Who was the real Jane Austen? Overturning the traditional portrait of the author as conventional and genteel, bestseller Paula Byrne's landmark biography reveals the real woman behind the books.Few authors inspire the same devotion as Jane Austen. Her six novels are perennial favourites, forever topping polls and appearing on screen. However, we know remarkably little about her. The Jane of popular imagination echoes the Victorian representation of her as sweet and maidenly, her books entirely suitable for polite society.In this astonishing biography Paula Bryce, the renowned Austen scholar, thwarts all attempts to tame Jane's reputation into one of dreary respectability and we meet the more likely personality behind such novels as Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Through her life and work, Jane emerges as deeply immersed in culture and politics, far ahead of her time in both her writerly ambition and desire for independence.With new revelations, including Byrne's discovery of a previously unknown contemporary portrait and the identity of Jane's long-lost seaside love, this is a depiction of Austen that finally makes sense - an intelligent, subversive and thoroughly modern woman.