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Jane Austen For Dummies by Joan Elizabeth…
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Jane Austen For Dummies (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray PhD

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1443123,518 (3.91)17
Member:EustaciaTan
Title:Jane Austen For Dummies
Authors:Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray PhD
Info:For Dummies (2006), Edition: 1, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:owned, Singapore, literature

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Jane Austen for Dummies by Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray (2006)

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"...Seriously, this book is a treasure and a truly wonderful resource - it doesn't matter if you are a long-time Janeite or if you are newly interested in the novels after having seen film adaptations, or if you just want to find out more because you were assigned one of Austen's novels for a class. I promise you will get something out of this book. As an aside, I do much of my reading outside of my home - in between classes, in waiting rooms while running errands, etc - and I have never gotten more comments from people about a book I was reading than when I was reading 'Jane Austen for Dummies'. People in the halls on campus, people in my classes, professors, my dermatologist...there is just something about Jane, I guess, that really does speak to everyone. ..."

For full review, please visit me at Here Be Bookwyrms on blogger:

http://herebebookwyrms.blogspot.com/2011/11/jane-austen-for-dummies.html ( )
  here.be.bookwyrms | Nov 12, 2011 |
Okay! Who wants to be called a dummy? Or, heaven forbid, admit that you are a dummy? Show of hands please. Well, not me, and certainly not any of those accomplished, well educated and urbane literati who call themselves Janeites! Right? So, Jane Austen for Dummies? Let’s be kind folks. Would Jane approve?

As a bookseller, I have seen the amazing rise in popularity of the Dummies book series over the last decade that has fueled Wiley Publishing into a mighty empire. There are now Dummies books available on every imaginable subject from Beekeeping to Napoleon; the list of titles is staggering.

When Jane Austen for Dummies hit the book stores in 2006, I was repulsed. The words in the title are a diametric polar vertex; complete opposites to my feelings of what MY Jane Austen stood for. As Lizzy Bennet said when she heard that Charlotte Lucas was engaged to Mr. Collins, “impossible”.

Among my merry Internet travels, I ran across this great article entitled, Jane Austen, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, in which the book Jane Austen for Dummies is sandwiched in as an example of how the recent Austen mania has teetered off the edge of decorum.

“In addition, when constructing our soundbites, we ought not to forget the sheer breadth of today’s Austen craze; it’s more than just films and television adaptations we’re in for. New books have appeared, too, like Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (2007) and Jane Austen for Dummies (2006). Though I worry that these books make reading her fiction sound like something done at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for slow learners, surely it’s not too late for some well-placed damage control?”

Ouch. I was a bit suspicious as the author, Prof. Devoney Looser, had lumped Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict into the mix. I had read it. In my opinion, it was not insulting to the memory of Miss Austen. Quite the contrary. Pastiche’s can be the closest form of a complement around. So was my first impression of Jane Austen for Dummies correct?

As I finished reading the article, I noticed that the author of Jane Austen for Dummies, Joan Klingel Ray, PhD, had posted a comment responding to the mention of her book in such an unprudential light, - and she was really going after the slight full force.

“But as the author of JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES, I take issue with her grouping my book with CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, which like other books of that ilk tap into Austen’s name recognition to sell fiction, dating guides, courtesy guides, etc.”

Ok Dr. Klingel Ray. I know that you are a past president of The Jane Austen Society of North America (2000-2006), and I curtsy reverently, but that condescension of another author’s work, and the genre in general was just mean, and not worthy of your rank and education. This seems to be turning into a kicking match that Caroline Bingley would be pleased to join in.

“Had Professor Looser even skimmed JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES, she would have seen that, like other books in the “Dummies” series, JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES is written to introduce interested persons to a subject-in this case, Jane Austen-in a straightforward, accessible way. Specifically, JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES explains to today’s readers of Austen’s fiction the cultural background of the novels that Austen, of course, assumed, her original readers-her contemporaries-would have immediately understood, but which may baffle today’s readers.”

She continues, at length, to elaborate the charms and practicalities of Jane Austen for Dummies, and concludes…

“So rather than preciously worrying about damage control, Professor Looser might read and then give the university employee a copy of JANE AUSTEN FOR DUMMIES, designed for those who wish to be Austen-Smarties, but need just a little extra information about Austen and her times to become so. In fact, if Professor Looser sends me the university employee’s name and school address, I will send him an autographed copy of the book.”

Ooo, Jane Austen academic cat fight!

The next day at work, intrigued by the brouhaha, I track down Jane Austen for Dummies, and you know, Dr. Klingel Ray was right. Anyone who reads this book will become a Jane Austen Smarty, which is much more agreeable to my sensibilities than being a dummy any day! It is a fun and fact filled volume, great for an introduction to Jane Austen, a brush up, or further research sources. Deeply readable, it truly demystifies our authoress, and adds to her charms. Thanks Dr. Klingel Ray. Now if you could sallie forth and gently nod to all of those Austenesque writers who did not intend to rip-off Jane Austen, there could be harmony and plenty in the Jane Austen community. ( )
2 vote Austenprose | Jul 21, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan Elizabeth Klingel Rayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ray, Joan KlingelAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Tennant, RichIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my mother, Jean Klingel, who always encouraged my dreams, and to my college professor, Professor Betty T. Bennett, who told me as a sophomore about graduate school an suggested that I go to one to become a college professor.
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Jane Austen is everywhere! (Introduction)
It's challenging to introduce someone who in a way "needs no introduction."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0470008296, Paperback)

Explains Austen's methods, motivations, and morals

The fun and easy way(r) to understand and enjoy Jane Austen

Want to know more about Jane Austen? This friendly guide gives the scoop on her life, works, and lasting impact on our culture. It chronicles the events of her brief life, examines each of her novels, and looks at why her stories - of women and marriage, class and money, scandal and hypocrisy, emotion and satire - still have meaning for us today.

Discover
* Why Austen is so popular
* The impact on manners, courtships, and dating
* Love and life in Austen's world
* Her life and key influences
* Her most memorable characters

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:00 -0400)

Jane Austen is among the most beloved authors in the English language. This guide chronicles the events of her brief life, examines each of her novels, and looks at why her stories - of women and marriage, class and money, scandal and hypocrisy, heartfelt emotion and biting satire - still resonate today.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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