D.w.'s Reviews > Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders

Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross
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's review
May 08, 2010

really liked it
Read in May, 2010

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 upper class, which Jane was a member of, we do not see often the picture of the vast majority of England, nor do we get a sliver of the Regency other then through Jane's wishes for it.

Here we have to then focus on what the book's title tells us. Jane Austen's Guide. Not a Guide to the Regency, or even the entire Ton, for where Mr. Darcy is of the first quality, and we become intimate with him in Pride and Prejudice, Jane gives us the Ton as she wants it to be. Not always as it was. And by extension so does our authoress.

If we can put aside that the book does not dwell on the true Regency era, but on the world that Jane created for us to read two hundred years later, then we have a pretty little world and the description of it is well done. Excerpts from the book abound and small drawings that help uncover more of the detail of what is being talked of.

The book is a useful resource to get a glimpse of the period, but I would not take the book as anything other then Jane's fantasy world. It is not the entirety of the Regency World, nor is it even a solid glimpse of the world that Jane lived in. It is the world she wrote of and we do not even know if that was the world she ascribed to.

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