The Jane Austen Handbook : A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World, Hardback

The Jane Austen Handbook : A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World Hardback

4.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


A modern reader's guide to life in Jane Austen's Regency England, explaining the nuances of polite society in clear, simple prose.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 224 pages, illustrations
  • Publisher: Quirk Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Encyclopaedias & reference works
  • ISBN: 9781594745058



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

I am an unabashed Janeite. I’ve read all of her novels and most of her smaller/unfinished books. I love her writing; the social observations, the wonderful characters, the love stories, the relationships between sisters, everything. So when Margaret Sullivan, (creator of the blog, re-released her book The Jane Austen Handbook, I knew I needed to read it. This is a book that someone like me just soaks up. It’s wonderful to learn more about the time period Jane wrote about. It provides an added depth and context to her work because it gives a better understanding to how livings were made and kept and why women wanted to find husbands so badly. The book offers information on the etiquette of the time. You learn about how to dress, where to vacation, how to pay a call, how to court, etc. If you’ve ever wondered what it meant to “take the waters” you’ll learn that to. It’s the perfect companion book to Austen’s novels. I always wondered exactly what kind of card game whist was and what all was involved in becoming “accomplished.” The handbook has step-by-step instructions and illustrations on anything you could possible relate to Austen. If you love Austen, or even that time period, definitely pick it up. If you couldn’t care less, this one’s probably not for you, but then the title tells you that from the get go. **My copy was provided by Quirk Books 

Review by

For any serious Janeite, I would highly recommend having a copy of this cute little handbook. The information and details are a nice reference point to the period, and to Jane Austen's novels in particular. As set up, it is separated into four sections: 1. Jane Austen's World and Welcome to It 2. A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings; or, Everyday Activities 3. Making Love 4. The Best Company; or, Social GatheringsEach section outlines things as they were in Jane Austen's time, but also chronicle the possible living situations of her most famous characters. The book also contains information about how to be a lady, how to spend one's day, and what to wear. Some of the information was pretty interesting, such as how they wrote letters. I realized that they tried to utilize every spare space on a piece of paper, but I don't know that I understood how intricately they wrote over top of every line, in just about every direction. There are lots of other details shared in this cute handbook that made it an easy read. I highly recommend this as a fun gift for any Jane Austen fan on your gift list. It is well organized, with a nice Table of Contents, Index, and list of terms defined in the back. The language is informative, without being stuffy and boring. And the pictures included in the book are well done and fit with the information of the book. On my edition the hardback cover is well made, and the size is smaller than even a paperback book. Honestly, I really would recommend this Regency England guidebook for anyone who reads and loves Jane Austen's time period.

Review by

(Received from publisher for review)The information is broken up into manageable nuggets and filed under 4 categories: Jane Austen's World; Everyday Activities; Making Love; and Social Gatherings (full 'titles' shortened). These delightfully informative (not to mention entertaining) chapters are interspersed with Austen references, and stand-alone pages of more detailed particulars (like 'entailment' and 'professions').In short, if you adore Jane Austen's world and characters, and would much rather be touring the Lake District or having balls, but aren't quite sure how to fit into that world without appearing painfully out of place? You should give the Jane Austen Handbook a read - it will clear things up considerably! (Including that delightful little tidbit of Mr. Darcy's 10,000 a year - what is he worth in current American money? Oh, just wait and see!) There's also a brief biography of Jane, synopsis of her novels and characters, a glossary (for those tricky words) and additional resources. A Janeite's reference-dream in one fun little package!

Review by

This is an adorable little guide of how to lead life in the Regency era. The tips were cute and informational. It just made me think of all the wonderful moments in Austen's books. I think if you're an Austen fan it's definitely worth reading, if not owning. What lady doesn't want to know how to catch and keep the man of her dreams according to Recency England's standards?

Review by

I had hoped that this handbook would provide context for interpreting Jane Austen's novels. Instead, the novels themselves seem to be the reference point for describing the social life and customs of the Regency era. For example, the list of “Things to do in the country” includes “produce home theatricals” and “improve your estate”, both of which were themes in <i>Mansfield Park</i>. The appendices proved to be the most useful section for me, particularly the bibliographies and filmography. My wallet is a few dollars lighter as a result!

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