Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Jane Austen - The World of Her Novels by Deirdre Le Faye
I have a confession to make -- I didn't always have a fascination with Jane Austen and her writings. Except for one dismal attempt at writing a term paper in high school comparing and contrasting Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, I didn't know anything else about her work. (I received a "B" on my paper, and all I can say was that the teacher must have been in a very generous mood when grading it.) I was a much bigger fan of the Brontes, and I've read all of the works of Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte.
I think it is wonderful now that reading and studying Jane Austen's work and her world has become popular, and many websites, blogs, movies, handbooks and reference books on Regency times abound. I have added this reference book, Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels by Deirdre Le Faye, to my library to enrich the books that I am reading for the Everything Austen Challenge.
The book is divided into two major sections:
Part I - The World of Jane Austen
Discusses topics such as her family, royalty, social ranks, transportation, masculine occupations, male education and military life, feminine occupations, fashion, cultural pursuits, social life, homes and domestic interiors, and other tidbits of information that gives the reader a glimpse into everyday living during this time in history.
Part II - The Novels
All of Austen's major writings are discussed with a synopsis of each, a list of characters, with interesting background information added (portraits and pictures of what some characters may have looked like, and etchings and photos of homes that may have influenced her writings.) Austen's writing process is also included as she discussed her methods often in personal letters.
This is a wonderful resource for the serious student of Jane Austen's work. Very readable and filled with great photos and maps. (My favorite photograph is of Austen's little writing table with her tiny spectacles placed on top of one of her letters which is housed in the British Library.)
Title: Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels
Author: Deirdre Le Faye
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Limited (London)