Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels
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Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  690 ratings  ·  52 reviews
With a wealth of details about Jane Austen's life and times, this volume brings to life the world of her novels. Austen scholar Deirdre Le Faye first gives an overview of the period, from foreign affairs to social ranks, from fashion to sanitation. She goes on to consider each novel individually.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Frances Lincoln (first published September 19th 2002)
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With pictures galore, Le Faye gives a short bio of Jane Austen, some cultural background of her world, and runs through each of Austen's works. Also includes contemporary maps (i.e., from about 1805) of the English counties Jane either set her stories in or that she personally lived in.

Most of the pictures were great, especially of places and scenery, the buildings and architecture of the time. Sometimes Le Faye tried to suggest a personal portrait as maybe portraying this or that character, and...more
Oct 03, 2011 Margie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margie by: Mary Jo Schleicher
Shelves: austen
The first half of the book gave political, geographic, and sociocultural context for Austen's novels, as well as some personal history for Jane herself. The second half gave summaries of the novels along with a few contextual asides.

Reproductions of portraits from the era are useful mostly for information on how people dressed. Le Faye's tendency to suggest that various portraits looked like specific characters in the novels felt forced, incorrect, and lessened her authority. Maps were difficul...more
Wonderful book which offers a fascinating glimpse of Jane Austen`s world. The first part was brilliant. I enjoyed each chapter with its detailed descriptions of domestic,social and cultural habits of that time. The second part was a bit of disappointment, as it didn`t provide much more than a synopsis of each book, and it contained spoilers,too, which I consider quite unnecessary and annoying. But overall it was a very nice read.
Rebecca Huston
One of the very best books about Jane Austen and the culture, society and events that she lived in and drew inspiration from. One of my keepers, and never get rid of it. If you're going to read just one nonfiction book about Jane Austen, this is the one to look for. Very much recommended.

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I read this for a continuing ed history class called Jane Austen's World. Along with the class, really enjoyed learning more about the society and culture that are such an integral part of Jane Austen's novels. Gives me a broader context and helps better understand the details. This book makes me want to go back and read the novels all again immediately.
Fantastic detail packed book on Austen and the time period and world around her novels. I found it very helpful when on a visit to Britain to use the book as a guide to places of interest where Austen had lived or visited. Well worth reading for all those who are familiar with her novels and want to learn more about the time period.
Jane Austen: The World of her Novels is just that. Deidre Le Faye provides historical, cultural, and social perspectives to better understand the context of Austen's work. Le Faye provides general information, as well as in depth information about each book.
I love everything about this book, but my favorite part is the chapter on her publication history--how each book came into being and the shenanigans and pitfalls along the way. I think any modern writer can take heart from it.
I reviewed this for BookPleasures.com last fall. It's a very beautiful and beautifully written book with plenty of lovely illustrations. It succinctly places Austen's family and novels within a historical context.
Lady Wesley
An essential reference for any serious Janeite.
Mar 08, 2008 Jeanette rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
Shelves: 2008
This is a beautiful book. From the cover to the pictures inside, down to the glossy pages, this a wonderful addition to any Jane Austen Book collection. There 100 illustrations and maps throughout the book with 80 of the pictures in full color.
Le Faye is an Austen scholar who has written, edited and compiled numerous works about Jane Austen and so is a great source for learning about Jane Austen and the world she occupied. This book is divided into two parts. The first part contains a short but...more
Elizabeth Fama
Dec 29, 2007 Elizabeth Fama added it
Recommends it for: Austen fans
Very useful for summarizing the plots of each of Jane's novels with enough detail and analysis to get a good feeling for the book (if you haven't read it) or a good reminder of the book (if you have).

There are some serious digressions into the probable locations of the various fictitious scenes in the novels, based on geographical considerations, names of towns in the area, places Jane had visited and would therefore be familiar with, etc. The author likes to tell us which new road corresponds t...more
Ok, there is no denying that I am an avid Jane Austen fan. I read just about anything that I can get my hands on that is about her; novels, her life, England. I will admit that if I see Jane's name in the title it is a done deal-sold, read and on the book shelf for me to enjoy again and again. I have just started this book but so far from scanning through the illustrations and the first few chapters, it is proving to be a wealth of information. Some I have read before but I am sure to find some...more
Peter Mcconnell
Although Le Faye doesn't touch on some of the tinier tidbits of interesting Austen trivia, such as composers and works of music mentioned in "Emma" or the dances most probably danced in P&P, her examination of the world of Jane Austen leaves only little to be desired. Light, humorous, and openly devoted to Austen, Le Faye's narrative opens up and enlightens a world many of us are accustomed to viewing only by context clues or guesswork. Knowing exactly when Austen's books were meant or suppo...more
This is a beautifully designed volume - glossy pages, well-chosen illustrations, period maps and fashion plates.

The first half of the book gives information on the author, her life and writing, and the time period and customs of the novels, giving a good rounded view of the time period and the attitudes of the characters.
The second half deals with each of Austens novels, one section for each book. There are paintings that show what the characters may have looked like, maps showing places descri...more
Maria Grazia
In my little spare time, these days, I'm experiencing a total immersion in the world of Jane Austen and her novels. The enriching, masterful essay by Deirdre Le Faye has revealed itself an unexpectedly pleasant reading.
I've read through Part I: "The world of Jane Austen" and just finished the long chapter titled "England and the world". What I want to share with you is the detailed description Le Faye proposes of the differences between male and female education, career chances, occupations and...more
Mar 30, 2013 Maggie added it
P. 41 George III "...but his genuine kindness and interest in the well-being of all those around him became something of a legend."

1760s "estimated...England, Scotland, and Wales probably totaled some eight million"

P. 190 "deprived him of a bequest due to him from the Pemberley estate under the terms of the late Mr. Darcy senior's will--a tale which confirms to Elizabeth her dislike of the present Mr Darcy's pride and selfishness.

p. 194 "Of neighter Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without f...more
An excellent read and a very lively presentation of Jane Austen's world. Unlike other Austen-related books, this one is written in a very readable style and offers very interesting insight into Austen's life, Regency England (historical, social & economic facts which Le Faye links to Austen's novels) and of course into Austen's novels themselves. There are also beautiful illustrations throughout the book: maps, portraits that match Austen's characters description and other illustrations of t...more
So far a really fascinating read! As you may know, I am absolutely obsessed with all things Austen and can't seem to get enough of her! This book gives a peak into her life and times and all the background history for her characters.
The author also includes a break down of what was happening as each novel was written and comments of what her family members, friends and fellow contemporaries thought of her various works. (Glad to see most take my opinion and agree that P&P to be the best :)
This book is full of factual information about Jane Austen's life and times and how those topics relate to her novels. It includes information about cultural activities such as games and dancing, homes of the day, the Royal family and much much more. There are full color plates and photographs which enhance the information. Though I've read considerably on Jane Austen, the Regency era and her novels, I enjoyed this book and learned a few things. I especially liked seeing the pictures of Jane Aus...more
This beautiful, well made book was actually sewn together. It was a delight to hold in my hands as I read the information I have always wanted to know- the history of the settings for all of Ms. Austen's books. As someone who has read all of her novels, I was able to follow the author as he mentioned which one of Austen's characters would have dressed or spoken in a particular way. My favorite part was the end where the author outlined the historical allusions in each of the Austen novels. Worth...more
Nutria Soupaloñon
It was not a very interesting book. The writing is bland and the choice of topics sounded a bit random. I hope I'll get my hands on a more researched and more thorough Austen-related book.
Diana Sandberg
An excellent little book, really gives a thorough introduction to Austen’s life and times. It begins with a biography, extends to a general discussion of the manners, morals and politics of the late Georgian and Regency periods, and something about the locations of the novels. Then we get a most interesting book-by-book treatment, relating the story of each and connecting it to what is known about how Jane came to write it and how it was received. The whole is well illustrated with photos and ma...more
Jules Brugel
I enjoyed this book very much. Le Faye did a good job putting both Ms. Austen and her novels in perspective in regards to that time period in England and in the world.
My 2007 bookcrossing thoughts:

Finished this one this morning. It was interesting, and gave a good picture of various aspects of life during Jane Austen's time, and related back to things that we had read about in her books. Maybe a little dry at times, but I think this is something you could dibble into as you're reading her books, or just after you've finished one of the books, if there was something you had wondered about.

I skipped the two little sections on The Watsons and Sandition as I've n...more
I'm learning a thousand details that will enrich my reading of Jane Austen's novels. This book is like reading the ultimate annotated version: you learn all the background information that informs the slightest phrase from the novels. I now realize that our world is very, very different from Austen's. This is like time-travel. You could learn so much from this book that you could possibly step back into the late Georgian or early Regency period and not be too obviously anachronistic.
May 23, 2008 Nikki rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nikki by: Rian
Far more focused on the early part of the nineteenth century, as opposed to "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" which spreads its observations out through the development of the entire century. Lacking much of the details that Pool incorporates in "What Jane Austen...", this book is still exceptionally useful in the understanding of Austen's work, which is, in its own way, as dated as it is timeless.
Gayla Bassham
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, mostly because I already knew a lot of the information presented. If I knew less about the subject I think I would have found this a more rewarding read. I am giving it an extra star because of all the pretty, pretty pictures.

I also enjoyed Le Faye's little speculations about what might have happened to the characters in the novels after the ending.
Having read Claire Tomalin's excellent biography of Jane Austen, I found some of the biographical information both redundant and lacking in comparision. But I did thoroughly enjoy the primary sources she frequently quoted, and the many pictures from the period that were suggestive of places, homes, or people in Austen's novels.
Rebecca Bugge
A charming not-so-little book on Jane Austen and the world where she lived and her novels are set. Nothing revolutionary, but then again, not trying to be that either - and still with room for news for someone who already knows quite a bit about Austen and her books. Well illustrated too.
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