Paula Byrne's latest book is The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, and in it she takes a series of objects owned by or associated with Jane Austen and uses them to shed light on her life. She talked briefly about this type of 'microbiography' or 'partial life', contrasting it with the traditional 'womb to tomb' work which would not have been appropriate in the case of this subject as so much has already been said and nothing new has been unearthed.
Speaking with great verve and passion, Paula gave a most lively lecture on some of the objects she covers in the book, using them to set Jane Austen's life in context and correct what are frequent misapprehensions about her. She illustrated the overlapping areas between the author's life and her novels - what she said would have any fan rushing back for a re-read - and was at pains to show that far from the very confined, limited existence she is often thought to have had, Jane Austen was engaged with the world, went about the place, and of course, translated what she saw and heard into prose of genius.
Has anyone read Paula's previous book, Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead? I like the sound of it.