What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved Book Review

When it comes to classic novels and the authors that wrote them, there are two camps: those who look at the books from a scholarly or academic perspective and those who read and re-read the books because they simply adore them.

Jane Austen’s novels are no exception.

In What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, Professor John Mullan from University College London takes reader into the nitty-gritty questions that only someone who had stopped counting the number of times they’ve read a Jane Austen novel would ask. He asks questions about why certain character have one or two lines before only being referred to, the real age of the characters versus the performers who played them on stage or screen and the significance of how the characters refer to each other.

This book is amazing, as is its author. I’ve been fortunate enough to see him speak twice. He is as warm, funny, engaging on the page as he is in person. I will warn my readers that this book is for the serious Janeite.  A reader who has casually picked up one of Austen’s books or a reader who is new to the Austen literary universe might not completely understand what Mr. Mullan is stating. But what I loved best about this book is that teeters on academic without talking down to the reader or sounding like a dry college textbook.

I absolutely recommend this book.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

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