A reasonable portrait of a nice lady writer, but I instantly had a visceral reaction to it.
You can’t write in a public place withour being facebooked within finishing your sentence. Jane Austen’s latest biographer has found a “new” picture of Ms. Austen. A better one than all the known. Wtf is Facebook? “Fan art might not be fan art, but it’s hard to tell” (recommended AustenBlog).
The previous portrait is a very sentimentalised Victorian view of ‘Aunt Jane’, someone who played spillikins, who just lurked in the shadows with her scribbling. But it seems to me that it’s very clear from her letters that Jane Austen took great pride in her writing, that she was desperate to be taken seriously This new picture first roots her in a London setting – by Westminster Abbey. And second, it presents her as a professional woman writer; there are pens on the table, a sheaf of paper. She seems to be a woman very confident in her own skin, very happy to be presented as a professional woman writer and a novelist, which does fly in the face of the cutesy, heritage spinster view.
Paula Byrne in Newly Unearthed Portrait Of Jane Austen Contradicts Her ‘Grumpy Spinster’ Image,
The Gloss, December 7, 2011.