Sarah Bringhurst Familia's Reviews > What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved

What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan
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really liked it
bookshelves: literary-commentary, britain

It's hard for me to resist a book about Jane Austen. And this one did not disappoint. Mullan raises all sorts of deceptively simple questions, from what the weather was to when and how the characters blush to how long the characters wear mourning. His answers reveal the genius of Austen's subtle manipulation of the simple everyday happenings of life in 19th century Britain, and how even seemingly insignificant details shape and reveal her plots. Apparently, everything matters in Jane Austen.

Although this book did give me some additional historical insight, what I really enjoyed were the plot analysis and learning about how Austen invented literary devices to make the novel more powerful and greatly influenced later writers.

Caveat: if you're unfamiliar with Austen's novels, the extensive quotations and dizzying leaps from plot to plot will probably just be frustrating and boring. But for those who have read and reread Austen, this is a wonderful tool for appreciating her even better.
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Reading Progress

March 25, 2013 – Started Reading
March 25, 2013 – Shelved
April 2, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: literary-commentary
April 3, 2013 – Shelved as: britain

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