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Jane Austen for Beginners (For Beginners), by Robert G. Dryden with illustrations by Joe Lee

Jun. 18, 2012
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Two hundred years have passed since Jane Austen first saw print and, with the aid of the newer media of film and television, her novels are more popular than ever. Hillyer College English professor Robert Dryden investigates the phenomenon in Jane Austen for Beginners, a commendably succinct guide to all things essential about the author. In summarizing her life and work, Dryden explains her enduring popularity with the public through the timeless difficulty of finding romance and a good match in the same person—especially in a society obsessed with status and wealth. Academics relish Austen for her acute observations on social, class, economic and gender issues. With her cast of smart young women navigating the prickly hedges of male-dominated England, Austen was also, as Dryden insists, “a precursor to the modern-day feminist.”

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