Friday, November 9, 2012

What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan

I mentioned some time back about The Dummies Guide to Jane Austen. That was more like the background and influences of Jane Austen. Here, we take her more seriously as a novelist an explore some questions in the novel.

The book is divided into twenty chapters (or questions), ranging from number one: "How Much Does Age Matter" and number twenty "How Experimental a Novelist is Jane Austen"? Each chapter gives a wealth of detail and a lot of information about the time Jane Austen lived in.

Needless to say, I loved it. I never knew how much a master of technique Jane Austen was (that woman is seriously talented at manipulating the reader) and now, I know a bit more about why I'm compelled to read her books over and over and over again (thank goodness you can get them free from Gutenberg). The book pointed out a lot of small details that was in the books (and that I missed), and I'm definitely going to be looking out for them when I do my next re-read.

And even though this is non-fiction, the book is really easy to understand .Really really easy. The chapter lengths are just right too. That being said, I wouldn't mind reading if each chapter became a book (or rather, a really annotated version of Jane Austen's works).

If you're into tracking down sources and stuff, there's a really extensive biography at the back, lasting a few pages long. Personally, this is one of the times where I wish every secondary reference was listed with a footnote, because it would be easier for me to see exactly which books I'd want to read (obviously, some topics interest me more than others).

Definitely a must-have companion book for the Jane Austen fan!

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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