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Extended Audio Sample A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter Audiobook, by William Deresiewicz Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Deresiewicz Narrator: Sean Pratt, Lloyd James Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781101483541
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • An entertaining and original version of literary criticism—as autobiography. THE SEATTLE TIMES
  • With A Jane Austen Education, Deresiewicz writes with discerning wit and quiet perception about the lessons in friendship, empathy, honesty, happiness, and love he learns from each of Austen's immortal novels. CHICAGO TRIBUNE
  • “[Deresiewicz] writes with wit, charm, and candor, and the result is simply delightful.”

    Associated Press

  • “[Deresiewicz] is charming on the page. He talks about literary characters as if they were real people, and about Austen as if she lived at the end of the block…He does so in a style that comes across as fresh and conversational, like a genuinely witty bibliophile you’d like to talk with at a party.”

    Los Angeles Review of Books

  • “With A Jane Austen Education, Deresiewicz writes with discerning wit and quiet perception about the lessons in friendship, empathy, honesty, happiness, and love he learns from each of Austen’s immortal novels.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “An entertaining and original version of literary criticism—as autobiography.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Like Austen, Deresiewicz is lucid, principled, and knows how to think as well as how to feel, without ever sacrificing one to the other…A delightful and enlightening book.”

    Slate

  • “Sharp, endearingly self-effacing…A profound truth lies embedded in Deresiewicz’s witty account.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • [Deresiewicz] is charming on the page. He talks about literary characters as if they were real people, and about Austen as if she lived at the end of the block…he does so in a style that comes across as fresh and conversational, like a genuinely witty bibliophile you’d like to talk with at a party. LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
  • [Deresiewicz] writes with wit, charm and candor, and the result is simply delightful. ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Sharp, endearingly self-effacing... a profound truth lies embedded in Deresiewicz’s witty account. THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
  • Like Austen, Deresiewicz is lucid, principled and knows how to think as well as how to feel, without ever sacrificing one to the other…. a delightful and enlightening book. —SLATE
  • Selected for the May 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 5/24/2011

    " I was excited to read this book, being about Jane Austen and all, but was a bit disappointed. While I enjoyed it, there was too much Austen critique/summary/study and not enough memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Skye | 5/23/2011

    " I love this book so far! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 5/9/2011

    " Part memoir, part literary criticism, part how- to guide - I loved everything about this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 5/3/2011

    " Would have been five stars except for the JANE EYRE quote that ended the book...especially after he said Austen fans and Bronte fans don't mix "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erika | 5/2/2011

    " I picked this up during a business trip to DC... So far I don't like the author, but that's the point in the beginning. :) "

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About the Author

William Deresiewicz, a contributing writer for the Nation and a contributing editor for the New Republic and the American Scholar, received the 2013 Hiett Prize in the humanities from The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. He was also nominated for National Magazine Awards in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and won the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona A. Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for 2012. An associate professor of English at Yale until 2008, he is the author of the highly acclaimed A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.