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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and rise of Jane Austen, 3 April 2010
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This review is from: Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World (Paperback)
I first read Jane Austen's novels when I was teenager and it is only recently I have returned to them with renewed pleasure. This book charts the progress of Jane Austen's reputation from moderate sales of the first 4 novels published - `Sense and Sensibility', Pride and Prejudice', `Emma' and `Mansfield Park'. `Northanger Abbey' and `Persuasion' were both published after her death in 1817. Some appreciated her writing then including the Prince Regent to whom `Emma' was dedicated, others thought it ephemeral and of no importance. All of the books were remaindered at some point in their early lives.

It wasn't until the late nineteenth century that her reputation improved and her books were reprinted and sold well. It was at that point that the critics started to take notice of the six novels and they were divided into two opposing camps. Rudyard Kipling wrote a short story about Jane Austen's work being read in the trenches during World War I and providing common ground between all ranks. Winston Churchill took refuge from the stresses of World War II in the novels. Others hated the books and saw them as dealing with a society that no longer existed and concentrating mainly on people of the middle and lower orders.

This book discusses some of the many film and television adaptations both in the UK and in the USA starting with Geer Garson in a much altered version of `Pride and Prejudice'. It also touches briefly upon the many books which have been written in the last 50 years about Jane Austen and about her work and also about the many many sequels and prequels which have grown out of the novels themselves. Blogs and web sites are also mentioned. I felt this chapter could have been expanded as there are so many novels which owe their origins to Jane Austen's 6 novels.

Overall this is an interesting and lively book which will appeal to anyone who has read the novel themselves and wants to know more about Jane Austen herself and her reputation. It provides notes to each chapter, a bibliography, and index and photographic illustrations. It is written in a lively style and with an obvious love for Jane Austen's work.
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Damaskcat
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 121