What Matters in Jane Austen? : Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved Hardback
by John Mullan
Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call each other, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? And which important Austen characters never speak? In What Matters in Austen, John Mullan shows that you can best appreciate Jane Austen's brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction - by asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals their devilish cleverness.
In twenty-one short chapters, each of which answers a question prompted by Jane Austen's novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most to the workings of the fiction.
So the reader will discover when people had their meals and what shops they went to, how they addressed each other, who was allowed to write letters to whom, who owned coaches or pianos, how vicars got good livings and how wealth was inherited.
What Matters in Austen explores the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and sheer daring as a novelist. Though not a book about Jane Austen's life, it uses biographical detail and telling passages from her letters to explain episodes in her novels; readers will find out, for example, what novels she read or how much money she had to live on or what she saw at the theatre.
Inspired by an enthusiastic reader's curiosity, written with flair and based on a lifetime's study, What Matters in Austen will appeal to all those who love and enjoy Jane Austen's work.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publication Date: 07/06/2012
- Category: Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
- ISBN: 9781408820117
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Review by daisyq
Really interesting if you love Jane Austen's works. This gives fascinating insights into life at the time Austen was writing, explaining a lot of things that her contemporary readers would take for granted. Mullan also explores Austen's technique and originality as an author. <br/><br/>The book uses examples from all Austen's works and from her personal letters. It's an easy read, not overly academic.