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Jane Austen (book)

10 Ratings: 1.1
A book by Peter Leithart.

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Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Peter Leithart
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
1 review about Jane Austen (book)

Jane Austen had "a puzzle-solving mind"

  • Apr 29, 2010
 Peter Leithart is a much published theologian. He also loves and teaches courses about Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), her five great novels, her juvenile writings, her family and friends. He credits "the immortal Jane" with creating the modern novel, which did not catch on till after the Romantic movement had run its course. Versus earlier extreme views Dr Leithart also sees Jane as a main-stream devout, sincere, believing Christian, neither an emotional evangelical nor an outwardly conforming crypto-deist or agnostic. Miss Austen believed what her clerical father taught his family: unemotional 18th Century Anglican Christianity. 

The author also stresses that before she was Jane Austen, she was and remained Jenny Austen, a fun-loving girl. There is, he postulates, an aspect of Jenny that pops forth in Austen's most mature works such as MANSFIELD PARK and  NORTHANGER ABBEY: that of an impish, comedy-finding 15-year old girl.

Finally, Leithart notes that Jane Austen scatters puzzles among her novels. And gives readers hints and clues to unravel them. In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, for instance, why does "proud" Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy despise his boyhood companion George Wickham? In SENSE AND SENSIBILITY what is the mysterious relationship between Edward Ferrar and Miss Steele? Author Peter Leithart asserts that "Austen had a 'puzzle-solving mind,' and she constructed romantic puzzles and hoped for readers who would play along" (Ch. 3, p. 60).

JANE AUSTEN is a compact, portable paper-back. Although lacking and needing an Index, it does boast of extensive end notes, and in Appendices lists the major characters of Jane's six novels and both her friends and family members. It helps grasp this biography if you have first read a novel or two by Miss Austen. There is probably, however, too little detail in JANE AUSTEN to satisfy those who have read the novels over and over and admire Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC miniseries. Such enthusiasts author Leithart styles "Janeiacs" and people who suffer from "Janeia." A notably good short book.   


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April 30, 2010
This would be a great book to read along with one of Austen's in a book group. Which of her novels would be best in combination of this book?
May 01, 2010
Possibly, EMMA is best to read in connection with the JANE AUSTEN biography. Why? Because the puzzles are deeper than usual. Why does rich, intelligent Emma understand herself so little? A puzzle, one of several. QIGONGBEAR
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