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A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels…
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A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship,… (2011)

by William Deresiewicz

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Deresiewicz begins reading Jane Austen as part of his college education, and in the process becomes endeared towards her works while also realizing Austen is informing him of his shortcomings and how he overcomes them. The author readily admits he was somewhat of a pompous ass while he was in his 20s and 30s, and I appreciated his honesty and his insights. Now I want to re-read my Austens soon! ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Mar 13, 2017 |
may 2011
  MatkaBoska | Jun 15, 2016 |
Great personal experiences tied together and inspired by Jane Austen! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Great personal experiences tied together and inspired by Jane Austen! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Deresiewicz devotes a chapter to each of Austen's six novels, discussing what he discovered about life in that novel (often after reading it several times). His discussion is part literary criticism and part memoir. He illuminates Austen's work but also illustrates how reading her has changed the way he sees the world and how he moves through it. His discussion is always interesting (though, for me, most so when he was talking about the books I know and like best myself), and the whole book is a lovely testament to the ways in which literature can have real affects on people's lives. Recommended to Austen fans, lovers of books about books, and readers looking for a nudge into Austen's work (Deresiewicz will make you want to read her). ( )
1 vote lycomayflower | Jun 26, 2015 |
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To Jill,

and to the memory of Karl Kroeber
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I was twenty-six, and about as dumb, in all human things, as any twenty-six-year-old has a right to be, when I met the woman who would change my life.
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CONTENTS: Emma: everyday matters -- Pride and prejudice: growing up -- Northanger Abbey: learning to learn -- Mansfield Park: being good -- Persuasion: true friends -- Sense and sensibility: falling in love -- The end of the story.

In A Jane Austen Education, Austen scholar William 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. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man's discovery of the world outside himself. 

A self-styled intellectual rebel dedicated to writers such as James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz never thought Austen's novels would have anything to offer him. But when he was assigned to read Emma as a graduate student at Columbia, something extraordinary happened. Austen's devotion to the everyday, and her belief in the value of ordinary lives, ignited something in Deresiewicz. He began viewing the world through Austen's eyes and treating those around him as generously as Austen treated her characters. Along the way, Deresiewicz was amazed to discover that the people in his life developed the depth and richness of literary characters-that his own life had suddenly acquired all the fascination of a novel. His real education had finally begun. 

Weaving his own story-and Austen's-around the ones her novels tell, Deresiewicz shows how her books are both about education and themselves an education. Her heroines learn about friendship and feeling, staying young and being good, and, of course, love. As they grow up, they learn lessons that are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by their sides. 

A Jane Austen Education is a testament to the transformative power of literature, a celebration of Austen's mastery, and a joy to read. Whether for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings fresh insights to the novelist and her beloved works. Ultimately, Austen's world becomes indelibly entwined with our own, showing the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.  [Book description retrieved from Amazon 11/13/11]
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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.

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