Is there any sex in Austen? Which important Austen characters never speak? Look no further for the perfect book for any Jane Austen fan...
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.
About the Author
John Mullan is a professor in the English department at UCL. He writes the regular 'Guardian Book Club' column on fiction in the Guardian and frequently appears on the BBC's Review Show. He was a judge of the 'Best of the Booker Prize' in 2008 and a judge of the Man Booker Prize itself in 2009. He has lectured widely on Jane Austen in the UK and also in the US, and makes regular appearances at the UK literary festivals.
One effect of reading Mullen's compendium is to make you appreciate the sheer density, the tight-woven intricacy, of every scene and every exchange in Austen. His approach illuminates, because no detail is redundant. Every remark, every accident, every material exchange, is a revelation Guardian, Books of the Year Any new book on Jane Austen raises the urgent question, would I get more pleasure from reading this than from re-reading my favourite Jane Austen novel? If you decide to give What Matters in Jane Austen a chance you'll know after a few pages that you've made the right choice John Carey, Sunday Times If you want to know what Jane Austen's characters look like, which of them never speak, how old they are, what they call each other, why it's risky for them to visit the seaside, what games they play, or how much money is enough, this book will tell you, in minute and richly entertaining detail' Jane Shilling, Daily Mail A fine collection of essays ... Like all good literary critics, he has the happy knack of making you read even familiar works with fresh eyes, and the essays in this book are among the best of their kind ***** Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Daily Telegraph Every remark, every accident, every material exchange, is a revelation Guardian Absorbing ... Whether the topic is age, sex, death, money, illness, holidays, accidents, the weather or marriage proposals, Austen's reticence has seldom been handled with such delicate precision ... Such is the quality and incisiveness of Mullan's critical engagement with Austen that the only thing to regret about his book is that there isn't more of it ... What Matters in Jane Austen? is a model of clarity, verve and perception The Literary Review If you love Jane Austen you'll love this book too - it's almost as good as finding an unpublished novel ... Fascinating Lady
|A Note on References||p. ix|
|How Much Does Age Matter?||p. 11|
|Do Sisters Sleep Together?||p. 24|
|What Do the Characters Call Each Other?||p. 39|
|How Do Jane Austen's Characters Look?||p. 56|
|Who Dies in the Course of Her Novels?||p. 70|
|Why Is It Risky to Go to the Seaside?||p. 86|
|Why Is the Weather Important?||p. 101|
|Do We Ever See the Lower Classes?||p. 115|
|Which Important Characters Never Speak in the Novels?||p. 132|
|What Games Do Characters Play?||p. 147|
|Is There Any Sex in Jane Austen?||p. 162|
|What Do Characters Say When the Heroine Is Not There?||p. 179|
|How Much Money Is Enough?||p. 196|
|Why Do Her Plots Rely on Blunders?||p. 211|
|What Do Characters Read?||p. 226|
|Are Ill People Really to Blame for Their Illnesses?||p. 243|
|What Makes Characters Blush?||p. 258|
|What Are the Right and Wrong Ways to Propose Marriage?||p. 274|
|When Does Jane Austen Speak Directly to the Reader?||p. 289|
|How Experimental a Novelist Is Jane Austen?||p. 304|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 7th June 2012
Dimensions (cm): 22.3 x 14.5 x 3.3
Weight (kg): 0.495