Book of the Month: April 2018

The Spirituality of Jane Austen by Paula Hollingsworth

This is a lovely little book that will be of interest to readers of Jane Austen old and new. Anyone interested in the history of spirituality (a word that Paula Hollingsworth is quick to point out would be alien to Jane Austen, at least in its modern usage) will also find this in an interesting and engaging book. I’m sure after reading you will be picking up the novels again, or perhaps for the first time.

Paula effectively leads the reader on a journey through Jane Austen’s life and her development as a writer. Starting off with an overview of Jane Austen’s life, incorporating useful information about the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries. She then examines the novels in detail picking out the strong moral themes and spiritual messages contained within.

As this book makes clear the Christian nature of Austen’s life and work, although not blatant, is everywhere to be seen in her novels (some more obviously than others). But not only in her novels. The inherently Christian nature of her life and characters are reinforced throughout this book. The inclusion of some of Austen’s quite profound and touching prayers, especially in light of her early death, remind the reader that there was far more to this eighteenth century woman her novels.

This book although highly accessible to a casual reader of Jane Austen, or anyone with a passing interest in spirituality, is packed full of insights and facts that the most avid Austen scholar may well have missed or under appreciated.

All in all a wonderful addition to any reader’s bookcase!

Reviewed by Lynette White, Duty Manager at Sarum College and PhD candidate in History at Birkbeck

The Spirituality of Jane Austen is just £8.50 until 30th April 2018 (RRP £9.99). Available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@sarum.ac.uk.

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