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Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
The subject matter was interesting but the narrator sounded as if he was reading it aloud for the first time during most of the narration, and although I love dear Jane, by the end of it I was trying to just not fall asleep. Only ardent Janeites will be able to get through this one.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I bought this book both printed and audible. So interesting, engaging and very educational. Would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Jane Austen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Mullan establishes up front that his goal is to explore historical context and the linguistic theory associated with Austen's oeuvre... but he happily dismisses the significance of feminist (and presumably other theoretical) readings of same, so proudly that you just know he was the guy on the Literature 101 course who memorised every theoretical term and definition in the course documents and volunteered boring, by the book responses in every discussion.
At one point he starts to get close to addressing what later readers found in the texts... and side steps that entirely.
Austen wrote novels, not puzzles, and Mullan doesn't seem to care about teasing out reader response at all.
While I found it smug, didactic, and reductive, this research is absolutely impeccable and well organised, and I imagine extremely useful for academic work (though with this audio version I can't get a look at any bibliography).
Sadly Paul Collins sounds like he was generated by Google, extremely disinterested in the text. Something a little disingenuous about being told about Austen by two men... can't think why.
Any additional comments?
Every chapter, in itself, was interesting explaining the mores of the time; mourning, dress etc. But since there is only a small number of Jane Austin novels the same events and characters got explained again and again from different perspectives. Not a criticism of the author though (nor of Jane Austin!) and well worth a listen. Perhaps it may have been better to dip into a chapter at a time rather than as a continuous read.