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A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball Hardcover – October 9, 2012
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And now Susannah Fullerton has come to my rescue! Readers who have visited the Jane Austen Society of Australia (an excellent site) know that Ms. Fullerton is its president, and that she has written a previous book, "Jane Austen and Crime:. "A Dance With Jane Austen" is a compact illustrated book crammed with information, but written in a relaxed and accessible style. Topics include: Learning to dance, Dressing for the dance, Getting to and from a ball, Assembly balls, Private balls, Etiquette of the ballroom, Men in the ballroom, Dancing and music, 'They sat down to supper', Conversation and courtship, The shade of a departed ball, and Dance in Jane Austen films.
Ms. Fullerton culls information from Austen's letters, novels, and historic texts, such as "The Complete System of English Country Dancing", by Mr. Wilson, a dancing master of some renown and decided opinions. She also describes how Beau Nash, the influential master of ceremonies and taste maker in Bath, laid down a set of rules for Society to follow.Read more ›
First, as noted by some of the other reviewers, the illustrations have no captions. Sometimes it's very clear what the picture is and why it is used based on its placement in the text. But not always. Also I would have appreciated knowing when the paintings and drawings were actually done. Some of them are clearly late Victorian and even Edwardian.
Second, there were some editorial issues. The most glaring appears on page 54: "George and Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen's parents, married in Bath in 1864." When basic facts aren't double checked, or even if it was simply a typesetting error, one has to wonder about the accuracy of other information in the book.
Finally, I would have appreciated a bit more historical context to balance out the analysis of the characters' interactions on the dance floor, especially in the Conversation and Courtship chapter.
That being said, I did enjoy the descriptions of the types of dances that were done during the Regency period and the food that would have been served at the various types of balls. I also enjoyed reading the excerpts from Austen's letters about balls that she attended.
Similar to Tea with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen, which are both by Kim Wilson, publisher Frances Lincoln release another exquisite, entertaining, and educational illustrated hardcover book about Jane Austen. Just like the previous two books, A Dance with Jane Austen is well-researched, organized, and visually appealing. With twelve divided chapters, this book covers topics such as: learning to dance, getting ready for a ball, ballroom etiquette, suppers, musicians, and ballroom conversation. There is even a slim chapter titled, "Dance in Jane Austen films," which I greatly appreciated since Jane Austen films provide brilliant and oftentimes very accurate visuals of Regency balls. I wish this chapter was extended a little bit more though, it was only three pages.
I loved all the valuable nuggets of information I gleaned from this novel! Jane Austen wrote novels for people who understood and lived through her time period. She does not heavily describe events or explain traditions that were commonplace and customary during her life. I had no idea the many responsibilities and great importance placed upon the master of ceremonies before reading this book. In addition, I was amazed and sadden to learn about the poor treatment and harsh lifestyle of hired musicians.Read more ›
Did you know that Austen featured dance scenes in all six of her major novels and that PRIDE AND PREJUDICE has no less than three? (The Meryton Assembly, an impromptu dance at Lucas Lodge, and the private ball at Netherfield Park.) Our heroine Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters meet, spark, fuel, or flee from romance illustrating how dance was not only the pinnacle of social activity - but key to attracting a mate. Yes. I may be pointing my inelegant finger, but there it is. Balls and dances where the primary stage to attract the opposite sex and snag a partner. Jane Austen knew this fact very well and used it to her advantage in each of her novels. Here is a foreshadowing of its importance from the Bennet household:
"The prospect of the Netherfield ball was extremely agreeable to every female of the family. Mrs. Bennet chose to consider it as given in compliment to her eldest daughter, and was particularly flattered by receiving the invitation from Mr. Bingley himself, instead of a ceremonious card.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Now I know what the white soup is that Bingley’s cook had to make in sufficient quantity before he sent out his cards for the ball at Netherfield! Read morePublished 13 months ago by Anne
Beautiful and sprightly book that does a great job of analyzing the dances in Austen's books and the roles they played in the plot, as well as the general history of dancing and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction
The centrality of the role of the ball to Regency society is highlighted by the well-known Janeite researcher, Deidre le Faye, in her foreword to this guide to such assemblies, as... Read morePublished 23 months ago by L. C. Henderson
It is just the right addition to a Jane Austen Collection in celebration 0r the anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.Published 24 months ago by Roberta Kenney
I loved this book about the British culture regarding balls and dances during Jane Austin's day. I am a ballroom dance teacher and it had special meaning for me. Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by Alexis Beckstead
This book is rich in information on the era, as well as a concise timeline leading up to and including the Battle of Waterloo. Read morePublished on May 4, 2014 by Katy Walters
Cute book and a must have for the Jane Austen fan who has everything. A very interesting and fun read.Published on April 14, 2014 by Kaylan Brett
This was a wonderful read! I devoured it. My only complaint is that some of the chapters (like those on food and etiquette) are cut very short. Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by M2
Very interesting book, a nice insight into the wonderful world of Jan Austen and Regency England. Makes the characters seem even more real.Published on January 23, 2014 by Holley A