I thought I knew Jane Austen's stories. I thought I understood everything that was going one. Certainly I knew enough to enjoy her books. But recently I met a book that took my understanding of Jane Austen's books to a whole new level.
Recently Mum bought Charlotte a book about manners in the time of Jane Austen. Charlotte, being the dedicated Janite she is, at once read it from cover to cover.
"You have to read it," she told me afterwards. "It's really good."
"Of course I'll read it...later."
And so, the book waited until this holidays, when I decided that I had better read it, and find out why it was so good.
I sat down with the book and opened its stiff, white cover. The first thing that jumped out at me was the beautiful watercolour illustrations. Then, as I started to read, I became lost in the writing. All forms of manners were addressed in the book, accompanied by the worst 'Blunders' and various quotes both from Jane Austen's books and her letters.
The book gave me a whole new insight into the world of Jane Austen's books. Suddenly I realised why Lydia and Kitty's chasing the soldiers was so improper, why Mr Collins didn't have good manners, and why, when Marianne Dashwood wrote to Mr Willoughby, her family all thought she was engaged.
Jane Austen's Guide To Good Manners is a must read for any true Janite who wants to fully understand the intricate social manners of the regency period.
Charlotte also wrote a post on this subject for those who are interested.
Which of Jane Austen's books have you read? Have you read any good books about her life and writings? Have you ever read Jane Austen's Guide To Good Manners?