on 20 August 2007
Josephine Ross has had the good idea of establishing a particular code of polite conduct and intercourse from the novels and the letters of Jane Austen to her niece. Although in the social circles where it applied it was facilitated by a much stronger sense of hierarchy than exists today, it eased the path of acquaintance, prevented unfortunate mal entendus, and arguably allowed for a much more genuine expression of affection or dislike than is possible in our egalitarian, demotic era. It was certainly far less mechanical or hypocritical than it became when ritualised for the emerging middle classes at the zenith of Edwardian mores. As always elegantly written, amusing and perceptive, this book is wonderfully enhanced by the delicate charm of Henrietta Webb's very witty coloured illustrations.
on 14 October 2013
Certainly, there are myriad similarities between the two authors: the sweet polished prose, the light, sprightly tone; the wisdom. I picked this up as a gift for an Austen-mad friend - it's a perfect gift! - but got seduced by the writing and held onto it. At first I enjoyed it as a gimmick book, but then got lured in further by its Nabokovian trick. The more one thinks about it, Austen's books all offer a meditation on manners, so this guide produces a perfect critical approach. I must confess I've read it more often than Mansfield Park, the book where Austen's own sense of manners seems most askew. (Austen seems to regard it as near-criminal debauchery, if you do theatricals in the house). Ross did not entice me into re-reading Mansfield Park, but it lead to a rereading of Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Thank you Ms Ross! And thank you Ms Webb, for your delightful watercolours! Are you doing any more?
on 10 November 2007
Henrietta Webb has written a witty guide to the social mores of JaneAusten`s England - good manners, breeding, the occasional faux pas, wealth and position all play a part in the rich tapestry of Henrietta`s scholarly dissection of English life as seen through the prism of Jane Austin`s elegent prose. An excellent present for your favourite aunt or uncle.
Mick Drake author of the comic novel All`s Well at Wellwithoute.
on 5 July 2012
Great value for money in this small purchase.
It's very informative, and written in an entertaining style. Visually pleasant too, as it's scattered with watercolour illustrations of day-to-day items and styles of dress. Such as a young lady may have produced as she practised her Art, maybe?
A worthy addition to your own Jane Austen library - you won't regret allowing yourself this "treat"!