Caroline Niziol's Reviews > What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved

What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan
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's review
Oct 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: netgalley, non-fiction, arc
Read from October 24 to 28, 2012

What Matters in Jane Austen is simultaneously both the most scholarly and most enjoyable book I have read in a very long time. I have read my share of Austen scholarship that veers into mind-boggling dullness and/or extreme readings of the Big Six. In What Matters in Jane Austen, Mullan manages to explore the minutia with style, wit, and insight.

My favorite chapter was probably the one about card games. I'll confess that when Austen talks about the games her characters play during parties or afternoon gatherings, my eyes glaze over those sections. The examination of pairings and numbers for those games, as well as expectations regarding gambling, was both historically interesting and enlightening for certain portions of the books.

Despite the potential for academic murkiness, Mullan keep the text moving quickly. It was quite fun to read and I also appreciated the brief, relevant mentions of the film adaptations.
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55.0% "Truly delightful!"

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