• Hardcover: 272 pages
• Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (April 28, 2011)
An eloquent memoir of a young man’s life transformed by literature.
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 demonstrate the enduring power of Austen’s teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz’s 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, staying young and being good, and, of course, love. As they grow up, they learn lessons that are imparted to Austen’s reader, who learns and grows by their sides.
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.
William Deresiewicz was an associate professor of English at Yale University until 2008 and is a widely published literary critic who writes for a popular audience. His reviews and criticism regularly appear in The New Republic, The Nation, The American Scholar, the London Review of Books, and The New York Times. In 2008 he was nominated for a National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism.
William’s Tour Stops
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
Tuesday, May 10th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 11th: Laura’s Reviews (author interview)
Tuesday, May 17th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, May 18th: The Lost Entwife
Thursday, May 19th: Books Like Breathing
Monday, May 23rd: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 24th: Overstuffed