Tag Archives: William Deresiewicz

A Jane Austen Education – William Deresiewicz

A Jane Austen Education

A Jane Austen Education – William Deresiewicz

I thought this book was charming. I admire people who can publish unflattering truths about themselves – although I do wonder about his relationship to his father (it is one thing to write unflattering things about yourself, but other people?)

This book makes me want to reread Austen’s novels (can’t get any more positive than that!). In fact I have downloaded them all to my Kindle (from here).

What did I learn?

From Emma I learned that every day things are important they are the substance from which life is built – it is true that the knowledge of every day detail creates intimacy. You can see that when someone moves away and you no longer know all of that ‘pointless’ detail – who puts that kind of detail into an email, letter or facebook post?

Pride and Prejudice is about making mistakes (big humiliating mistakes) and learning from them. It is the learning that is important. Plenty of people don’t learn from their mistakes – Lydia anyone?

Northanger Abbey is about learning and being open to new experiences. Don’t take things for granted including traditional ideas. Think for yourself and investigate your feelings.

I have always thought that Mansfield Park is under rated. Fanny Price is stoic (boring, but stoic). Mansfield Park shows that character is more important than wit, charm, money, etc.

Persuasion is about belonging and finding your ‘family’. It is about true friendship, which is about placing the welfare of your friend above yourself.

And finally, Sense and Sensibility is about love and once again character is  most important. You grow into love by meeting someone and getting to know them. However, not everyone is capable of love. You must have a loving heart. There are plenty of characters in Austen novels who don’t have a loving heart – Lucy Steele, John Thorpe.

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