Friday, July 8, 2011

A Jane Austen Education - William Deresiewicz

Synopsis from Austen scholar Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen's teachings.

I make no bones about the fact that I am a Jane Austen fan. The satire, the romance, the fun. So I was interested to read this book subtitled: “How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter.” To look at Austen’s work from a more cerebral and educational perspective than from a purely entertainment one.

William Deresiewicz starts out his literary critique by stating that he was not a fan of Jane Austen and her work. It wasn’t highbrow enough for him. So I started out my reading not being a fan of him. However, as he progresses through Austen’s books and grows to like and learn from her, I also come to like him as an author.

I found it unique how Deresiewicz parallels the lessons he’s learning from the Austen novels to what he was currently experiencing in his own life.

Jane Austen does, indeed, have a lot to teach us all. And William Deresiewicz takes the time to point that out to us. Emma helps us to see and appreciate the little things in life. Pride and Prejudice is a story of growing up and becoming a better person. Mansfield Park can show its reader where to find true happiness if one only takes the time to look. The education continues through her six popular books

At times, he is a bit redundant. However, overall it was an interesting and informative book to read. And it helped me to look at one of my favorite authors from a new perspective. I can’t wait to go back and reread some of her books and see if I can connect to the lessons there.

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