What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan was published in 2012. It’s subtitled – Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved.
Chapter 1 is titled – How Much Does Age Matter? and I wasn’t too impressed with this one because it seemed to be aimed mainly at people who probably hadn’t actually read any Austen books, but had just watched the films or serials. I didn’t learn anything from it but as I read my way through the book I did find bits and pieces of it interesting.
However chapter 11 is titled – Is There Any Sex In Jane Austen? Really!! her books are full of sex, and even Mrs Bennet hadn’t given up all hope of ever having a son, which was not actually mentioned in the book but was clear to me even the first time I read Pride and Prejudice. Although Mullan does mention that Mrs Bennet is probably only just past 40.
This book will be more useful for people who don’t have a reasonably good idea of what life in Georgian England was like, or people who don’t read her books carefully, savouring the details.
It has however made me think that it’s high time I reread some of the Austen books which I haven’t read since I was a teenager.