Growing Older with Jane Austen, by Maggie Lane
Maggie Lane is the author of Jane Austen's World
and Understanding Austen
. She has lectured on aspects of Jane Austen's life and novels to the Jane Austen Societies of the UK, Canada, the U.S., and Australia, is the editor of the Jane Austen Society newsletter, and is consultant editor to the global Regency World
Already the author of a dizzying number of fascinating books about Jane Austen's life and environment, in Growing Older with Jane Austen
, she offers this new look at a subject that permeates all of Austen's novels, and yet, has remained, until now, relatively untouched by scholars.
There is no doubt that Jane Austen is enduringly popular with both a general readership and academics. But amid the wealth of approaches to her life and work, no one has made a full-length study of the concept of aging in her novels, and this book sets out to fill that gap. With chapters on the loss of youth and beauty, old wives, old maids, merry widows, and dowager despots, the theme allows for a lively exploration of many of Austen's most memorable characters. There are also chapters on hypochondria and illness, age and poverty, and death and wills. The book draws on the six novels, major literary fragments, Austen's own letters, and the reminiscences of family members and contemporaries. Real-life examples are used to underline the fidelity of Austen's fictional representation. Austen's wry approach to the perils and consolations of growing older is bound to strike chords with many.
Fellow editors at Jane Austen's Regency World read and enjoyed this new look at Austen's works, noting, 'It is a fascinating read, allowing a great parade of characters to take their turn centre-stage. Lane covers all aspects of older age in this endlessly entertaining book - the chapters entitled 'The Loss of Youth and Beauty' and 'Not the Only Widow in Bath' are particularly revealing. Illness and death are treated with an Austenian mixture of wit and sensitivity - one cannot help but feel that Jane would have approved of such a lively study of "gout and decrepitude" and all the other ailments, real and imaginary, that assail her senior citizens.'
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd (29 Aug. 2014)
Review quoted from Jane Austen's Regency World and printed here with permission.
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