By William Deresiewicz
An eloquent memoir of a tender man's lifestyles reworked via literature.
In A Jane Austen Education, Austen pupil William Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to bare the notable lifestyles classes hidden inside. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his personal reviews to illustrate the iconic strength of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature pupil to a fortunately married guy, Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education is the tale of 1 man's discovery of the area open air himself.
A self-styled highbrow insurgent devoted to writers comparable to James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz by no means concept Austen's novels might have something to provide him. but if he was once assigned to learn Emma as a graduate pupil at Columbia, anything outstanding occurred. Austen's devotion to the typical, and her trust within the price of standard lives, ignited anything in Deresiewicz. He begun viewing the realm via Austen's eyes and treating these round him as generously as Austen handled her characters. alongside the way in which, Deresiewicz was once surprised to find that the folks in his lifestyles built the intensity and richness of literary characters-that his personal lifestyles had unexpectedly bought all of the fascination of a singular. His genuine schooling had eventually began.
Weaving his personal story-and Austen's-around those her novels inform, Deresiewicz exhibits how her books are either approximately schooling and themselves an schooling. Her heroines find out about friendship and feeling, staying younger and being strong, and, in fact, love. As they develop up, they research classes which are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by way of their facets.
A Jane Austen Education is a testomony to the transformative energy of literature, a party of Austen's mastery, and a pleasure to learn. even if for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings clean insights to the novelist and her liked works. finally, Austen's global turns into indelibly entwined with our personal, exhibiting the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.
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Extra resources for A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter
The cast of char acters included “military heroes, bastard sprigs of the aristoc racy, ruined squires,” and “brilliant factory-owners of foreign origin,” as Austen biographer Claire Tomalin enumerates them. One, Lord Portsmouth, was a feebleminded aristocrat with a macabre taste for funerals and slaughterhouses. After his first wife died, he was swindled into marrying his lawyer’s daughter (Lord Byron was a witness, though he seemed un aware of what was going on), who proceeded to dismiss the servants and tyrannize her husband with regular whippings and beatings—gothic stuff indeed.
Philadelphia, childless for the first eight years of her marriage, gave birth to a daughter within two years of meeting her husband’s new business associate. The girl’s name, Eliza, was the same as that of Hastings’s daughter, who had died in infancy. Hastings, a widower, not only acted as Eliza’s godfather and later gave her the spanking sum of ten thousand pounds, he also sent his young son back to England to be raised in the home of Philadelphia’s newly married brother—that is, Jane Austen’s father himself.
In retrospect, it’s clear that he was haunted by a sense of pride and prejudice | GROWING UP 41 financial and even physical insecurity. He and his parents had been refugees from World War II, having escaped from Europe—that is, from the Holocaust—at the last possible mo ment. Much of his family had not escaped, and although he had erased his Czech accent by sheer force of will, he was still profoundly marked by his early experiences. He never spent a dime he didn’t have to, never threw away so much as a paper clip.
A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz