Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #5 - Jane Austen for Dummies

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  Just pick up whatever book you're currently reading and post a couple sentences as a teaser - be careful not to use any spoilers, though!

Right now I'm reading Jane Austen for Dummies by Dr. Joan Klingel Ray.  This book will be the main feature of my upcoming giveaway, so I wanted to read it all the way through and get a review up for those of you who may be interested in entering.  Here's a little snippet in case you aren't sure this book would be interesting:

"These letters reveal an Austen who could be cynical, nasty, cruel, and sarcastic.  Here are some examples:  'Mrs. Hall, of Sherborne, was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright.  I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband.' (October 27, 1798)"
Very harsh! This was written when Jane was 22, and of course, infant mortality rates and likely also risk of something like a miscarriage were MUCH higher back then, so it would have been more of an everyday occurrence.  Still sad, but probably easier to treat as a commonplace event (especially if it's not someone you're terribly close to).  I wonder who this Mrs. Hall of Sherborne was, and why Jane would say something like this about her or her husband - maybe she's mentioned again later in the book... 

For the record, I'm not into dead baby jokes, but I thought this was a good teaser, because a lot of people tend to shy away from novels and authors from before the 20th century, because they perhaps feel the books will be boring and dry.  But obviously, people back then were not always so polite and boring as one might feel inclined to think!  And with Austen, this cynicism and sarcastic wit is transferred to a great many of her novels' characters.


  1. Wow...I'm a Austen fan myself. Sounds like this book would be good for me to check out for a bit of background.

  2. Whoa! Who knew Jane had such a nasty side? That is a good teaser, though! Thanks for visiting mine :)