Download A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About by William Deresiewicz PDF

By William Deresiewicz

An eloquent memoir of a tender man's existence remodeled via literature.

In A Jane Austen Education, Austen pupil William Deresiewicz turns to the author's novels to bare the extraordinary existence classes hidden inside of. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his personal reviews to illustrate the long-lasting energy of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature scholar 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 similar to James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz by no means notion Austen's novels could have something to provide him. but if he used to be assigned to learn Emma as a graduate scholar at Columbia, whatever notable occurred. Austen's devotion to the standard, and her trust within the price of normal lives, ignited anything in Deresiewicz. He begun viewing the area via Austen's eyes and treating these round him as generously as Austen handled her characters. alongside the way in which, Deresiewicz used to be surprised to find that the folks in his lifestyles built the intensity and richness of literary characters-that his personal existence had all of sudden got the entire fascination of a singular. His actual schooling had ultimately all started.

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 know about friendship and feeling, staying younger and being stable, and, in fact, love. As they develop up, they study classes which are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by way of their aspects.

A Jane Austen Education is a testomony to the transformative strength 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 cherished works. eventually, Austen's international turns into indelibly entwined with our personal, exhibiting the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.

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Extra info for A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

Example text

Once I started to see myself for the first time, I emma | E V E R Y D AY M AT T E R S 37 started seeing them for the first time, too. I began to notice and care about what they might be experiencing, and they began to develop the depth and richness of literary characters. I could almost feel along with their feelings now, as we talked, feel the contours of them as they tried to express them to me. Instead of a boring blur, the life around me now was sharp and impor­ tant. Everything was interesting, everything was meaningful, every conversation held potential revelations.

But the other part—what about that? We come into the world as a tiny bun­ dle of impulse and ignorance—how do we ever become fit for human company, let alone capable of love? This, I discovered that summer, was what Jane Austen’s nov­ els were about. Her heroines were sixteen or nineteen or twenty (people married young in those days, especially women). We followed them for a few weeks, or a few months, or a year. They started out in one place, and gradually—or sometimes, quite suddenly—they ended up somewhere else.

No doubt self-flattery had played a big role there. Austen had seduced me into identifying with her heroine, and I had been only too pride and prejudice | GROWING UP 49 happy to comply. Now it turned out that if I did indeed re­ semble her, it was not for the reasons I’d supposed. Elizabeth trusted her judgment way too much—just as I did. She was so much cleverer than everyone she knew except her father—who was always telling her how clever she was—that she imagined that everything she believed must be true, just because she be­ lieved it.

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