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Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders
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Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  918 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
This lighthearted, insightful handbook is written as if intended for Jane Austen's original Regency Era readers, and illustrated throughout with beautiful watercolors.
Hardcover, 138 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published October 2nd 2006)
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Mar 29, 2008 Shellian731 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please don't tell my mom that I'm actually reading about etiquette. I especially don't want her to know how much I'm enjoying it. It's so much more pleasant to aspire to good manners at the insistance of one's own inclination rather than to be cajoled into it.
This elegant little book uses the subject of manners and good behavior as the fabric upon which threads of example from Jane Austen's life and writings are embroidered. It is illustrated with adorable watercolor sketches, and includes a ti
Intisar Khanani
Sep 22, 2014 Intisar Khanani rated it really liked it
And let it be known that, all things being equal, I never would have made it in Polite Society.
Apr 02, 2017 Mallory rated it it was amazing
Written as though a guide to readers in Austen's era, it certainly wouldn't hurt to take a point or two into modern day interactions.
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Feb 26, 2009 Meredith (Austenesque Reviews) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-austen
If you have read Jane Austen, seen Jane Austen movies, you probably know that the manners and social customs they had back then are so very different from ours today. This book is a guide that explains how to have good manners if you ever find yourself in Jane Austen's World. Furthermore, this book could serve as a guide to writing a novel that takes place during regency time. In addition, if you are curious about the customs and social behaviors in Jane Austen's books, this book will help to cl ...more
K.M. Weiland
Aug 13, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
This is a simple but charming look at the period manners of the Regency, with a focus on Jane Austen's letters and books. It doesn't offer much that's new and can't be found in other more in-depth studies of the period. But its presentation as a book of the period (complete with accurate sizing and title page) is delightful.
Sheikha Alhilaly
Feb 11, 2016 Sheikha Alhilaly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to rate non-fiction but this is what I felt it deserved.
I could see this book as a good way to understand Jane Austen's characters' mannerisms. Also, it's a good handbook if you'd like to write about that era. Overall, it was funny and witty. It had references to other Austen works - ones I haven't read before - so I couldn't completely relate.
Nov 30, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok
Slightly weird second-person style, but clearly a labor of love, picking out manners bits from the novels and letters. Not quite as much fun as a visit to The Republic of Pemberley, but ok. The author does have a bad habit of using the word Blunder-w-a-capital-B repetitiously.
Jun 25, 2010 Milka rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
The ones that I've been following my posts frequently already know that I am doing this school essay called EE (extended essay) about a topic related to Jane Austen. At this point my research question is: What was the role of dance during the time and life of Jane Austen and how does it affect the relationships and plot of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Emma? Because of this essay, I ordered several different books related to Jane Austen and dance (you can see the other books from my late ...more
E Sweetman
Nov 23, 2009 E Sweetman rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not really
Recommended to E by: a young lady who knows I love Jane Austen
I have trouble with people who think they can write in the voice of Jane Austen. I avoid at all costs those awful pieces of trash like "Mr. Darcy's Daughters" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" because there is one Jane Austen and all others are most certainly NOT Jane Austen.
Aside from the gall thinking they possess the talents and inimitable style of Miss Austen, which they most assuredly don't, the nerve of trying to stand on the shoulders of this giant is quite overstepping any author's
Feb 27, 2017 Stacy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Charmingly illustrated, a delightful introduction for readers who are unfamiliar with the social context of Austen's work and who could benefit from some background material to help them better appreciate the complexity of social interactions from the era.
Jan 21, 2009 D.w. rated it really liked it
If you are a Janeite, this is a very insightful compilation of regency mores and etiquette to guide you along and show you how Jane perceived the world and how her writing commented upon it. That is one of the many things that Austen is credited with, that her books are studies in the society of the time, and give us now a view of a kinder, more genteel period.

Since the Austen Canon, unlike the Dickens Canon, provides a look at a very well to do part of society, mostly that of perhaps the lower
Jul 15, 2015 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In honor of Jane Austen’s 240th birthday this past Wednesday I went to my shelf full of Jane Austen inspired works. There are many to chose from, but I wanted something short and light and I ended up with this lovely book.

I picked it up a kindle copy back in September 2013, don’t tell past me because I raved about how I was REALLY good and didn’t buy any books. It must’ve been one of the daily deals.

It was a very quick read, I read it all yesterday in two sittings, and it was quite informative.
Jana Eichhorn
Feb 11, 2017 Jana Eichhorn rated it liked it
There's probably not a lot here for most people. If you're already an Austen fan, you were probably able to infer most of the rules of etiquette from her time from rereads, and if you're not among the Janeites, this will draw too heavily on examples from her books for your liking. I can't imagine there's much of a market for this book, which is probably why my library's first edition copy appeared to never have been opened before I did so. All of that having been said, it's not a bad book, if yo ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Claudia rated it it was ok
This was quite a let-down. It's a very slim volume, mainly based on quotes from the books and expostulating rules from these which feel like guesswork as often as not. If you have read Jane Austen's works with any kind of attention at all you already know everything this book has to offer. There are many other books that take a much more in-depth look at live and manners in Regency England (I'd recommend "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew", which really offers a wealth of information ...more
Oct 26, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
For those wishing to enter, or understand, the Authoress's social world as depicted in her novels, certain guiding rules may be of assistance.
How to refuse a proposal of marriage; who should lead off the dancing at a country-house ball; how to address someone correctly; what to wear for a morning walk... Today such social niceties are largely forgotten or ignored, but they underpin all of Jane Austen's timeless novels and are exp0lored and dealt with in this highly original book.
~~from the back
AnnaBanana Pascone
Aug 03, 2012 AnnaBanana Pascone rated it really liked it
This book didn't go as in-depth as I had hoped, but it was still a great read. Since it was very focused on Miss Jane Austen's works, there were some historical details that were not touched upon, but it was enough of a primer for anyone interested in that time period. Even after all this time, I actually learned things I didn't know, and the book showed me some of the more intricate niceties that I didn't pick up when reading the original works. I am an avid reader of Regency romance novels, an ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Mell rated it liked it
Nice watercolor style illustrations. This book (almost pocket sized, with a little ribbon bookmark attached) would be very helpful for folks unfamiliar with Regency Era social rules in England.

A good bit of this quick read will be better known to well-read Janeites. (While Marianne's gadding about with Willoughby seems carefree and romantic, it was scandalous and reputation endangering.) And some of the rules will rankle 21st century sensibilities. (Be kind to your servants, but keep them in th
Jan 15, 2010 Jeana rated it liked it
While this book is definitely NOT anything remarkable, it's a fun and fast little read that goes through a lot of Austen's stories to give examples of "manners" as well as using Austen's own personal letters to her sister and friends. It read to me kind of like a paper I would have written in a British Lit. class in college. Nothing extraordinary by any means. Still, it was a fun read to pick up when I had literally one minute or two to myself (the chapters/sections were incredibly short). The i ...more
Alethea White-Previs
Jan 17, 2016 Alethea White-Previs rated it really liked it
This was a relatively small little tome, which used JA's letters to her budding-writer niece, Anna, as a jumping-off point for conveying the proper rules and behavior of Regency society -- who can call on whom and when, what to wear, even how to politely but firmly turn down a displeasing proposal of marriage. Very educational little book, but I felt, as I usually do with these, that the subject matter is rich enough that, were the author to spread her wings, her material could only proliferate, ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it
What a fun easy read. I didn't realize how much Jane Austen researched while writing her books. There are scenes used as examples in this commentary (reads like a Master's program comparitive essay)that I thought were meaningless but actually are there to prove a point about a person/society. It's a fun way to rehatch all her books without having to read them - you just get a few of the best quotes from all her books!
Rebecca Huston
Aug 19, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any fan of Jane Austen
A very fun, funny, look at manners and etiquette as shown in Jane Austen's novels. I heartily recommend this one to anyone who is a fan of the series or curious about what was considered to be good manners in Regency Society. It's also one of the better books on the topic. And then there are the illustrations!

For a more complete review, please go here:
Jan 01, 2013 Nina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book but was rather disappointed unfortunately. I expected to get more from it. However, it's just stating examples from Jane Austen's novels and connecting them but without much further explanation. I thought I would be able to learn something new by reading this. Another thing that bothered me really was that I couldn't see if it was meant to be viewed as if we were in the Regency period or the rules could/should apply in the 21st century.
Feb 21, 2013 Molly rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
This was a surprisingly fast read, and a fun little book that references all of Miss Jane Austen's works in lessons about good manners. A friend got it for me in advance of a party we're having to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the printing of Pride & Prejudice, but now I just want to read all of the books again!
Austen fans will love this guide to proper etiquette such as how a lady should be addressed (more complicated than you might think), how to treat servants, and how to relate to a gentlemen. It draws on examples from Austen's work and her real life using her letters. A great gift idea for any Janeite.
Mary Simonsen
Jul 30, 2012 Mary Simonsen rated it really liked it
This book is described as "little" because it is. It is the same size one of Austen's original volumes. It provides the rules of etiquette for every imaginable social situation. If a lady were to refuse a request to dance, she would have to refuse all others. A little help with some of the more obscure definitions would have helped (e.g., battledore), but a fun and interesting read.
Lacie Ernst
Feb 24, 2013 Lacie Ernst rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Lovely, little book about the manners and etiquette during Jane's Regency period. The excerpts from Austen's letters add to the information being presented, as well as illustrative examples from her novels. This guide helped to explain some of the finer points and traditions featured throughout the novels. Very fine, indeed!
Jul 19, 2016 Sophie rated it really liked it
I had to skim through this for my dissertation research and I really liked this book. It gave me so much information in only 100 pages and it gave it in a light-hearted manner so it kept me interested. I am definitely going to keep this book for the future if I ever do not understand something when I reread Austen.
Dec 07, 2012 Readitnweep rated it really liked it
Shelves: austen, non-fiction
What a handy book for those of us who plan to write a early 18th century historical novel but are sure never to complete one. Seriously, this is well put together and cheerfully written in a cheeky, Austen-esque tone which I quite liked. This is a book I'll keep on the shelf to refer to - just in case I do write that historical. Stranger things have happened.

Well done!
Dec 21, 2013 golightly23 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was a bit muddled and read like a school paper. Referring to Jane Austen continuously as "the Authoress" was really annoying. Nothing mind blowing, kind of boring and had several annoying elements. I recommend Jane Austen for Dummies; it is an easier, more enjoyable read. It is packed full of info not just about Jane Austen but regency England as well.
Oct 08, 2007 Ann rated it really liked it
A fun way to explore the manners and peculiarities of Jane Austen's day. Who knew that tea was so expensive that the lady of the house kept it locked up in her tea service? The book itself is delightfully designed with illustrations and a built-in ribbon bookmark. A fun read!
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As a finalist in Vogue talent contest, Ross won a job on Vogue and joined the magazine after graduating from London University.
She left the magazine two years later to write full time, and her publications include a biography of The Winter Queen (1979) and Beaton in Vogue (1986).
She is married to medieval historian and writer James Chambers; and her interests include history and fencing. She lives
More about Josephine Ross...

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“Any references to pregnancy or childbirth are coarse, and should be carefully side-stepped by the truly well-bred, as should intrusive comments on love-affairs.” 0 likes
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