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A Jane Austen Education Audiobook

A Jane Austen Education

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (291 )
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4.3 (246 )
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  •  
    Kim Mill Bay, British Columbia, Canada 08-20-12
    Kim Mill Bay, British Columbia, Canada 08-20-12
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    "Jane Austen's good reading"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joyce 08-13-12
    joyce 08-13-12
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    "Great study of Jane Austen"
    What made the experience of listening to A Jane Austen Education the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R Vicksburg, MS, United States 08-06-12
    R Vicksburg, MS, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Thought provoking"

    I thought I knew Jane Austen until I listened to this book. The author opened my eyes to Jane and even though I was always a fan, now I more fully understand why. He explored the novels in light of his own life, the purpose Jane intended. Masterfully written and narrated, and thoroughly enjoyable. I anxious to read all of Jane Austen's works once again with a new perspective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Morrison Worcester, MA 07-30-12
    Rhonda Morrison Worcester, MA 07-30-12 Member Since 2017
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    "A Little Dull"
    Would you try another book from William Deresiewicz and/or Sean Pratt?

    The narrator was fine, the book was a bit on the dull side, it definitely went through all the Austin classics, but the story of the narrator just did not interest me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JG East Coast 07-29-12
    JG East Coast 07-29-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Great story for a Jane Austen lover (Janeite)"
    Where does A Jane Austen Education rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is my first Audiobook, and I've really enjoyed it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I read and re-read my favorite Jane Austen novels every year, and have never formally studied Jane Austen, so getting the author's perspective and how Austen's works have influenced him create another level of appreciation for my favorite novels.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 07-22-12
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Mildly interesting"

    As a fan and more or less indiscriminate consumer of all things Jane Austen, I basically had to listen to this book. If you are also an Austen omnivore, by all means, read it. The guy had some slightly interesting insights into Austen's books and apparently reading them helped him work through some issues of his own--or such is the conceit of the book.

    The author sounds like a jerk who "found himself" thanks to Jane. Good for him.

    If you are looking for actual insights into Jane Austen's writing, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a good story, look elsewhere. If you are looking for an appealing protagonist, look elsewhere.

    As for myself, I finished this mildly interesting book and promptly cleansed my palette with some authentic Austen. Turns out I prefer my Jane Austen books without the benefit of outside explanation--at least not this man's interpretations.


    If you want a more specific explanation, I guess I didn't have much faith in the interpretations of Mr. Deresiewicz. The most interesting thing in the book was the background on Jane Austen herself and parallels to her characters. I didn't like being told what the books meant or what Jane Austen was trying to accomplish with them. They seem, to me, to stand so well on their own as to not require interpretation and Mr. D's explanations didn't jibe with my own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer DEER PARK, TX, United States 07-16-12
    Amazon Customer DEER PARK, TX, United States 07-16-12
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    "Beautiful"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me go out and buy new copies of all the Jane Austen novels I sold back years ago...


    Any additional comments?

    I loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-11-12
    Jane Minneapolis, MN, United States 07-11-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Much better than you would think from the title..."
    Would you listen to A Jane Austen Education again? Why?

    This book was very clear and easy to digest. I will listen to it again when I want to feel better about the world. The author does a great job of combining really great criticism of Jane Austen's works, the history of her life and historical period, and how it relates to his own life.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendi Oswego, IL, United States 02-23-12
    Wendi Oswego, IL, United States 02-23-12 Member Since 2012
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    "An Excellent Austen Education"
    Where does A Jane Austen Education rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It ranks at the top.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the way the author wove his story together with Austen's stories.


    What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved his voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many moments, too numerous to list. As a teacher, I was moved every time he wrote about the importance of the details of our lives, the importance of each life, and the importance of each story. It affirmation to my teaching, as well my life as a wife and mother, made me glow.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't like how he ended the book. I understand the allusion to Austen's writing

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francine Price Gambrills, MD USA 02-13-12
    Francine Price Gambrills, MD USA 02-13-12 Member Since 2017
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    "A Jane Austin fan"
    What made the experience of listening to A Jane Austen Education the most enjoyable?

    I loved this book. There are 3 stories going on. His personal story, Jane Austins books and Jane Austins personal story. If your a fan of hers a must read and I have not read all her books but have seen all of her books movies.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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