Which important Austen characters never speak? Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call one another, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? In What Matters in Jane Austen? John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen's brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.
In twenty short chapters, each of which explores a question prompted by Austen's novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most in her beloved fiction. Readers will discover when Austen's characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars made good livings; and how wealth was inherited. What Matters in Jane Austen? illuminates the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist. It uses telling passages from Austen's letters and details from her own life to explain episodes in her novels: readers will find out, for example, what novels she read, how much money she had to live on, and what she saw at the theater.
Written with flair and based on a lifetime's study, What Matters in Jane Austen? will allow readers to appreciate Jane Austen's work in greater depth than ever before.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About 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.
Table of Contents
A Note on References ix
1 How Much Does Age Matter? 11
2 Do Sisters Sleep Together? 24
3 What Do the Characters Call Each Other? 39
4 How Do Jane Austen's Characters Look? 56
5 Who Dies in the Course of Her Novels? 70
6 Why Is It Risky to Go to the Seaside? 86
7 Why Is the Weather Important? 101
8 Do We Ever See the Lower Classes? 115
9 Which Important Characters Never Speak in the Novels? 132
10 What Games Do Characters Play? 147
11 Is There Any Sex in Jane Austen? 162
12 What Do Characters Say When the Heroine Is Not There? 179
13 How Much Money Is Enough? 196
14 Why Do Her Plots Rely on Blunders? 211
15 What Do Characters Read? 226
16 Are III People Really to Blame for Their Illnesses? 243
17 What Makes Characters Blush? 258
18 What Are the Right and Wrong Ways to Propose Marriage? 274
19 When Does Jane Austen Speak Directly to the Reader? 289
20 How Experimental a Novelist Is Jane Austen? 304
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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