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Searching for Jane Austen

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  101 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Searching for Jane Austen demolishes with wit and vivacity the often-held view of "Jane," a decorous maiden aunt writing her small drawing-room stories of teas and balls. Emily Auerbach presents a different Jane Austen—a brilliant writer who, despite the obstacles facing women of her time, worked seriously on improving her craft and became one of the world’s greatest novel ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by University of Wisconsin Press (first published 2004)
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In the first chapter of Searching for Jane Austen, entitled 'Dear Aunt Jane: Putting Her Down and Touching Her Up', Emily Auerbach wonders:

Why … do readers of The Ancient Mariner, A Christmas Carol, and Moby-Dick give little thought to the marital status of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, and Herman Melville (or should we call them Samuel, Charles, and Herman)? When we think of Milton's Paradise Lost, do we wonder about John's marriages (he had three)? Was there a Mrs Chaucer?
Rudyard K
Jan 06, 2011 Jules marked it as books-i-did-not-finish
I haven't even read most of this monography - just browsed the introduction and the last chapter, "Behold Me Immortal: Finding Jane Austen Today" in search for something I could use for my upcoming presentation on Jane Austen's reception today - but what I have read seems highly defensive of the author's image of Jane Austen which, on p. 4, she sums up like this: "I have felt myself growing closer and closer to the real Jane Austen [...:]." Emily Auerback seems to write, then, in the vein of the ...more
Mar 05, 2016 Lesley rated it it was amazing
The best book I've ever read about Jane Austen, and I've read a LOT! Auerbach gives sensitive, yet counterintuitive readings of the 6 Austen novels, while exposing the fallacies in the popular view of "Jane" as a sex starved, retiring maiden aunt. Austen, she argues, was a well informed woman, highly conversant with the issues of her time; her novels critique class structure, slavery, sexual and religious hypocrisy, and blind commercialism in a radically modern way. Auerbach points out the many ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
It is only natural that I would love this book, since it is all about Jane Austen and her writing. I enjoyed the author's exploration of Jane Austen's character and how it is portrayed in her writing. Emily Auerbach went through Austen's letters, the Juvenilia, and each of Austen's novels, including the unfinished Sanditon. Now I want to re-read all of Austen's works, since this book reminded me just how wonderful they are!
Julie Bozza
May 04, 2012 Julie Bozza rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on Austen and her work that I've ever read (and in itself proves that this subject has plenty of room for more thought and analysis). Intriguing and utterly enthralling. It really gives Austen her due as an intelligent, witty, innovative humanist. Three cheers for Auerbach!
Apr 22, 2009 Africableu rated it it was amazing
For anyone who loves Jane Austen, this book is a must-read. Auerbach does a brilliant job examining Austen's books and the way readers have dealt with Austen's books over the years. Thouroughly readable, very well-researched--search for her no longer, Austen is revealed in this book.
Aug 19, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Nina Auerbach's view of Jane
Austen as a conscious artist, always honing her craft. This book is also a wonderful critical look at the historical - and modern - distortions
of Jane Austen, calling us back to her elegant,
clever and acerbic style.
Feb 07, 2008 Karin rated it it was amazing
This book made me realize how many layers a 21st century person misses when reading Jane Austen. I can't wait to read her novels for the so manieth time, with a new understanding. A must read for every one who enjoys Jane Austen.
An excellent critical review of Jane Austen's writing and other views of her work--accessible and fascinating, particularly when discussing language and Austen's image as promoted by other critics, including Mark Twain.
Sep 26, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent! Cheeky and fun rather than stodgey criticism. Auerbach is witty and funny but also very intelligent in her arguements regarding Jane Austen's work and our perspectives on her.
Aug 04, 2011 Ting rated it liked it
One of the better biographies about Jane Austen I have read recently. Great insight into what inspired this popular and unfortunately largely misrepresented author. In a word, superb!
Sep 10, 2013 Elena rated it it was amazing
Eye-opening. This book made me have feminist discussions with my mother. Largely one-sided. My mother tends to tune me out when I go into lecture mode.
Jan 27, 2013 Dominick rated it really liked it
This is a very good study of Austen. It is scholarly and insightful, but it is also clearly written and accessible to most readers.
Jul 15, 2009 Maerdi rated it it was amazing
Intelligent, thought-provoking, and well-written. I'll definitely come back to this book as I read more of Jane Austen's novels.
Fallon Shelly Foy
Aug 03, 2011 Fallon Shelly Foy rated it it was amazing
This book finally analyses and describes the witty and sarcastic woman who I imagine wrote those 7 outstanding novels.
Nov 16, 2008 Jane rated it really liked it
One of the better biographies of Austen. I'd rate it just below Tomalin's.
Feb 19, 2008 Laura is currently reading it
Working on this one
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“Eudora Welty singles out for praise Austen's "habit of seeing both sides of her own subject - of seeing it indeed in the round". ... Both men and women can be vain about their appearances, selfish about money, overawed by rank, and limited by parochialism; both men and women can function capably, think profoundly, feel deeply, create imaginatively, laugh wittily, and love faithfully. Without vindicating the rights of anyone directly, Austen posits a humanism far ahead of her time. "How really modern she is, after all," Welty concludes of Austen.” 3 likes
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