An eloquent memoir of a young man's life transformed by literature.
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.
©2011 William Deresiewicz (P)2011 Penguin Audio
Young mom living in Japan, dealing with commute with audiobooks and knitting.
As I have not seen the print version, I cannot say for sure, but I enjoyed the audio edition immensely.
The way the author interpreted and talked about Austen's books without giving too much away (in case the reader was not familiar with a particular book) was great. It made me think about things I missed from the first time around.
As this book is written from the author's point of view, there was really only one character in there to perform. I thought the narrator did a great job with timing punchlines and showing emotion, though.
It made me laugh a few times, but I'm not sure if that would be the same for someone who is not really familiar with Austen's works.
I would recommend this book to any Austen fan for a light read, and also to people who have yet to read any of her novels, as I think this just might be the hook they need.
This book works on every level -- as a work of literary criticism and as a compelling story. I've read several books about Jane Austen or "sequels" to her novels before, but always been disappointed, as the non-fictional books were boring and pedantic and the fictional books failed to appreciate that Austen's work is about much more than romance. "A Jane Austen Education," on the other hand, appreciated and conveyed the depth and delight of Austen's work while, at the same time, delivering a contemporary story (the author's own) that pleasantly invoked all the elements of Austen. Narrated very well. Overall, it was a surprising delight.
I have never read the books and it was fun to have someone distill them down tothe basics and share his thematic summaries of each book.
How he became a better person through the process of his doctoral studies.
nice voice, regulated cadence and expressive in nature
No, just liked it a lot.
After reading this book, it made me want to go back and read the novels.
I was intrigued how the author put into practice what he learned from six of Jane Austen's novels and how it changed his life.
I highly recommend this book.
This lit major managed to write a personal, personable, and wise book, mix it in with a tiny bit of "lit crit" that can be easily understood outside the rarefied atmosphere of academe, and teach me something about Jane Austin and New York society, all in a sympathetic engaging way. Enjoyed the heck out of it. Well read in a clear straight-forward style. It does help if you know a bit about Jane Austin's work.
Fun, Educational, Romantic
Can't think of a comparison. Really different and really fun to read and helped me learn more about Austen and about her books...
He did a great job. Very clear.
Jane Austen's books help make a guy more romantic...
All Austen friends will like this analysis and story, and non-Austen friends will appreciate Austen more...
I listened to this book on an 18 hour drive alone, it kept me completely enthralled. I remembered about all of the Austen books I have read over the years, and felt like I was in an English lit class with an interesting professor. He related all of the books to his life and i could do the same.
A smart and good understanding of Jane Austen. It is like hearing Jane Austen another time with a friend and discussing with him about her.
Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.
I have loved Jane Austen's works for many years, but never studied them as literature. This author wrote his dissertation on Austen, and in doing so learned a lot about himself and what a shallow jerk he was (like some men in Austen's books). More interesting to me were his scholarly riffs on Austen's characters, but he makes his journey from boy to man interesting, too.
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