What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
There is plenty to enjoy in this parade of Austen micro-knowledge (Evening Standard)
Highly entertaining ... reveals a quite unexpected aspect to the novelist and her books (Daily Mail)
Any new book on Jane Austen raises the urgent question, Would I get more pleasure from reading this than from re-reading my favourite Jane Austen novel? If you decide to give What Matters in Jane Austen a chance you'll know after a few pages that you've made the right choice (John Carey, Sunday Times)
[A] fine collection of essays ... Like all good literary critics, he has the happy knack of making you read even familiar works with fresh eyes, and the essays in this book are among the best of their kind (Daily Telegraph)
A detailed primer on Jane Austen's attitudes to sex, money, class and even the weather (Sunday Times Must Reads)
Fascinating ... If you love Jane Austen, you'll love this book too - it's almost as good as finding an unpublished novel (The Lady)
From 'Is there Sex Before Marriage in Austen?' to 'Which important Austen characters never speak?' the Guardian Book Club columnist answers 21 apparently trivial questions that reveal deep and hidden truths about Jane Austen's fictional worldSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Because of the clarity and simplicity of her prose style, Jane Austen's books are very accessible to us. We read and understand the stories, we appreciate her jokes and can empathise with her characters. What John Mullan's book does is illuminate all the social nuances that modern readers miss, such as the significance of using a person's Christian name (not just an indication of how well you know someone) or what going to the seaside can entail. The result is like wiping clean a familiar but grimy picture, the story is the same but it glows with a colour and life missing before.
This is not a dry book fit only for serious students of Eng. Lit. It is amusing and witty and slips down very easily with the added benefit of seriously improving your knowledge and appreciation of Jane Austen and her time.
Modern readers are apt to think that there is no sex in Jane Austen because the writing is subtle. Anyone who has read the scene between Elizabeth and Darcy when he proposes to her for the first time can be left in no doubt about the sexually charged frisson between them. It is not overtly described but it is still there in the way they both behave and in what they say. Characters in the novels marry and have babies - Mrs Weston in Emma and Charlotte Palmer in Sense and Sensibility not to speak of Colonel Brandon's sister-in-law, Eliza not to speak of Charlotte Collins in Pride and Prejudice who is pregnant by the time the novel ends.
Characters die in the novels - most notably Mrs Churchill in Emma who is also one of the powerful non-speaking characters. Jealousy, envy, snobbery and hatred all make an appearance in the novels as of course do pride and prejudice. Jane Austen does not gloss over the less pleasant aspects of life in early nineteenth century England especially for women or over the less pleasant aspects of human nature.
I found this book an absolutely fascinating read and it is written in an easy approachable style. In my opinion it can only add to anyone's pleasure in reading Jane Austen's novels. There are plenty of notes on the text and a bibliography which will give the interested reader plenty of other texts to study.
How much does Age matter? "She was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever, but she felt her approach to the years of danger" This is, of course, Elizabeth Eliot in Persuasion who is in her late twenties and by contemporary standards, getting on a bit. The author opens this chapter by pointing out how much TV and cinema adaptations of the novels have fixed character's ages in our minds. Mrs Bennett cannot be much more than 40 and that it is likely she married early. Mr Collins is viewed by many readers as being middle-aged, but he is a 'tall, heavy-looking young man of five and twenty' though played by David Bamber in THE TV series, who is in his mid forties. In Sense and Sensibility Elinor Dashwood is played by Emma Thompson, then aged 36 but Elinor is nineteen. We must also remember that Marianne, when marrying Colonel Brandon, can only been about 17 and he is 35, but the point being made is that Marianne has been aged, metaphorically speaking, by her heartbreak and experience.
What do Characters call each other? "in the whole of the sentence, in his manner of pronouncing it and his addressing her sister by her Christian name.......Read more ›
The book is subtitled '20 crucial puzzles solved', and these twenty puzzles provide the basis for the book's twenty chapters. Despite her cosy and genteel image, as Professor Mullan shows, in her own day, Jane Austen was a cutting edge literary pioneer. Whilst her contemporaries, like Mary Brunton ('Self Control'), preferred perfect heroines, Jane Austen wrote about very flawed protagonists such as Miss Woodhouse in 'Emma'. Furthermore, as Professor Mullan demonstrates in his chapter on Jane Austen as an experimental novelist, Austen virtually invented the free indirect style, and 'Emma' the novel is a bravura display of technical brilliance in its extensive use of free indirect discourse.
In conclusion, this book is an interesting study of the Austen canon which helps to provide the reader with several insights about Jane Austen's six novels. It was almost as entertaining as reading the novels themselves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
laboured, strained, needs editorial cuttings, obviously put together by bits and pieces...some fascinating insights into the craft, the technique, of writing, but not worth six... Read morePublished 5 months ago by april
Brilliant guide to jane Austen books, perfect for my son's rather challenging project on the author. Lots of useful information. Easy to read and understandPublished 8 months ago by J S
This is a fascinating incite into the work of Jane Austen, and gives a deeper understanding into all the goings on beneath the surface influencing her characters behaviour. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mr. J. A. Bentley
Well worth buying as it explores 20 issues you may not have thought about at all or only to a superficial level, and it doing so it illustrates Austen's art in a very detailed way. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephen Bishop