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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AUSTEN'S ERA LEAPS OFF THE PAGE, 8 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Jane Austen's Letters (Hardcover)
This new edition of Jane Austen's letters must surely take pride of place on the bookshelves of anyone who claims to love this extraordinary novelist.

The minutiae of her daily existence are meticulously recorded, and it is Austen's talent for expressing the seemingly mundane that brings the author and her letters so remarkably to life. Of the political history of all periods we have more than our fair share, subject as it is to the interpretation and opinion of various historians - popular or otherwise - and our understanding of an age changes every day, but it is only through contact with letters and journals such as these that we can stand face to face with the ordinary men and women that make up an era.

To quote from the product description above:
"This fourth edition incorporates the findings of new scholarship to enrich our understanding of Austen and give us the fullest and most revealing view yet of her life and family. There is a new preface, the biographical and topographical indexes have been amended and updated, a new subject index has been created, and the contents of the notes added to the general index."

Readers perhaps unfamiliar with Austen should not be put off by the parochial and intimate detail that fills her letters - it is precisely that detail and her powers of observation that make her novels as relevant today as they were when first published two centuries ago. To read her letters is to enter the same room as Miss Austen and her correspondents, to hear their laughter and tears, and to share in the daily life of this astonishing and unfortunately short-lived genius.

This fourth edition is elegantly produced in one volume - maybe a little tightly bound to be quite comfortable, and in a size of print that is not always easy on the eye - but minor quibbles aside, Austen devotees (hand in hand with those just beginning their acquaintance with her) can and should relish every lively word. It will be a long time before this edition is superseded.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Oct 2012 13:36:30 BDT
I confess to being prejudiced: Thomas Hardy really irritates me and I hate D.H. Lawrence for all the harm he did to literature.
I still live on unfavorable memories of Jane Austen. You are offering me a back door to correct my judgment.
I don't enjoy the literary canon and Austen is now has become a formidable intrusion.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2012 18:19:00 BDT
Green Knight says:
Have a look at Fay Weldon's remarkable book 'Letters to Alice'. It's a collection of letters to a fictional niece who is forced to study Jane Austen at university, and hates her!
It explains the novels and Austen's gifts so superbly that one cannot help but emerge grateful for her legacy.
I was 'taught' Pride & Prejudice at school. It took me 30 years to recover. Now, I love it. Fay Weldon helped enormously.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2012 15:15:54 BDT
I know where my Austen books are, an unusual feat, in US Signet editions.
In my high school days we were forced, and I mean forced to love French literature till the dreaded Revolution, so we were able to love the post Revolution literature, just by ourselves, as if we were animals gifted with reason, and all the foreign
literatures.
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