Each Portrait is a Kind of Truth: Picturing Jane Austen
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What did Jane Austen look like? The best-authenticated portrait (currently on display as a rare loan at the Holburne) is the sketch by her sister Cassandra, but many people have found it unsatisfactory. Why is that? Is it because it seems unfinished? amateurish? scowling? Or is it because it does not conform to our view of how we think she should have looked? There are other contenders as portraits and other descriptions from those who knew her. Are all of them like her in some way?
Professor Kathryn Sutherland is Senior Research Fellow, St Anne’s College, Oxford. Her books include Jane Austen’s Textual Lives: From Aeschylus to Bollywood (2005) and Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts (2018).
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