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John Mullan (1) (1958–)

Teoksen What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved tekijä

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10+ teosta 901 jäsentä 30 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

John Mullan is a professor of English at University College London and the author of How Novels Work. He writers a popular column on fiction for the Guardian, and has served as a judge for the Man Booker Prize Mullan lectures widely on Jane Austen around the world.
Image credit: John Mullan

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

Järki ja tunteet (1811) — Toimittaja, eräät painokset38,269 kappaletta
Lyrical Ballads (1798) — Toimittaja, eräät painokset1,141 kappaletta
Helen (1834) — Johdanto, eräät painokset143 kappaletta
Jane Austen in context (2005) — Avustaja — 86 kappaletta
Persuasions 35: The Jane Austen Journal (2013) (2013) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


London, England, UK
Downside School, Somerset, England, UK
Cambridge University (King's College)
professor of English (University College London)
newspaper columnist (weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian)
University College London (professor of English)
The Guardian (columnist)
University of Cambridge
Lyhyt elämäkerta
John Mullan is a professor in the English deparment at University College London. He write the Guardian Book Club column on fiction, and frequently appears on the BBC. He was a judge of the Best of the Booker Prize in 2008, and a judge of the Booker Prize itself in 2009. He has taught Austen to univesity students for over a quarter of a century, and lectures widely to Austen lover in both the UK and U.S. [from What Matters in Jane Austen? (2013)]



What a great little book! I wouldn't say it's 20 crucial puzzles, and I don't think much is getting solved - but I do think these are 20 great little essays on topics in Jane Austen's books, obviously written with knowledge, respect, and great love. Definitely best if you already read at least Austen's six completed novels and maybe even [b:Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon|208729|Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon|Jane Austen|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1371223264l/208729._SY75_.jpg|1890744] Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon, if you're very determined.
I know for sure I'll go back to everything she wrote with more insight and admiration. Very much looking forward to that!
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Yggie | 23 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 12, 2023 |
I really enjoyed this. Mullan takes different topics, techniques, etc. and talks about how Austen used them throughout her novels. I gained a lot of insight into her writing and will notice these as I reread her novels.

Here are some of my favorite topics discussed. In "What do the Characters Call Each Other", there was some great insight into the meaning behind using first names, or last names only, or titles. He also points out what couples call each other. All of these are tied in to how Austen sets up plot points or characterizations. In "Why is the Weather Important", Mullan points out how Austen uses the weather to set a mood and also as a plot device - sometimes bring characters together and sometimes keeping them apart. In "Do we Ever See the Lower Classes" he points out that even when servants aren't named, much of the behavior of the main characters is influenced by their presence, which contemporary readers of Austen would have felt more deeply than modern readers do. "What do characters say when the heroine isn't there?" contrasts the different novels in terms of how present the main heroine is and how that presence or point of view shapes the novel.

I also loved "Which important characters never speak in the novels" and the final two "When Does Jane Austen speak directly to the reader" and "How experimental a novelist is Jane Austen?" which spend some time placing her in comparison to other authors and analyzing the novelty and innovation of her writing technique.

Overall, I really loved this and I could see dipping into again at some point. Only recommended for someone very familiar with Austen's novels, though. Mullan assumes you'll remember all the scenes and characters that he throws into every essay without giving any background.
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japaul22 | 23 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 23, 2023 |
Last year at the Jane Austen Festival I happened upon the tail end of a presentation in the main tent and regretted that I hadn't been there for the whole thing. It was by this author, John Mullan, and he was quizzing the audience about certain obscure details in Jane Austen's novels. It was very interesting. After reading his book now, I feel like there are a couple of things I may notice more than before when next I read JA.
The most interesting thing is to realize that Austen was a pioneer of a new technique in fiction, which came to be called free indirect style. This is one of the things that always delighted me, but I didn't know it had a name. It's where the third person narration temporarily takes on the viewpoint or even communication style of one character. It's no longer the omniscient, objective voice: it's as if the author is inhabiting the mind of one of her characters and reporting things ONLY from that person's mental processes. It's fun to spot, because it's never pointed out that this is what's happening.

But there are other subjects worth considering, for instance, the high value placed on reading. We bemoan the fact today that people don't read, but many chose not to in Austen's day as well, and this is seen as a major personality component, something that might even be part of compatibility in marriage.
Anyway, it's a good, well researched work that provides some food for thought for those who know their Austen inside and out.
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Alishadt | 23 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 25, 2023 |
What was true of Pablo Picasso was also true of Charles Dickens. When you know what you're doing, breaking all the rules can actually work in your favor.

John Mullan makes this point in “The Artful Dickens: The Tricks and Ploys of the Great Novelist” (2020), a scholarly book that will appeal equally to anyone who values Dickens novels.

Writers aren't supposed to repeat the same words in the same paragraph. Dickens did this again and again and again. Writers should avoid cliches. Dickens used them like they were going out of style. Writers shouldn't switch tenses. Dickens does.

Mullen gives countless examples of the great British writer's passion for making lists. Because his novels have so many characters and because they were originally printed in monthly installments, Dickens used unique names and unusual speech patterns to help readers remember those characters.

Why do so many people drown or nearly drown in Dickens novels? Mullen explores this phenomenon. Why does he write so much about the sense of smell? Why are there so many ghosts? How does Dickens so often use the phrase "as if" to his advantage?

Unlikely coincidences are often a turnoff for serious readers, yet Dickens used then often, and his novels are still taught in college courses. Charles Dickens got away with a lot of supposedly unforgivable sins. Mullen gives us so many examples that his book sometimes becomes tedious — another unforgivable sin — yet in the end it helps those who appreciate Dickens to appreciate him all the more.
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hardlyhardy | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 17, 2023 |


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