What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jan 29, 2013 - History - 342 pages
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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 Austens 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 got 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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - daisyq - LibraryThing

Really interesting if you love Jane Austen's works. This gives fascinating insights into life at the time Austen was writing, explaining a lot of things that her contemporary readers would take for ... Read full review

WHAT MATTERS IN JANE AUSTEN?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Austen enthusiast and Guardian columnist Mullan (English/Univ. College London; Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature, 2008, etc.) poses and answers 20 questions about Austen's novels and ... Read full review


How Much Does Age Matter?
Do Sisters Sleep Together?
What Do the Characters Call Each Other?
How Do Jane Austens Characters Look?
W110 Dies in the Course of Her Novels?
Why Is It Risky to Go to the Seaside?
Why Is the Weather Important?
Do We Ever See the Lower Classes?
Which Important Characters Never
What Games Do Characters Play? 117
Is There Any Sex in Jane Austen?
What Do Characters
How Much Money Is Enough?
1+ Why Do Her Plots Rely on Blunders?
What Do Characters Read?

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About the author (2013)

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.

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