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Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Not only are Austen's novels still widely read, they continue to influence modern film and literature. In both their moral content and their focused, highly detailed, "miniaturist" execution, they reveal Austen's mastery of the art of fiction and her concern for Christian virtues exercised within communities. She entertains, edifies, and challenges men and women readers al ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Canon Press (first published June 2004)
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Aug 04, 2008 Melinda rated it really liked it
This is another of Leithart's study guides, this one on Jane Austen. He deals with the novels "Pride and Prejudice", "Northanger Abbey", Sense and Sensibility", Masnfield Park", "Emma", and Persuasion".

I found this book to be very helpful in examining what really goes on in Jane Austen's books. Complaints from many others who do not like Jane Austen -- nothing ever HAPPENS in her books, I don't like the restrictive and oppressive constraints on conversations, etc. Leithart answers each of these
Valerie Kyriosity
Nov 26, 2010 Valerie Kyriosity rated it it was amazing
Anybody who can deepen my understanding and love of Jane gets full marks from me.
Coral Rose
Aug 03, 2010 Coral Rose rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Peter Leithart’s Miniatures and Morals: the Christian novels of Jane Austen was a fairly easy read for such an academic sort of text.

My favorite Jane Austen novels are the ones where the lovers improve one another, instead of one doing all the teaching and the other doing all the learning. For example, I’m not as fond of Mr. Knightley’s shaping Emma into someone he can marry, or Fanny Price waiting for Edmund to get his stuff together and stop mooning over the terror Mary. I think that Henry Til
Jan 26, 2010 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book that gives commentary and study guides for all of Jane Austen's novels. From a Christian worldview, but not heavy-handed.
Apr 01, 2016 Saphraneet rated it it was amazing
This book brought clarity to her stories, her characters, and Jane Austen herself. Now I want to read all her books again!
Douglas Wilson
Jan 21, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-study
Really good.
Not my favorite commentary on Jane Austen's novels. First of all, the author's tone was annoyingly high-and-mighty. The first few pages were almost enough for me to put the book down. It is not necessary to belittle Dickens and Shakespeare and other great authors in order to elevate Jane Austen. Leithart makes some good and interesting points throughout his book, but they are rather few and far between. I had to wade through summary after summary (let's be real here, the majority of people readi ...more
Austen’s books have sadly been relegated to the modern abyss of “chick lit”. In his book, Miniatures and Morals, Peter Liethart contends that Austen’s novels function on many other levels. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by his subtitle, “The Christian novels of Jane Austen.” Obviously her books are “moral” in the sense that the heroes and heroines are rewarded for gallantry and the scoundrels punished for their misdeeds. But are the novels “Christian” in the sense that they present truths deri ...more
PJ Wenzel
Aug 07, 2016 PJ Wenzel rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the top 5 books I have read this year. Leithart shows us Austen with clarity and insight. You know a book has had an impact when everything you hear from people throughout the day reminds you of what you just read. I was (literally) underlining every page and just had to stop because I realized the entire thing would be underlined before long!

I think that perhaps the book felt slightly repetitious from time to time, but I'm unsure how Leithart could have avoided it given how simil
Beth Anne
Nov 15, 2011 Beth Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Fantastic study of Jane Austin's novels. Leithart unpacks each book in it's own chapter, pulling out the Christian implications of Austin's writing. His analysis is excellent and exciting. He shows why Jane Austin's books are loved by so's not that they are just great romances (because, in fact, they are most very similar), her books give us a picture of how we should be speaking, interacting with others, loving, and living.

Chapter 1: real men read Austin. Not because their wives want
Emily Tsesmeloglou
Feb 08, 2015 Emily Tsesmeloglou rated it it was amazing
A few years ago, the ladies at church started a book club and read all the Jane Austen novels. I wasn't able to attend the book club during that time for the most part, but I started listening to all of her novels (except Pride and Prejudice, which I read). At first I found her novels uninteresting and difficult to get through, so my reading was more for the sake of study than enjoyment. But with each novel, I increasingly enjoyed and appreciated her style. This book by Peter Leithart made me lo ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it
Miniatures and Morals should not be confused for a pleasure read, this is a study guide for six of Jane Austen's books:
Pride and Prejudice
Northanger Abbey
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park

Leithart does a great job of explaining Austen's writing from a Christian perspective, a perspective very familiar to Austen whose father was a preacher.

At the end of each book covered is a section of "Review Questions," and "Thought Questions." The one drawback is that Leithart does not supply t
Natalie S.
May 23, 2011 Natalie S. rated it really liked it
If you love Austen you must read this book. It's available free on Google books, so you haven't any excuse. I'm a long standing Austen fan and reading this book is like sitting down with a favorite professor. The conversation is gently illuminating, easy to understand, and a perfect springboard for one's own reflections. Dr. Leithart's appreciation for these novels is apparent and refreshing. When reading academic works on literature one often loses the sense of pleasure and discovery one gets f ...more
Leila Bowers
Sep 21, 2009 Leila Bowers rated it really liked it
This is not a complex 'lit theory' type book, but it is very accessible and insightful, and I certainly learned new things about Austen. She is not overtly Christian, as Leithart makes clear in the beginning, but he does an excellent job drawing out key themes like Manners, Charity, and that for Austen good relationships are always founded on 'speaking the truth in love.' I especially liked his chapter on Sense and Sensibility and argument that Elinor has the truest sensibility in the novel. Ov ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Amber rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially my sons. ;)
Recommended to Amber by: Peter Leithart
I flipped open the cover to read the author's introductory comments and was pulled in by the very chapter titles and Mr. Leithart's first statement. As a long time fan of Jane Austen, the chapter "summaries" made the corners of my mouth lilt upwards. Only an admirer and poet could come up with such picturesque paraphrases of these much adored books. When I become a "woman of information" after reading Mr. Leithart's book, I will finish this review.
Aug 21, 2011 Trish rated it liked it
" a miniaturist in style, in that she does more with less than any other writer in English. There is a precision and lack of ornamentation in her prose that I suspect owes much to the Bible and the Prayer Book....This makes her simply the best prose stylist and one of the most innovative in English literature." 20
Dec 29, 2011 mystereedissolved rated it really liked it
Well, technically I haven't finished the book. But I have finished the chapters covering the Austen novels I have read. Looking forward to finishing this fine book after I read the remaining Austen novels. As much as i like them, I have to intersperse Austen books with measures of Das Boot and such so I don't start sacheting around.
Apr 24, 2009 Jlnpeacock rated it it was amazing
I loved the manner in which the Austen novels were explained so that I understood the depth of her wisdom and saw the beauty of Christianity more fully in her works. The writing style is very engaging so that it is quite easy to read.
Jun 23, 2014 Seth rated it really liked it
I have a much deeper appreciation for Jane Austen after reading this book. If I had more time I would go on an Austen movie and novel binge. I really want to...
Courtney Handermann
Nov 30, 2010 Courtney Handermann rated it it was amazing
So much fun to read, and it's motivated me to read the last few Austen books that I haven't gotten to yet.
Dec 07, 2010 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
I love reading the "cliff notes" behind books I really enjoy. Peter Leithart has done a great job filling out some of my favorite stories.
Rachel Worley
Oct 17, 2012 Rachel Worley rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was amazing! An absolute must-read for all Jane Austen fans! There are so many great insights to the books! I loved it!
May 13, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
I am a Jane Austen fan, and I found Dr. Leithart's discussion facinating. I am now reading his biography, Jane Austen.
Douglas Hayes
Without Peter Leithart - I'm hopelessly lost in Austen, and no matter how hard I try, I can't enjoy her without his insights!
Rachel Ramm
Nov 26, 2010 Rachel Ramm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Really a must-read for Austen fans! I've loved the books and movies for so long, but found new insights with this book.
Dec 31, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
I loved this book--a step by step looked at the morals laid out in Austen's novels. I recommend it to any Austenite! :)
Feb 27, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: leithart
A really good book that inspired me to read the entire Austen canon (and even re-read a few older ones). This is how books just talking about literature should be written.
Feb 05, 2008 Liesl rated it it was amazing
Worth picking up and reading, his style is clear and enjoyable. Also who wouldn't want to read more about Jane Austen?
Hananh Noland
Hananh Noland rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2014
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2012
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Peter Leithart received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyter ...more
More about Peter J. Leithart...

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“Austen is a moralist, but, as John Lauber has put it, she is not a "punitive" moralist. Sometimes her villains receive no more serious punishment than to achieve their desires. Often that is punishment enough.” 1 likes
“For Mary, the world is something to be mastered, manipulated, and made; for Fanny, the world is a gift to be received with thanksgiving. Fanny is the eucharistic heroine, giving thanks in all times and places.” 1 likes
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