An acclaimed literary scholar asks twenty seemingly trivial questions that reveal deep truths about Jane Austen and the lasting power of her novels.
“Substantial yet conversational, this is scholarship without pedantry… An Austen lover's greatest wish is for more of her novels. This intimate guide to the world of her books is the next best thing.” The Atlantic
“Absorbing ... Whether the topic is age, sex, death, money, illness, holidays, accidents, the weather or marriage proposals, Austen's reticence has seldom been handled with such delicate precision ... His work is essayistic and briskly compendious, but as a whole the book also builds up to a satisfying conclusion--one that acknowledges Austen's capacity to bestow on her character's lives all of their own, "as if she were observing ... rather than creating" them ... Such is the quality and incisiveness of Mullan's critical engagement with Austen that the only thing to regret about his book is that there isn't more of it ... What Matters in Jane Austen? is a model of clarity, verve, and perception” Literary Review
“Delightful… Mullan's humorous guidebook encourages first-time Austen readers to pick up her novels and lovers of Austen to re-read for new details.” Publishers Weekly
“A box of 20 literary chocolates for Austen fans to savor.” Kirkus
“Mullan's close reading will provide serious fans with plenty of new insights for the next time they pick up one of Austen's books.” Booklist
“This collection of essays will delight. Mullan's intent is to reveal Austen's cleverness and revolutionary approach, and he succeeds, deftly sharing with readers his enthusiasm and knowledge gleaned from Austen scholarship in this enjoyable read. [F]ans will appreciate the clarity and perspective Mullan brings to a beloved author's works.” Library Journal
- Bloomsbury USA
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- 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
John Mullan is a professor in the English department at University College London and the author of How Novels Work. He writes a popular column on fiction for the Guardian, and has served as a judge for the Man Booker Prize. Mullan lectures widely on Jane Austen around the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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If you're looking for approachable criticism about Jane Austen, this is a good place to start. Mullen lays out his ideas clearly, and his arguments are easy to follow. One thing--it really, really helps to have read Austen's complete works before reading this. There are no plot summaries, so if you read Sense and Sensibility years ago, it may be worth your time to give it a quick skim to keep the characters straight. Overall, a good book for anyone who wants to go a little deeper into Austen's texts.
Use your brain and figure thibgs out yourself