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Why We Read Jane Austen

Review by Arti of Ripple Effects The first challenge you face when writing about Pride and Prejudice is to get through your first sentences without saying, “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” —– Martin Amis Isn’t it true that these words from the clever and satirical opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have been so overused that they have sadly become a cliché in our contemporary language, together with ‘zombies’ and ‘vampires’. So what did I expect from a book entitled A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen? (Buy online at our giftshop!) I admit, at first I thought it was a literary version of those lifetime achievement award presentations, where the honoree is showered with superfluous speeches by his/her peers, over champagne and frivolous dinner, something which Jane Austen herself would abhor. I found out soon enough that between the modest and classic looking covers, Susannah Carson, the editor of the volume, had gathered the essays of 33 writers, not toasts or roasts, but detailed biographical notes, thoughtful musings, heartfelt admiration and in-depth analysis of Austen characters and works. It is a collection of articles stemming from a balanced fusion of sense and sensibility, something that Austen herself would have approved. Included are literary figures from the late 19th to 20th centuries like E. M. Forster, W. Somerset Maugham, C. S. Lewis, Eudora Welty and Virginia Woolf. Contemporary contributors include writers, academics, Austen historian, and screenwriters. There are views from Harold

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