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Jane Austen and the Clergy

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Jane Austen was the daughter of a clergyman, the sister of two others and the cousin of four more. Her principal acquaintances were clergymen and their families, whose social, intellectual and religious attitudes she shared. Yet while clergymen feature in all her novels, often in major roles, there has been little recognition of their significance. To many readers their st ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published February 5th 2003 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published January 1st 2002)
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Sophie Turner
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this would more accurately have been titled Jane Austen and Religion in Country Life, for it departed pretty far from simple the role of the clergy. Some of that was good, some of it was redundant. The book is best when it stays nearest its title, and there it includes some great details and analysis.
Beth Bonini
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This is one for enthusiasts -- and not so much of Jane Austen, but of the late 18th/early 19th century. I enjoyed it, particularly when I could glean bits/anecdotes for my volunteer role at Jane Austen's House.

Considering how many men in Jane's life were clergyman -- not least of all her father and two of her brothers -- it is interesting that they do not come off very well in her novels.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lot of good background on the church during Jane's life. Some of it I already knew, but I have enough gaps in my C of E history knowledge that I found this useful.
Lona Manning
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As another reviewer noted, the title of this book is somewhat misleading. The scope of the book is broader than the role of the clergy in Austen's time. I bought it expecting to learn more of the nuts and bolts of a clergyman's life, and though I did learn some things, the author does not delve into explanations of the difference between a rector and a vicar, and she assumes her readers know what a chancel is. Most of the book is a social history of clergyman, with a chapter on clergyman's wives ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent addition to my ever-growing collection of Jane Austen related books. Irene Collins wrote this book as an illustration of how religion, specifically the Anglican Church, plays an influential role in Austen's writings. Jane Austen, was the daughter of a clergyman, and frequently had clergymen as characters. This book breaks down in nine chapters how a country parson lived. Everything from education to everyday parish life is covered, including a chapter on how a wife of countr ...more
Beth Dickey
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It started out a little slow I thought, but I was into it by the end. Very interesting background material for Austen lovers, or anyone interested in that general time in English history. The author ties in references to Austen's characters as examples.
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A deeply satisfying read about how Austen's personal faith and her upbringing as a parson's daughter, as well as her beliefs about society and "the neighborhood," influenced her works. It made me want to rush to reread her full canon.
Margie Dorn
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Jane Austen fans, an amazing study of Jane Austen's relationship with parish and clergy in her novels, her letters, and comparative ideals of her era. Many readers may not know that her father and two of her brothers were clergymen, so the lifestyle would have been ever present in her daily life and is more present in her novels than readers perhaps realize. Irene Collins is good at making the connection more obvious. The research that went into this study is commendable.
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“It is difficult to imagine Fanny [Price] engaged with poultry, or supervising apple-picking... her role as [as a clergyman's wife] suggested by Jane Austen was to be a gently moralizing one. She would strengthen Edmund's moral purposes and supply the shrewd assessment of the people around him which he clearly lacked.” 2 likes
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