- Copertina rigida: 352 pagine
- Editore: Bloomsbury Publishing (7 giugno 2012)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 1408820110
- ISBN-13: 978-1408820117
- Peso di spedizione: 499 g
- Media recensioni: 5.0 su 5 stelle Visualizza tutte le recensioni (1 recensione cliente)
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 195.292 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 7 giu 2012
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One effect of reading Mullen's compendium is to make you appreciate the sheer density, the tight-woven intricacy, of every scene and every exchange in Austen. His approach illuminates, because no detail is redundant. Every remark, every accident, every material exchange, is a revelation (Guardian, Books of the Year)
Any new book on Jane Austen raises the urgent question, would I get more pleasure from reading this than from re-reading my favourite Jane Austen novel? If you decide to give What Matters in Jane Austen a chance you'll know after a few pages that you've made the right choice (John Carey, Sunday Times)
If you want to know what Jane Austen's characters look like, which of them never speak, how old they are, what they call each other, why it's risky for them to visit the seaside, what games they play, or how much money is enough, this book will tell you, in minute and richly entertaining detail' (Jane Shilling, Daily Mail)
A fine collection of essays ... Like all good literary critics, he has the happy knack of making you read even familiar works with fresh eyes, and the essays in this book are among the best of their kind ***** (Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Daily Telegraph)
Every remark, every accident, every material exchange, is a revelation (Guardian)
Absorbing ... Whether the topic is age, sex, death, money, illness, holidays, accidents, the weather or marriage proposals, Austen's reticence has seldom been handled with such delicate precision ... Such is the quality and incisiveness of Mullan's critical engagement with Austen that the only thing to regret about his book is that there isn't more of it ... What Matters in Jane Austen? is a model of clarity, verve and perception (The Literary Review)
If you love Jane Austen you'll love this book too - it's almost as good as finding an unpublished novel ... Fascinating (Lady)
Descrizione del libro
From 'Is there Sex Before Marriage in Austen?' to 'Which important Austen characters never speak?' the Guardian Book Club columnist answers 21 apparently trivial questions that reveal deep and hidden truths about Jane Austen's fictional worldVisualizza tutta la Descrizione prodotto
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My favorite chapter was probably the one about card games. I'll confess that when Austen talks about the games her characters play during parties or afternoon gatherings, my eyes glaze over those sections. The examination of pairings and numbers for those games, as well as expectations regarding gambling, was both historically interesting and enlightening for certain portions of the books.
Despite the potential for academic murkiness, Mullan keeps the text moving quickly. It was quite fun to read and I also appreciated the brief, relevant mentions of the film adaptations.
[note: I received an ARC from Netgalley.]
He approaches the business episodically, through a series of inquiries that range from trivial matters such as “Do Sisters Sleep Together?” to subtler points of style such as “When Does Jane Austen Speak Directly to the Reader?” Each of his leading questions opens a little window on her work, examining issues of her cultural context or her literary technique. The essays embrace all the published novels, with (sadly) only glancing mentions of the juvenilia and unfinished works. (I wish people paid more attention to *The Watsons*!)
Along the way, he illuminates aspects of her world of manners such as the fine points of naming—why it’s rude for Mrs. Elton to call Mr. Knightley “Knightley,” to be sure, but also what Elizabeth Bennet is telling us about herself when she stops saying “Mr. Darcy” and starts referring to him as “Darcy.” (Speaking of the mega-couple, Mullan showed me a lot about their mutual attraction that I had overlooked during a gazillion rereadings of *Pride and Prejudice.*) What other critic would have considered an examination of how Jane Austen uses weather? Or what cues we should pick up from mentions of visits to the seaside?
Mullan has a keen eye for the telling detail, and a clear voice for explaining just how and what it’s telling. His analysis of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill’s meeting at Worthing is especially illuminating; and the conclusions he draws from the characters who are not given direct dialogue in the novels goes far beyond the usual platitudes. (*Emma* shows particular skill in the way it uses people speaking and not speaking: Mr. Perry drives the plot without ever saying a word, and Miss Bates reveals the truth without saying anything that we or the characters attend to.)
The back half of the book takes Mullan’s game up a notch when he brings his focus to bear on Jane Austen’s writerly techniques, especially in the chapters “Why Do Her Plots Rely on Blunders?” and “How Experimental a Novelist Is Jane Austen?” (“What Makes Characters Blush?” is also surprisingly illuminating.) He has a gift for discovering a telling keyword or concept and following its thread throughout a novel, showing us how it reveals Austen’s thought processes.
Many of us have had the experience of seeing something new each time we reread a Jane Austen novel. After decades of that experience, I thought I was reaching a point of diminishing returns—till John Mullan showed me how much I was unable to see without his help.
First, you really do have to know your Austen, but I assume anyone considering this book falls into that category. The author talks about all of Austen's novels, plus an unfinished one that I've never read. You might not follow all of what he discusses if, for example, you aren't clear on all the plots and characters (I don't remember who anyone was in Northanger Abbey, for instance, as I've only read it once a long time ago).
Second, yes, he gets a bit detailed on things like who blushes. But the whole point is that these things meant something in Austen's day, and that we're unlikely to pick up on lots of these little details now. I especially appreciated the chapter on money, as I've always wondered about the relative importance of many of the characters' comments on finances.
Third, the book ends very abruptly. That may seem like a picky detail, but I was reading along on my e-reader and it just suddenly ended. No conclusion, no wrapping up, nothing. It was a somewhat disappointing way to finish it up.
If I could give a rating between four and five starts, I would. It wasn't quite 5-star-worthy, but I did find it very interesting and informative.