Summer with Austen

I typically summer with Jane Austen.  I am re-reading Persuasion, next to Mansfield Park my favorite of the novels.  But I am also reading Stuart Tave’s brightly commanding Some Words of Jane Austen–one of the best books I have ever read, not just on Austen, but period.  It is a book that could only be written after long, exacting immersion in Austen, but also only after long, exacting immersion in the moral art of common life.  What a book!

Some Words of Jane Austen (Phoenix Books) - Stuart M. Tave

3 responses

  1. I’ve read that book. I remember that I got my copy while Tave was serving as Dean of Humanities at Chicago (which would have been in the late 1980s), on the recommendation of the administrative assistant of the Philosophy Department, who told me that she had typed the manuscript for the author when she was working for the English Department. Ha ha, remember typing up manuscripts?

    Tony Tanner’s book, on the other hand, I found unreadable. What repulsive prose.

    • I disagree with you about Tanner’s prose. While it is not comparable to the tight-turning deftness and grace, the powerful economy of Tave’s, it is a prose I like. It bears comparison to–although it falls well short of–Leavis’ prose.

  2. I remember Tanner was one of few to recognise classic status of Ken Kesey’s “Notion” in his “City of Words” when most US lit was deemed naff & just so lowbrow. Moved on since then nigh 50 years (1971) indeed to current position

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