Your Austen Library ~ ‘A Jane Austen Education’


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.

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

ISBN 9781594202889
272 pages
Release date: 28 Apr 2011
The Penguin Press:  available in hardover for $25.95;  ebook / adobe reader for $12.99

About the author:   

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.

Text From the  publisher’s website:  Penguin Press

Deresiewicz also authored Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets  (Columbia UP, 2005)

He will be conducting a blog tour as follows:  info from TLC Book Tours]

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont

4 thoughts on “Your Austen Library ~ ‘A Jane Austen Education’

  1. Thanks for the heads up, Deb. I’ve been following W.D.’s articles in The American Scholar for a few years now, but this is the first time I actually see his photo… I’m surprised that he’s so young. This is a must-read for me. I’ve already placed a hold on it in my local library. Great post!


    • Hi Arti! – I have his JA and the Romantic Poets which includes a picture, so I have seen him before – I do see he writes for the American Scholar – I am much looking forward to reading this latest Austen book – l would love to hear your thoughts after you have read it…
      Thanks for stopping by Arti,


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