Sunday, March 20, 2011

In which Dr. Jammicus jumps to a conclusion

Jane Austen: A LifeJane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not only is this a fun, easy biography of Jane Austen, I learned many things never covered in college literature courses. I learned in depth about her family, including her sister, Cassandra, who coped with several devastating losses in her life. The author's analyses of Miss Austen's novels is good solid scholarship.

I also learned just enough about Jane's brother Henry to make a wild conclusion--I think Henry had MS. Ms. Tomalin describes Henry as a hypochondriac, noting that at various times his symptoms included "a glowing of the hands" (which sounds like neuropathy to me), faintness, assorted intestinal disorders, dizziness, all of which can be symptoms of MS. Ms. Tomalin also states that later in life, Henry suffered at least one episode in which he was ill for no known reason, and recovered from what seemed to his family to be a fatal illness. Sounds like a classic MS flare or exacerbation!

My silly theory aside, the book is an enjoyable canvas of Miss Jane Austen's life, and definitely worth reading.

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Becs said...

I think you jumped to a good and reasonable conclusion.

Jammies said...

Thank you, Dr. Becs! :)