Enter Jane Austen's World: or, how art and living can mix.

Jul 11, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Plenty of luscious photographs!

Cons:Oh, I could have happily devoured a few hundred more pages of information...

The Bottom Line: Beautifully made and designed book, terrific source for the artist in you.


Are you curious about how a classic novel makes the transistion from the printed page to the big screen or television set? Or how an author who was in her day virtually unknown, and dismissed as being 'too ordinary' became one of the bestselling novelists of all time?

Try this one on for size. The full title is: Jane Austen's World: the life and times of England's most popular novelists. And show us a life it certainly does! Filled with exquisite photographs and drawings, this is one of the most accessable books on the style of Regency England that I have ever seen. While the content is very similar to the book The Friendly Jane Austen, the presentation is a bit more comfortable for those who know very little about the works of Jane Austen.

Beginning with a history of Jane Austen and her family, we get to see a glimpse of the world of Regency England -- one where good manners and birth mattered, money was a topic not to be discussed publically (but of vital importance to everyone) and especially the role and lifestyle of gentlewomen. They were expected to be pious, of good moral character, and to make a good marriage.

But what Jane Austen did was shift the curtain on the lives of women, and the social circles they moved in. Besides detailing the general lifestyles, we get to see still shots of both artifacts of the Regency period, portraits of various members of the Austen family, and all of the various actors and actresses who have portrayed Austen's characters.

Once the reader gets past the fine points of Austen's life, the book shifts its attention to the various aspects of living. Divided into two page spreads, the reader moves from life in the countryside, the resort town of Bath, careers in the Church of England and the Royal Navy, to such things as traveling, etiquette, meals, and even fashion and needlework. The final section deals with critical analysises, modern sequels that have been written, and a breakdown of each book as it has been turned into a stage play or film.

In short, this is a wonderful volume to give to that person in your life who really enjoys the works of Jane Austen.


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