective,” says Park Honan, and “probably a deaf-mute.” George Holbert Tucker describes him as both “mentally abnormal” and “mentally retarded.” Joan Klingel Ray mentions his “illness” and says that he was epileptic. Claire Tomalin wonders if he had cerebral palsy.

Paula Byrne, in her discussion of George’s “special needs” in The Real Jane Austen, says that he was “mentally incapacitated,” “epileptic and possibly deaf”; she also comments upon a “spectacular streak of madness” that afflicted Jane Austen’s maternal line, seeming to leave open the question as to whether George was ‘mad’ as well, as opposed to having purely physical handicaps.

Apparently, like his other siblings, George was sent as an infant to board with a village family nearby. However, unlike them, he remained there. It’s unclear how great a role he played in the everyday life of his own family over the next several years.

"In the Evening": illustration by Massimo Mongiardo in Lisa Pliscou's biography YOUNG JANE AUSTEN: BECOMING A WRITER

Here, a cozy evening in the Austen household, as envisioned by illustrator Massimo Mongiardo in “Young Jane Austen.” Might George have been among the young people, enjoying the talk, jokes, laughter?

In the 2007 film Becoming Jane, George is — in an appealing portrayal — shown as an adult, an integrated family member, capable of communicating through sign language and sensitive to the interactions of those around him.

The reality is more likely that George ultimately became, to Jane at least, a shadowy figure. When Jane was three years old, George, thirteen, was put into the care of a family eight miles away — a significant distance from the Austen home in Steventon. He would join his uncle Thomas, the younger brother of Mrs. Austen, an even more elusive figure, said variously across the centuries to be an “imbecile,” an “idiot,” and “handicapped.” No letters, no records, exist to indicate how often, if at all, Thomas and George were visited by their family.

In writing Young Jane Austen, I was mindful of Jane’s own experience in being ‘farmed out’ as a baby, and wondered what kind of impact it could have had on her. It’s thought that she may have gotten to know George quite well during this interval.

"In the Village." Illustration by Massimo Mongiardo in Lisa Pliscou's "Young Jane Austen."

Jane spent around a year and a half ‘farmed out’ with a village family. Although her other family members were said to have visited quite often, her older brother George lived there and would have been a constant in her life; the two siblings may have formed a very real bond. “In the Village” by Massimo Mongiardo.

At around the same time that George was sent permanently away, other major events within the family were occurring: Jane’s oldest brother, James, left to attend Oxford University, fifty miles away, and Edward, eleven, was whisked away on a long journey with wealthy older cousins.

What was George’s departure from Steventon like? Unlike James or Edward, he could not, realistically, anticipate the pleasures of travel, education, advancement, independence. He was going to be placed into the care of strangers. Was he aware of this, lucidly or dimly? Did he set off in innocent excitement, or with reluctance or fear?

We have no way of knowing. Nor can we know if Jane was present as he began his journey, or her own feelings about it. So in the narrative I speculate, as if through Jane’s puzzled perspective:

“And George, who had fits, who could neither speak nor hear, would never, Mama said, reach the age of reason, and so he was sent to live with a kind family who would take care of him, in a village far away. Mama said they must be rational and they must accept.”

As I remark in the annotated section of Young Jane Austen, it’s to be hoped this family was kind. Here again, we have no idea how they treated these two handicapped inmates. Debate continues to rage as to whether Mr. and Mrs. Austen were callous, even cruel, in sending George away. Some condemn them outright. Others point out that within the context of the time, their actions were perfectly normal, even solicitous: many people who were categorized as “mad,” “imbecile,” or otherwise ‘defective’ were consigned to asylums where they generally lived in deplorable conditions.

For me, with my focus on young Jane, the lingering question is that of how she experienced George’s removal. How was it explained to her? Was it explained? Was she left with an enduring impression that powerless children could be similarly removed at any time, as she had been as an infant?

"Changes" by Massimo Mongiardo in Lisa Pliscou's "Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer"

“George had been put somewhere else. They might see him sometimes, but he would never come home. . . . Poor George.” From “Young Jane Austen”; this illustration is “Changes” by Massimo Mongiardo.

As it happened, four years later, at the age of seven, Jane herself was sent away again — to the faraway little school of a distant relative. It was there, in fact, that she nearly ended her short life in a severe bout of a dangerous, highly contagious illness, thereby nearly rendering her exile a permanent one.

However, unlike her “secret” brother, Jane was allowed to come home. For a while.

 

 

This post appears with the kind permission of Regency Explorer, where it originally appeared.