Saturday, 12 October 2013

What Matters in Jane Austen?

I suppose you could say I'm a bit of a Jane Austen fan. I love all her novels especially the witty style of her writing and her colourful characters. I thought I knew all her work pretty well, but this amazing book explores and contrasts all Austen's writing in a brilliant way and I found out things I either did not know or had not noticed before.

For example:

Did you know that just one married woman in all of Jane Austen's novel refers to her husband by his first name? (Mary Musgro
ve in Persuasion if you were wondering)

Most of the scandal or inappropriate behaviour in Austen's novel occurs in a seaside location. (For example Lydia Bennet running off with Wickham in Brighton in Pride and Prejudice)

There are a number of key characters who actually never speak throughout the course of the novels - they are quoted by others or summarised by Austen rather than having any speech quoted to them.

There are many more fascinating points explored throughout twenty key questions with the Regency viewpoints of age, money and behaviour explained in detail. Income is discussed a great deal in by characters in Austen's novels especially when discussing appropriate suitors. I have usually found this a bit difficult to understand not knowing the value of money during that time, so this book sheds some light on what the average income and inheritance money would be. Therefore Mr Darcy was indeed very rich!

The book also explores how Austen commonly used details such as the weather, card games, character blunders and blushing as plot devices.

I really enjoyed reading this exploration of Austen's novels and it has made me want to read all of her work again with a new perspective (not that I need that much encouragement!) Janeites across the land will love this book! Buy it!  

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