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Bill_T
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Additional Recommended Reading

[ Edited ]
More about Jane Austen and Her World

Book Cover Image: Title: Jane Austen: The Real World of the Novels, Author: Deirdre Le Faye Buy It Jane Austen: The Real World of the Novels Deirdre Le Faye Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion - all present delicately crafted contemporary observations of life in early nineteenth-century England. In Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels, renowned Austen scholar Deirdre Le Faye brings this world to life, imparting an understanding that enormously enriches our appreciation of the work of this best-loved of English novelists. Le Faye begins with a meticulously researched overview of the period, from foreign affairs, fashion, and social ranks to transportation, candle etiquette, and sanitation practices. She goes on to consider each novel individually, explaining in detail its action, its setting, the reaction of public and critics, and Austen's own feelings about the book. The witty and pertinent illustrations, many never published before, allow the reader to visualize not only Austen and her surroundings, but also the people and places that appear in these beloved novels. Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels is essential reading for students of literature and social history and for all Jane Austen enthusiasts who want to gain a new insight into her work.


Book Cover Image: Title: Jane Austen: A Family Record, Author: Deirdre Le Faye Buy It Jane Austen: A Family Record
Deirdre Le Faye
All the documented facts concerning the novelist are collected in this detailed account of Jane Austen's life, background and literary career. Her role within an affectionate and talented family group is described in Austens' own words, showing how Jane was valued as daughter, sister, aunt and friend. The book demonstrates how Jane transformed the details of her peaceful life in the Hampshire countryside, along with the wartime careers of her brothers, into six novels that are among the most popular in the English language.


Book Cover Image: Title: Memoir of Jane Austen, Author: James Edward Austen-Leigh Buy It Memoir of Jane Austen
James Edward Austen-Leigh
James Edward Austen-Leigh's Memoir of his aunt Jane Austen was published in 1870, over fifty years after her death. Together with the shorter recollections of James Edward's two sisters, Anna Lefroy and Caroline Austen, the Memoir remains the prime authority for her life and continues to inform all subsequent accounts. These are family memories, the record of Jane Austen's life shaped and limited by the loyalties, reserve, and affection of nieces and nephews recovering in old age the outlines of the young aunt they had each known. They still remembered the shape of her bonnet and the tone of her voice, and their first-hand accounts bring her vividly before us. Their declared partiality also raises fascinating issues concerning biographical truth, and the terms in which all biography functions. This edition brings together for the first time these three memoirs, and also includes Jane's brother Henry Austen's "Biographical Notice" of 1818 and his less known "Memoir" of 1833.


Book Cover Image: Title: Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners, Author: Josephine Ross Buy It Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners
Josephine Ross
Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners is a light-hearted, insightful handbook written as if intended for her original Regency Era readers, and illustrated throughout with beautiful watercolors. When Anna, Jane Austen's young niece, sent her a novel for "literary comment," Jane loved everything about it, except its utter disregard for the manners of the day. The resulting and tender correspondence between the two serves as the foundation for this instructional book. Etiquette and social behavior of the early 1800s come to life in lovely chapters teaching one on how to pay and return formal "calls," how to properly refuse a proposal of marriage, who should lead off the dancing at a country-house ball, and what to wear for a morning walk. Jane Austen used these daily customs and niceties to brilliantly illuminate the cloistered world of high society women in her timeless novels. Now with this delightful handbook of correct social behavior, readers will learn just why Mrs. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice couldn't call alone on her new, rich, bachelor neighbor and had to force the reluctant Mr. Bennet to do so…even as he uttered "Tis an etiquette I despise." An indispensable gift for any Austen fan, this beautiful book will prove irresistible to anyone wishing to go back in time to the atmosphere of their favorite Austen novels.


Book Cover Image: Title: The Gentleman's Daughter, Author: Amanda Vickery Buy It The Gentleman's Daughter
Amanda Vickery
What was the life of an eighteenth-century British genteel woman like? This lively book, based on letters, diaries, and account books of over one hundred middle class women, transforms our understanding of the position of women in Georgian England. These women were not confined in their homes but enjoyed expanding horizons and an array of emerging public arenas, as the author shows.


Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-06-2007 04:04 PM
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Everyman
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Re: Additional Recommended Reading

There are a ton of books about Jane Austen -- not quite as many as about Shakespeare, but perhaps not that far behind. If I could add a few books that I have found particularly interesting and useful while reading JA (BillT, feel free to edit this putting in the B&N purchase information if you want to)

Jane Austen's Letters, the third (current) edition of the Deirdre Le Faye edited collection. Fascinating insight into Jane, and a pure delight to browse.

Jane Austen, by Carol Shields, Penguin Lives edition. A brief biography, written by a novelist rather than a scholar, so won't satisfy those who want a deep scholarly analysis, but is a good introduction to Jane for those who just want to know a bit about her life without having to read a multi-hundred page tome.

Jane Austen, by Tony Tanner. From the title sounds like a biography, but isn't; after a general introduction Tanner, a well respected Austen scholar, devotes a chapter to a critical essay of each book, with some insights that I haven't found elsewhere.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. An eclectic collection of information about 19th century English life, with an extensive glossary of unfamiliar terms -- if you want to know what a rushlight or spunging house are, or what the various servants in a big house did and what their pecking order was, this is the book for you. Though it may be less useful if one has Shapard's book in hand, because he has probably covered 95% of what you would need to look up here. But the book is fun to read in its own right! (Were you aware, for example, that physicians had higher status than surgeons, since physicians didn't stoop to touch the body (except to take pulses), but only took detailed case histories and prescribed drugs, while the surgeon did such menial tasks as setting bones treating cuts, and anything else for which the simple prescription of a drug would be inadequate? Physicians were on a level with gentlemen; their wives could be presented at court, whereas those of surgeons could not.)

There are tons of other books; perhaps others, particularly including David Shapard, can suggest books they have found particularly interesting and insightful.
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DavidShapard
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Re: Additional Recommended Reading


Everyman wroteWhat Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. An eclectic collection of information about 19th century English life, with an extensive glossary of unfamiliar terms -- if you want to know what a rushlight or spunging house are, or what the various servants in a big house did and what their pecking order was, this is the book for you. Though it may be less useful if one has Shapard's book in hand, because he has probably covered 95% of what you would need to look up here. But the book is fun to read in its own right! (Were you aware, for example, that physicians had higher status than surgeons, since physicians didn't stoop to touch the body (except to take pulses), but only took detailed case histories and prescribed drugs, while the surgeon did such menial tasks as setting bones treating cuts, and anything else for which the simple prescription of a drug would be inadequate? Physicians were on a level with gentlemen; their wives could be presented at court, whereas those of surgeons could not.)

There are tons of other books; perhaps others, particularly including David Shapard, can suggest books they have found particularly interesting and insightful.




There are, as you say, tons of books. My recommendations would certainly include those already on the list. A good general study by an author, Josephine Ross, already on the list is "JA: A Companion,". There are also some books that are not in print, but that can still probably be found at the library: "The Jane Austen Companion", ed. by J. David Grey, and two books by W.A. Craik, "JA: the six novels" and "JA in her time". If people wish for recommendations on more specific topics, I will be happy to supply them.

I would issue a slight warning about "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew". It is a justifiably popular book, for it provides a lot of excellent information, such as the example mentioned, in an accessible and readable format. It does, however, have a less than stellar reputation among devotees of Jane Austen. Partly this is because there are some errors in the book, and partly this is because the book concentrates more on the Victorian than the Regency period, since the book is giving the background to famous novels and more come from the Victorian period. But since the two periods had some significant differences, this means that not everything said is applicable to Jane Austen.
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Everyman
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Re: Additional Recommended Reading

The proof that Jane Austen has "made it" in the 21st century is that we now have available Jane Austen for Dummies. What more can one say? :smileyhappy:
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LutherJen
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Re: Additional Recommended Reading





There are, as you say, tons of books. My recommendations would certainly include those already on the list. A good general study by an author, Josephine Ross, already on the list is "JA: A Companion,". There are also some books that are not in print, but that can still probably be found at the library: "The Jane Austen Companion", ed. by J. David Grey, and two books by W.A. Craik, "JA: the six novels" and "JA in her time".




I own Josephine Ross's "JA: A Companion" and it has been such a wonderful resource for me. I highly recommend it.
~"Only a novel"... in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.~Northhanger Abbey
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JDourg
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Re: Additional Recommended Reading

That's actually very cool, though I haven't seen that one yet on the shelves.
John D
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