Paperback review: What Matters in Jane Austen? By John Mullan
Sunday 10 February 2013
Is There Any Sex in Jane Austen? How Much Money is Enough? What Makes Characters Blush? These are among the questions posed by John Mullan in this collection of astute and appreciative essays on Jane Austen.
The approach, with its attention to detail, determination to solve puzzles, and respect for the text, is reminiscent of John Sutherland's approach in Is Heathcliff a Murderer? One of the most illuminating essays here is "How Experimental a Novelist is Jane Austen?" which makes clear that she basically invented the modern novel in her use of narrative that follows and mimics a character's thoughts – which accounts for the amazing modernity of her novels, while many other books of the period seem ponderous today. You probably have to be a thorough-going Janeite to get the most from the essays, but I am, so that's fine.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
- 4 Headaches, fry ups, and hair of the dog - why do we get hangovers, and is there such thing as a 'cure'?
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly