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In an innovative new biography of one of Britain’s best-loved writers Paula Byrne draws on material objects from the life of Jane Austen – a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a laptop writing box, a royalty cheque, a bathing machine – to describe the life and mind of a woman at once more grounded in the social and political realities of her age, and paradoxically more modern, than has customarily been thought. Paula Byrne’s earlier book Jane Austen and the Theatre was described by Paul Johnson in the Spectator as ‘the best book on Jane Austen I have ever read’, and Frances Wilson, reviewing Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead for the Sunday Times wrote ‘Byrne’s gift as a writer is her ability to combine scholarship with turbo-driven narrative power.’ To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice Paula Byrne will be at the shop to talk about Austen with regular LRB contributor John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London and author of How Novels Work, Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature, and What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved. The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things (MDGentleReader)… (més)
Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and The Secrets of Brideshead? by Paula Byrne A terrifically engaging and original biography about one of England's greatest novelists, and the glamorous, eccentric, debauched and ultimately tragic family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, "Brideshead Revisited". Evelyn Waugh was already famous when "Brideshead Revisited" was published in 1945. Written at the height of the war, the novel was, he admitted, of no 'immediate propaganda value'. Instead, it was the story of a household, a family and a journey of religious faith -- an elegy for a vanishing world and a testimony to a family he had fallen in love with a decade earlier. The Lygons of Madresfield were every bit as glamorous, eccentric and compelling as their counterparts, the Marchmains, in "Brideshead Revisited". William Lygon, Earl Beauchamp, was a warm-hearted, generous and unconventional father whose seven children adored him. When he was forced to flee the country by his scheming brother-in-law, his traumatised children stood firmly by him, defying not only the mores of the day, but also their deeply religious mother. In this engrossing biography, bestselling author Paula Byrne takes an innovative approach to her subject, setting out to capture Waugh through the friendships and loves that mattered most to him. She uncovers a man who, far from the snobbish misanthropist of popular caricature, was as loving and complex as the family that inspired him. This brilliantly original biography unlocks for the first time the extent to which Waugh's great novel encoded and transformed his own experiences. In so doing, it illuminates the loves and obsessions that shaped his life, and brings us inevitably to a secret that dared not speak its name! Hardback £25 Tickets £3.00 (which can be set against the price of the book) Drinks & Nibbles R.S.V.P. Brendon Books (Brendonbooks)… (més)