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Jane Austen and Food
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Jane Austen and Food

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  34 reviews
What was the significance of the pyramid of fruit which confronted Elizabeth Bennet at Pemberley? Or of the cold beef eaten by Willoughby on his journey of repentance to see Marianne? Why is it so appropriate that the scene of Emma's disgrace should be a picnic, and how do the different styles of housekeeping in Mansfield Park engage with the social issues of the day?

While
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 2nd 2003 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published July 1st 1995)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  201 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Deborah Markus
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: give-me-cake
Exactly what it sounds like: a lively exploration of food in Jane Austen's life and fiction.

Except there really is a lot more to it than that. It's true Maggie Lane explains things I always wondered about, like why General Tilney was upset about "the butter being oiled" (whatever that meant) or how Miss Bates baked her apples twice (wouldn't you just bake them until they were done?).

Lane also gives detailed information about things I didn't know enough to wonder about. The meaning of the word "
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Victoria
This book does an excellent job at detailing and explaining all the mentions of food from both Austen herself, and in the novels. It's broken up into 8 chapters, and from the reviews already written I can infer that the paper version has illustrations. I wish the kindle version did, as well.

There is a lot of information in this book, a ton, really. It was able to explain things I never realized (that dinner in the novels was the first full meal after the breakfast, most of the day later, and tha
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The first three chapters of this book were interesting and informative, because they focussed on the realities of Austen's time and place and life, and the part played by food therein. There is also an historical overview of dishes, forms of preparation etc that explains many terms that might otherwise sail straight over the modern reader's head, such as the "white soup". (Back in the day when the Republic of Pemberley website was launched, there was still debate as to what that meant.)
However,
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Krista D.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent.
Alicia
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
It was OK - some interesting historical background to food production and mealtime etiquette which rounded out my knowledge of the books, but there were shortcomings. It reads like an academic paper and should possibly have been edited for publication in book form. Some of the interpretations were drawing a very long bow, which I don't think can be justified from the text (repeated references to eating disorders, for example). And the proof-reading was very poor - far too many typos, by someone ...more
Damaskcat
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maggie Lane how food is portrayed in Jane Austen's novels and juvenilia in this fascinating book. I hadn't appreciated how much Emma revolves around food until I read this book. Mr Woodhouse is so much concerned about his own health and the health of other people and that includes the food he eats and the food he gives to his guests. Then gifts of food are frequently given to the Bateses because their relative poverty is a concern of all their neighbours.

I shall now read Emma with greater appre
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Éowyn
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Over the years there have been a glut of 'Jane Austen and.....' books. She just far enough away for us to need some explanation of some of the things that her contemporary readers wouldn't have thought twice about and this is one of the things that this book does very well. Confused about service a la Francaise or a la Russe? Think the French Bread at Northanger is like a modern French Stick or not sure why Mrs Grant's Turkey wouldn't keep until Sunday? - this book will certainly help you there! ...more
Lisbeth
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Jane Austen never gave much detail to food and eating in her novels. Still, food is a very important part of her writing, since all references to food and eating, although indirect, suggests something about the character who refers to it. Maggie Lane, an English author of several books about Jane Austen and her time, has examined the books to find out Jane Austen’s attitude to food and how it affects the social sphere and customs of her characters. Maggie Lane starts:

“One of the characteristics
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Devan
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This book brought up a few interesting points, but it felt a bit repetitive and ended without a satisfying conclusion of idead.
Lady Entropy
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
DNF
Isabell
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, austen
I really loved this! I downloaded it on my kindle because the title sounded promising. I expected a treatise on food in the Regency period and not much on Jane Austen (which would have been interesting enough). But the book really was about Jane Austen and the food in all of the Jane Austen novels:

- literary analysis, specifically analysis on what different foodstuffs and food-related things and sayings symbolize in different scenes (the mulberry tree at Delaford, the peach pyramids at Pemberly
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Jess Swann
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Alors, déjà je dois admettre qu'au niveau vocabulaire, c'était un peu ardu à suivre... Cependant, passés les premiers chapitres qui m'ont semblé un peu indigestes (mais intéressant, notamment sur la vie de Jane), je suis rentrée dedans et j'ai particulièrement apprécié les analyses portant sur les romans de Jane. J'ai trouvé les mises en parallèle des personnages très pertinentes et les opinions de l'auteure m'ont amenées à réfléchir plus avant sur certains personnages notamment Marianne, Fanny ...more
Andrea Hickman Walker
Every time I read a book like this I have a desire to go back and read all 6 novels again so as to put my new insights and ideas to the test. I tend not to actually do it, because I like to let the information settle in my brain before I reread the novels. I prefer for the information to pervade my subconscious rather than impinge on my reading by my consciously thinking "I must remember to note the things about food (or whatever it may be)". I found this book fascinating. So many details that w ...more
Darien
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed this book, both for the insight the author gave me into Jane Austen's life and writing, but also the social and practical influence of western European history on our contemporary meal preparation and timing (the definitions of "lunch", "dinner" and "supper"). I found the discussions of how the definition of 'hospitality' has changed over time to be particularly thought provoking, and still relevant to the social significance of food for our modern society.

Overall an excelle
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Tatiana
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
At times dry, but thoroughly researched, if you stick with it, you will appreciate Jane Austen a bit more and come to understand that the simple story she is telling is actually quite complex. Her novels have great depth that is often overlooked as we tend to forget the nuances of life and their meaning during her time. This book does a nice job of illustrating this by looking at one simple aspect: food. Academic in its writing it analyzes the references to food in the novels of Jane Austen, pro ...more
Jery Schober
An in-depth analysis of everything food-related in Austen's novels, written in the style of (and probably being) an academic paper which makes for long, elaborate and more often than not boring reading. The Kindle version comes without pictures which would've been a nice addition.
I enjoyed the lecture about food and it's societal meaning in Austen's time, but didn't enjoy to get an interpretation of even the slightest hint reagarding food and eating in Austen's novels.
For me it was too much anal
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Ms_prue
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love engaging, informative histories of everyday life, which this book certainly is from the topic of food. This book has been sitting neglected on my Kindle shelf for probably over a year now - I finally got the urge to pick it up while I was in Bath, and my limited time in Bath was much richer for it. I still haven't read/re-read any Austen for ages but I am now much better prepared next time I launch into one to appreciate the skewering and witty parts, well, the skewering and witty parts t ...more
Robert
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
"Without going so far as to claim Jane Austen as a proto-feminist, the act of focusing on food in the novels supports a feminist reading, if only because female destiny, one way or another, is... Intimately connected with food." So far, I am with the author, and her arguments are very interesting, but, like a great deal of literary criticism, somewhat contrived. There is also a fair bit of repetition - the same few quotations appear again and again.

Despite the above, I would recommend this book
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DC
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this approachable, readable analysis that added depth, interest, and understanding to my readings of Jane Austen.
Probably only quite this delightful to those familiar with Austen's oeuvre, but I think still good for those with a passing knowledge and healthy interest in literature / literary interpretation.

I liked this so much I now plan to read all of Lane's books.

It has also had a profound impact on my own writing.
Emily
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was an insightful look into the societal norms and ideas regarding food in Jane Austen's time and how that translated over into her novels. It was quite interesting - I had no idea food and what you thought of food revealed your character and societal status so much. I feel like I can appreciate JA's novels a little better now and look forward to reading them again with this new understanding in mind.
Erikamayers
Feb 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I really did enjoy this book, it gave me new insight into Jane's novels. I started listening to Sense and Sensibility before reading this book and finished listening after I finished this book and it made a difference in how I understood and saw in my mind's eye the events of the day. There are great bits of information about the use of food to show a character's .... character. I also enjoyed googling images of the food...
R.J. Lynch
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a scholarly work that takes Jane Austen's use of food and shows how well the novels are constructed and how economical her technique is in conveying a great deal in a few words. I wish that some writers of historical fiction would read books like this and improve the authenticity of their own.
Susan
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like everything I've ever read by Maggie Lane, this book was truly entertaining and so appreciative of the art of Jane Austen. The author is a fine scholar and does her reserach butalso brings her own intelligence and sensitivity to her subject. This would be interesting for even the most casual reader of the 18th-19th century novelists.
Michelle Formica Holden
It was a read for our Jane Austen book club get together, it was okay,it would be hard if asked to read a second time. It was nice or beat to read about the times of the food and drinks, I think I excepted more of something else,that might have been the issue!!
Something different if your trying to keep your read meets all JA,to add in a twist off the road book!
Zazzu
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Slightly odd but interesting read. A little academic at times, but it really explores how Jane Austen used food to show character, greed, and social clues. I think pictures of food and recipes would have helped enliven the book a bit, but it's a worthwhile read.
Sofia
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. A must-read for any Janeite. We'll researched, argued, and presented. Brava.
Susan
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: austenesque
Basically the significance of food in the works of Jane Austen are explained, plus the changing importance of various foods through the Regency period.
Marsha
Jan 11, 2009 rated it liked it
A tasty read.
Cindy
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting for the true Austen fan.
Christina Dudley
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A helpful reference book for writers, and it's always fun to have all the novels referenced and analyzed. It verges on academic at times, but in all there's plenty of enjoyment to be found here.
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“More than any other kind of relationship to food, hospitality reflects the underlying assumptions of society, assumptions which can and do shift with time. Social forms which once served society well by regulating and polishing behaviour for the better comfort of all can become ossified, empty and oppressive to the individual. Change may be necessary, but change must be motivated by good feeling and concern for others, not by desire to create an impression. Elegance and propriety are always desirable, because they smooth over any social disharmony, but they should be accompanied by real generosity of spirit; and where there is such generosity, want of elegance and propriety may be excused.” 0 likes
“Jane Austen is quite clear that both sexes must be allowed the full play of their moral autonomy and that a healthy society values equally the contributions each can make. Danger arises when the sex which has the monopoly of money and mobility assumes that the pick of the world's pleasures must be therefore theirs to plunder. Marianne, Fanny and Jane are unfortunate in being desired and trifled with by men who have been used all their lives to having their own way. That these women, of no feeble character any of them, should be crushed to the point where their only resource seems to be self-destruction, must be a reflection on their society and on those in whom its power resides.” 0 likes
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