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What Matters in Jane Austen?

What Matters in Jane Austen 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 Ja

  • Title: What Matters in Jane Austen?
  • Author: John Mullan
  • ISBN: 9781408820117
  • Page: 176
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 Jane 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 answIs 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 Jane 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 Jane 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 Jane Austen will appeal to all those who love and enjoy Jane Austen s work.

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    1 thought on “What Matters in Jane Austen?

    1. This is a very accessible little book, which is both purposeful for those who just want to have a more in depth knowledge of their favourite Austen novel and those that are looking at her work from a more academic perspective. Yes, academic, I managed to quote the author’s section on Austen’s personal voice being present in parts of the wonderful Northanger Abbey in my theory essay on Narratology. This book is a real all-rounder.This book is chaptered by a series of simple questions. These i [...]

    2. I spent a rainy day last week with Lady Susan, Austen's vivacious vixen. I was able to righteously condemn her for her licentiousness, but in so doing, I fell under the spell of her creator. If you've never worshipped at the Cult of Jane, this may sound peculiar. It sounds peculiar to me and I've been a rabid fan since I was a sophomore in college. Peculiar or not, I was losing perspective and saw myself losing all sense, if I couldn't have a side of sensibility. Pride - and prejudice aside, I n [...]

    3. I know at first glance it seems like a book with an entire chapter on "Why Is The Weather Important?" might be a touch inessential, but this turns out to be really fun, and very insightful. If, I mean, if you're nuts enough about Jane Austen to read an entire book about her books. But Mullan will lay out how Austen uses weather to force her characters into the situations she wants them in. Similarly, in the "What Games Do Characters Play?" chapter, Mullan analyzes how Austen uses cards to divide [...]

    4. Took me quite a while to read this but really this is the type of book that is nice to dip in and out of from time to time. It was basically like having a great big ol' chat about Jane Austen and all her wonderful books and characters with someone who is possibly even more bonkers about all things Jane than I am!! (Except he has made money out of his interest. Hmm I'm possibly missing a trick here in my own life!!!)Recommended to all my fellow Jane fans who want to dig a little deeper into her b [...]

    5. Fascinating analysis by a man who has taught Jane Austen for over 25 years. Not for the casual Janeite: he assumes that you already know the difference between Wickham, Wentworth, and Willoughby; that you already know in which book to find Jane Fairfax or Catherine Morland. If you don't, this book isn't for you. If you do, then there are insights on every page. Who knew that Mr. Collins is explicitly only 25 or 26 years old, and that his sounding middle-aged is part of the satirical characteriza [...]

    6. I only read and rate sections on Pride and Prejudice, which I'm now teaching. This is a very useful reference book on Austen - for private use, and advanced high school/ college level. Not all of the things I read were new to me (and shouldn't be), but some observations felt quite new (Mr Collins was only 25?) and when I shared them with my students, they loved them. Some, as his reading of Darcy's thoughts, are a tiny bit of a stretch. And the first sentence is a killer.Note on contents: not al [...]

    7. Rating Clarification: 4.5 StarsInformative, interesting, thought provoking, easily readable and most definitely not stodgily academic. Professor John Mullan provokes the Austen fan to delve deeper into her classic novels with 20 chapters featuring 20 less conventional questions to consider while reading Dear Jane. Questions like:Why is the Weather Important?, What Makes Characters Blush?, What do Characters Say When the Heroine is not There?, Why is it Risky to Go to the Seaside? and the questio [...]

    8. Read April 2015Rereading because it's like reading all of Austen's works at once!! *****Read Oct 3-9, 2013This book is awesome. It's like being in a book club and having the most amazing indepth conversations with the only other person who can be as obsessed and in love with Austen's works as me - MYSELF. I bought this book because I heard the author, John Mullen, speak at the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America this year in Minneapolis. His talk was hilarious, eng [...]

    9. Here's my review in Austen in Boston:"What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved" by John Mullan5 very very full Regency Teacups full out of 5!!!What a delight!! Well worth the wait! I hate to return it to the PL to wait for it to come back! Nearly all the reviews I have read are positive and I strongly agree. Lol, there was one reviewer who couldn't recommend this book to general Austen fans. Huh? Dear Miss Sour Cherries, have you actually read Austen?? So many gem comments in t [...]

    10. What Matters in Jane Austen is simultaneously both the most scholarly and most enjoyable book I have read in a very long time. I have read my share of Austen scholarship that veers into mind-boggling dullness and/or extreme readings of the Big Six. In What Matters in Jane Austen, Mullan manages to explore the minutia with style, wit, and insight. My favorite chapter was probably the one about card games. I'll confess that when Austen talks about the games her characters play during parties or af [...]

    11. If you have read and loved all of Austen's books, this is a must read. Mullan takes several different topics and uses historical facts from Austen's time and excerpts from all of the books to give the reader a more in depth appreciation for Austen's work. What really impressed me was how Mullan brought things to my attention that I never noticed while reading Austen's work. For example, Mullan discusses how Austen has most characters speak, but a few we never hear anything from their own words a [...]

    12. (Review from re-read Feb. 2014)This year celebrates the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mansfield Park, arguably Jane Austen’s most contentious work, and the one likeliest to provoke questions from even the most complacent reader. Who could possibly like Fanny Price? How could the creator of Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Woodhouse create such a creature? What kind of masochistic reader would chooseMansfield as their favorite of The Six (major novels)? These are, in fact, not the questions [...]

    13. I'm not a big fan of Jane -- through I've come round somewhat on the subject since I couldn't resist the urge to fling Pride and Prejudice out of a window -- so you might think I was the wrong audience for this book anyway. But I am a big fan of close reading, and I find value in digging into what's important in an author's works in a way that I think the author of this would agree with, and I enjoy history, literary history, and all kinds of random facts. So I was hoping that though I'm no obse [...]

    14. "Che cosa è importante in Jane Austen?" si chiede John Mullan. E la risposta è "Tutto, sopratutto le minuzie". Perchè niente è lasciato al caso nel mondo letterario della Austen, e sono proprio i dettagli che costruiscono o confermano caratteri, situazioni, intuizioni del lettore, e fanno da contrappunto e insieme contrafforte alla raffinata, complessa architettura dei suoi romanzi.Metto subito le mani avanti: questo non è un libro adatto a introdurre Jane Austen a chi non l'abbia mai letta [...]

    15. I approached this book with some prejudice and snobbery regarding so-called popular criticism of Austen but am delighted to have discovered my mistake. This is an extremely readable book which nevertheless illuminates Austen's techniques and reveals aspects of plot, characterisation and context, much of which I hadn't thought of before. Both as a reader of Austen and as someone who attempts to imitate her, this book is very thought-provoking and interesting. Definitely worth a read both for the [...]

    16. This book hits a sweet spot of being both accessible and actually providing useful information that enhances one's understanding of Jane Austen's works. (Also, it is definitely helpful to be already sufficiently well-versed in Jane Austen's oeuvre - from the six completed novels to the incomplete works, such as Sanditon - before picking this up.)Mullan addresses twenty "puzzles" by illuminating both historical/cultural differences that are lost on most modern readers (which simply reinforces how [...]

    17. A SOLID 4 starsThis was SO GOOD. Admittedly, I haven't read a lot of Austen literary criticism (ok, I've barely read any), but this was by far the best one that I've read so far. This book just delivered on everything that I wanted from it: accessible to read, interesting in the ideas it brought up, well-written, insightful in the questions it raises and answers it provides, well-rounded in its approach to Austen's works (& letters!)—I honestly couldn't have asked for more.Highly, highly r [...]

    18. Tanto tanto carino, interessantissimo e intelligente, proprio come la Austen! Peccato per chi non legge in lingua, non so se è stato tradotto questo libro di curiosità sui maggiori romanzi della nostra cara Jane. Vi siete mai chiesti cosa leggono i personaggi dei suoi romanzi? Se fanno mai sesso? Se vanno al mare? Perché arrossiscono? Se sanno com'è meglio formulare una proposta di matrimonio? E infine, perché Jane Austen è così originale, pur raccontando "banali" storie d'amore a lieto f [...]

    19. ITA-ENGUn bellissimo viaggio all'interno dell'arte che Jane Austen ha creato. E' un libro fondamentale, che siate fan o meno. Ha, in ogni caso, la capacità di far capire perché Jane sia una scrittrice assolutamente meravigliosa: originale sempre, innovativa nel suo tempo, attuale anche oggi. Ci sono molte cose che non avevo notato o a cui non avevo dato grande importanza nei suoi romanzi e questi venti domande fondamentali sono perfette per soddisfare curiosità, suscitare interesse e provare [...]

    20. DNFed about 70 pages in. Nowhere near as entertaining as the works it describes and it took far too long to reach any answers or conclusions. Not to mention I've bever read or seen any adaptations of Mansfield Park so I kept skimming when that book became the topic of discussion.

    21. An interesting and engaging read. I think this tome is let down by its title, and particularly its subtitle, which don't give quite the right impression. This isn't about mysteries to be solved. Rather, it is a well-written look at various subjects and ideas, providing not only details of what is found in Austen's novels, but also in her letters, and in the context of her times. The last point is particularly useful in revealing much that she took for granted, things that her contemporary reader [...]

    22. Interesting, engaging, informative, and about Austen. What more could a Janeite want? Aside from one's own Mr. Darcy, of course.John Mullan looks at several specific issues (Who blushes? Which characters never speak? What games do they play?) and examines them across the Austen novels. He not only gives us examples from the books, but also provides historical insight. It's quite fascinating to those of us who like to do a close reading of Austen. Informative without being overly academic.I wrote [...]

    23. I tend to stay away from writing about Jane Austen (and especially writing where Jane Austen is a character) because I feel like we're all having a picnic on her legacy and leaving our sticky, ant-infested trash behind. But this one is great. A pleasurable exploration of stuff you may have noticed in the texts, but never put together before. Each chapter handles a different question or theme, and moves smoothly from pattern recognition to significance. Also, apparently she entertained her family [...]

    24. An intelligent discussion of Jane Austen's narrative technique, showing the reader just how she is so brilliant. It was great fun thinking of all the novels and characters at once. Some of the topics: age, weather, games, blunders. Reading material, blushing, and proposals.

    25. In What Matters in Jane Austen? the author asks (and answers) questions such as How Much Money is Enough? or Do We Ever See the Lower Classes?20 chapters of interesting questions that give an insight into Jane Austens six complete and two unfinished novels. I enjoyed the book very much. It made me aware of things I never paid attention to before or gave me an answer to questions I used to have (such as how much money did people need to live comfortably as gentlemen?). I can recommend this to any [...]

    26. Word to the wise: only read this if you have read a good chunk of Jane Austen's work. Mullan is not shy about spoilers.That being said, if you're pretty familiar with her work, this collection of essays is a lot of fun.

    27. Unbelievable attention to the details of her work. Explanations for things!"It was Austen who had taught later novelists to filter narration through the minds of their own characters. It was Austen who made dialogue the evidence of motives that were never stated. It was Austen, A Jamesian avant la lettre, who made the morality with which her characters act depend on the nice judgements of her readers." (8-9). "Austen's stories rely on an acknowledgement of men's sexual appetites, which explain w [...]

    28. A nice set of essays on "puzzles" in Austen's novels, including "why is it risky to go to the seaside?", "which important characters never speak in the novels"?, and "what do characters say when the heroine is not there?"The essays assume familiarity with Austen's plots, and thankfully do not include too much unnecessary plot summary. Overall, they are more accessible than academic, though Mullan does provide an extensive bibliography for readers who'd like to explore these questions further. So [...]

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