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Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels Paperback – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711222789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711222786
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Deirdre Le Faye is an expert on Jane Austen, and the author of several books, including the definitive biography Jane Austen: A Family Record for the British Library, and a completely new edition of Jane Austen's letters. She lives in Portishead, North Somerset.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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4 star
31%
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13%
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See all 16 customer reviews
As a research source, it will be valuable.
Frances Kuffel
This delightful book is highly recommended to fans of the Jane Austen novels and those looking for some social insight into the world of Georgian and Regency England.
D.S.Thurlow
LeFaye skillfully weaves together pieces of biography, history, and plot to create a fascinating Austen portrait.
E. DeArdo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D.S.Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
2002's "Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels" is author Diedre Le Faye's highly enjoyable survey of the world of romance writer Jane Austen's beloved stories. Austen's novels continue to be popular because her characters are so true to life. However, as Le Faye tellingly notes, the modern reader misses at least some aspects of the novels because we lack understanding of the Georgian and Regency England context in which they occur.

Jane Austen left behind only a limited footprint for future biographers: her six completed novels, a few incomplete or juvenile manuscripts, and some surviving letters to family and friends. A few relatives captured further details in memoirs or comments. To expand this limited quantity of information, Le Faye investigates Austen's immediate and extended family, the places she lived or may reasonably have traveled to, the customs and fashions of the day, the class system, and such mundane details as food, clothing, and sanitation.

The effect of this, the first half of the book, is to help us better appreciate the novels. In "Pride and Prejudice", the reader can understand why Mr. Darcy's refusal to dance with Elizabeth Bennet at their first meeting was so exceptionally rude, and why Elizabeth could not respond directly to Darcy's letter. In "Emma", the reader learns why her attempts to interest Mr. Elton in Harriet Smith were likely to be understood as Emma's interest in him, thus adding a comical sense of impending disaster to Mr. Elton's eventual marriage proposal to a shocked Emma. In "Sense and Sensibility", we learn why a man could not break an engagement to a woman (although the woman could).
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Austenissimus on March 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
On the one hand, this book is very useful because the writer is a top expert on Austen. But while she gives a lot of information on Austen's culture, she spends too many pages givng long plot summaries. I recommend JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES as a great alternative: the author of that gives a great sense of the culture, characters, and Austen, herself, in a witty, clear style.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Garrison on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is titled "Jane Austen:The World Of Her Novels" but I thought there was a bit too much "Jane Austen" and "her novels" and not enough of "the world".

It starts out with a mostly biographical description of Jane and her family. This is interesting, and relevant (because most of her novels were about people very much like Jane and her family). Then there is a section that describes more of the customs and life of the day. I found this to be very interesting. Best part of the book. But also, the shortest. Finally a full half of the book was taken up by an in-depth look at each novel. The author stayed away from literary criticism and discussed things like what the characters would have worn or what the local industry would have been like. This was interesting, but not really what I was expecting. And it was also a little redundant, because so much of it was similar from novel to novel.

Furthermore, as in her novels, very little of the world was shown outside of the circles Jane moved in and wrote about. I was looking for more context, but it was missing. However, what was covered was covered well.

Overall I enjoyed the book, but I'm glad I checked it out from the library rather than having purchased it as a reference.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Smith on July 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is not a particularly scholarly work. There are no footnotes to give the source of the author's information which I would have liked to see. However, as a nice, easy-to-read description of life in the period in which Jane Austen lived, I've not seen anything better. The author discusses clothing, transport, food, homes, furnishings, currency, incomes, social groupings, occupations and pastimes, the army, the navy, health, wealth and the war in the background. Very well done in a few short pages and it's a good summary of a lot of the more in-depth reading I have done over many years. It would be an excellent place for many of the writers of the so-called New Regency Trash being discussed on one of the boards here to start. Enough basic information to write a good work of fiction I should think! And, although brief, the author's short summaries of the novels was a quick refresher for some of the novels I haven't read for a number of years. The book is beautifully illustrated and this paperback edition is printed on quality paper. A very nice read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. DeArdo on May 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a longtime student of Jane, this book absolutely riveted me. you learn so much about her life, her times, her works, and her influences, and the style of this beautiful book is enchanting. LeFaye skillfully weaves together pieces of biography, history, and plot to create a fascinating Austen portrait. It is also lavishly illustrated and printed on lovely paper, which helps make it one of my favorite books, period. A must have for any Jane lover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Campbell D. on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been an Austen fan for a while, but never sought out much information about the author herself until more recently. I enrolled in a Jane Austen class at my university and decided I ought to read up ahead of time. After perusing the shelves at B&N, I purchased this book, and am very pleased with it.

The writing reads more like prose than a resource book, and is thus very enjoyable to read. In addition, it has some beautiful images, including maps, Regency interiors, art from the period, household items, etc. But most importantly, the information in the book is valuable, interesting, and very useful. I found that, upon rereading the novels for the class, the experience was both informed and enriched by this book. I highly recommend it, both as a student of Austen as well as a fan!
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