A Jane Austen Education...Review

About the book:
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 demonstrates the enduring power of Austen's teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, 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, about staying young and being good, and, of course, about love. As they grow up, the lessons they learn are imparted to Austen's reader, who learns and grows by their side.

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.

A unique look at the works of Jane Austen. William Deresiewicz takes each book and breaks it down to a key point or core lesson that is learned from each book.

Emma:  Everyday Matters.  There is nothing mundane or ordinary.  Every experience we have, every conversation we have, are what create the tapestry that becomes life.

Pride and Prejudice: Growing up. You aren't born perfect. Mistakes make us who we are.

Northanger Abbey: Learning to learn. Pay attention and don't take things for granted.  There are new experiences to be had everywhere.  Life surprises you.

Mansfield Park: Being Good.  Be useful to people, be a good friend.

Persuasion: True Friends.  Friends are the family you choose.  I love that concept.

Sense and Sensibility: Falling in Love. Love works with what you have and who you are.  It challenges you and your true character is what begins to show.

Mine has about 5 bookmarks in it, including two pieces of torn kitchen towel.  I found passages I liked but didn't have a highlighter with me!

This isn't a fast read and it's a bit more scholarly than I originally expected, but then,William Deresiewicz is an English professor.  And, he's a man who not only loves Jane Austen, but knows Jane Austen.  He includes quotes from the novels and quotes from Jane's personal correspondence.  He shares anecdotes and experiences from his own life that define and explain each novel and each core lesson.

A delightful and fascinating book.  Fans of Jane Austen will love it.  Jane Austen scholars will adore it.

Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about William Deresiewicz here. You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Tuesday, April 26th: Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, April 27th: Nonsuch Book
Monday, May 2nd: The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, May 3rd: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Thursday, May 5th: Book Reviews by Molly
Monday, May 9th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 10th: Laura’s Reviews
Tuesday, May 17th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, May 18th: The Lost Entwife
Thursday, May 19th: Books Like Breathing
Tuesday, May 24th: Overstuffed

Read 5/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. I'm really intrigued by this book - it seems so different from everything else I've seen about Jane Austen.

    So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being on the tour!


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