Posted by: Shirley | March 23, 2014

Austen picnic at World’s End

BOOK: Choose What Matters in Jane Austen? or The Real Jane Austen
WHEN: Sunday, June 1, 2014, at 12:15 p.m.
: World’s End in Hingham
RSVP:  Leave a comment here or on Facebook if you’re coming.

Join us at picturesque World’s End in Hingham.  Choose one book or both.  No need to read either (or both) cover to cover.  Feel free to pick out 3 to 5 fun facts to share with the group.  Picnic materials are optional.  If we get a menu going, I’ll post it on here and the FB page.

What Matters in Jane Austen?
Which important Austen characters never speak? Is there any sex in Austen? What do the characters call one another, and why? What are the right and wrong ways to propose marriage? In What Matters in Jane Austen?, John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen’s brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.
In twenty short chapters, each of which explores a question prompted by Austens novels, Mullan illuminates the themes that matter most in her beloved fiction. Readers will discover when Austen’s characters had their meals and what shops they went to; how vicars got good livings; and how wealth was inherited. What Matters in Jane Austen? illuminates the rituals and conventions of her fictional world in order to reveal her technical virtuosity and daring as a novelist. It uses telling passages from Austen’s letters and details from her own life to explain episodes in her novels: readers will find out, for example, what novels she read, how much money she had to live on, and what she saw at the theater.
Written with flair and based on a lifetime’s study, What Matters in Jane Austen? will allow readers to appreciate Jane Austen’s work in greater depth than ever before.

The Real Jane Austen
The Real Jane Austen, acclaimed literary biographer Paula Byrne provides the most intimate and revealing portrait yet of a beloved but complex novelist. Just as letters and tokens in Jane Austen’s novels often signal key turning points in the narrative, Byrne explores the small things – a scrap of paper, a gold chain, an ivory miniature – that held significance in Austen’s personal and creative life.
  Byrne transports us to different worlds, from the East Indies to revolutionary Paris, and to different events, from a high society scandal to a case of petty shoplifting. In this ground-breaking biography,  Austen is set on a wider stage than ever before, revealing a well-traveled and politically aware writer – important aspects of her artistic development that have long been overlooked.
  The Real Jane Austen is a fresh, compelling, and surprising biography of the author of some of our most enduring classic books – from Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility, Emma toPersuasion – and a vivid evocation of the world that shaped her.


  1. Which Jane Austen character never speaks? I don’t recall which character that would be. Thus far, I’ve read Emma and Pride and Prejudice, and third title just eludes me. Thanks.

    • I was stunned to read in John Mullan’s book that Georgiana Darcy doesn’t speak. The scenes between her, Darcy, and Elizabeth in 1995 and 2008 P&P are so moving to me. Cheers!


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