What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved - John Mullan

This was well-written and fascinating, and it changed the way I saw a lot of things in Jane Austen's novels. 

 

I enjoyed the almost "chatty" style and the way it bounced from book to book so easily. If you haven't read all of Austen's work, this is likely to be hard to follow (and also full of spoilers!), so this is clearly written for people who are already fans. (Admittedly, if you are not already a fan, you are probably unlikely to pick this up at all, so there is that.)

 

I had not fully considered all of the myriad ways that culture had changed between Austen's time and ours and thus all of the assumptions and the sheer weight of implied information that I was missing. The presence of servants, the value of money, the limiting influence of weather on a society without cars or air conditioning are all things I think I had missed the full force of in my previous reads.

 

The age of the characters was particularly interesting, because although I had read all of the novels before seeing any film adaptations, that is what cemented the ages of characters in my head, I also hadn't given full weight to the ages listed for adults much of the time, which meant I was pretty often thinking of the parents of characters in particular as significantly older than they were. 

 

I can't wait to go re-read all of the novels armed with the weight of these new considerations.