Sunday 30 December 2012

What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan - Book Review

Title: What Matters in Jane Austen?
Author: John Mullan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 29th January 2013
Pages: 353
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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Which important Austen characters never speak? Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call one another, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? In What Matters in Jane Austen?, John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen's brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness. In twenty short chapters, each of which explores a question prompted by Austens novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most in her beloved fiction. Readers will discover when Austen's characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars got good livings; and how wealth was inherited. What Matters in Jane Austen? illuminates the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist. It uses telling passages from Austen's letters and details from her own life to explain episodes in her novels: readers will find out, for example, what novels she read, how much money she had to live on, and what she saw at the theater.Written with flair and based on a lifetime's study, What Matters in Jane Austen? will allow readers to appreciate Jane Austen's work in greater depth than ever before. (Goodreads Synopsis)

This book was a very enjoyable read and answered a few questions I'd wondered about myself and a few I'd never thought to ask. It is both informative and entertaining and will be a delightful addition to the collection of any Austen fan. This book is really only suitable for those who know the books well as such knowledge is necessary to full understand the points being made, but it will be great fun for those 'in the know'.

This is an easy read and can be approached from cover to cover or dipped into a chapter at a time according to one's mood.

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