Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
3

A brilliant, illuminating reassessment of the life and work of Jane Austen that makes clear how Austen has been misread for the past two centuries and that shows us how she intended her books to be read, revealing, as well, how subversive and daring--how truly radical--a writer she was.

In this fascinating, revelatory work, Helena Kelly--dazzling Jane Austen authority--looks past the grand houses, the pretty young women, past the demure drawing room dramas and witty commentary on the narrow social worlds of her time that became the hallmark of Austen's work to bring to light the serious, ambitious, deeply subversive nature of this beloved writer. Kelly illuminates the radical subjects--slavery, poverty, feminism, the Church, evolution, among them--considered treasonous at the time, that Austen deftly explored in the six novels that have come to embody an age. The author reveals just how in the novels we find the real Jane Austen: a clever, clear-sighted woman "of information," fully aware of what was going on in the world and sure about what she thought of it. We see a writer who understood that the novel--until then seen as mindless "trash"--could be a great art form and who, perhaps more than any other writer up to that time, imbued it with its particular greatness.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf : New York, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781524732103
1524732109
Branch Call Number: 823.7 Auste-K
Characteristics: 318 pages : illustrations

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

I'm sorry I read this book by Helena Kelly. Her historical theories are sometimes illuminating; however, her theories of character and motivation seldom ring true to me.

For example, in chapter 3 ("Sense & Sensibility") Helena Kelly' tries to prove the character "Edward Ferrars" is dark and potentially violent. Why can't Edward remain a reserved and quietly noble character or even weak? I don't believe Jane Austen's words present Edward as negatively as this critic. Jane Austen's own character descriptions, her own words, are enough for me and my imagination because they ring true. I feel like this critic has maligned an old friend.

Critics present new theories which we can choose to think about or reject, and I suppose every critic needs to present different ideas to be relevant. I urge anyone reading "Jane Austen, the Secret Radical" to be confident in your own experience of Jane Austen and feel free to accept or reject any ideas presented by this critic, Helena Kelly.

Surprisingly, Kelly's analysis ends with this advice: "Forget the Jane Austen you think you know. Forget the biographies; forget the petty adaptations. Ignore the banknote. Read Jane's novels. They're here to speak for her: love stories, yes, though not always happy ones, but also the productions of an extraordinary mind, in an extraordinary age. Read them again."

I'm only a Jane Austen fan not a scholar and I would change her ending: (1) "Forget this book - Jane Austen, the Secret Radical." and (2) enjoy reading her biographies and learning about Jane Austen's interesting life.

x___x Aug 22, 2017

I just had to buy this book so I can have it at my side when I next reread Jane Austen's books.

ser_library Jun 03, 2017

thought provoking and some points could be disturbing

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at APL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top