Essential Austen: Kirstin Olsen’s “All Things Austen”

Kirstin Olsen’s 2-volume work titled “All Things Austen” was published in 2005 and sells for $157.95 at Greenwood Publishing and at Amazon for the same, and not much less on any of the used book sites [but please note that Greenwood is at present having a sale on this 2-vol. set for $110. + shipping and taxes, so this is worth a look]

…so it is a with pleasure that I see that the paperback concise edition is in pre-release at Greenwood for $29.95 (available 10/30/08)…it was released in the UK on 8/30/08 and can be ordered on [see to order]; it is available on for pre-order, and also already available on several of the used book sites.  


Here is the product description of the softcover edition from Greenwood Publishing (see the listing for the hardcover edition for that description, as well as numerous reviews).  

 Willoughby (Sense and Sensibility) drives a curricle not a gig – what does this say about him? Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) and Fanny’s brother William (Mansfield Park) follow the ‘King’s Service’ at sea – what sort of life did they find there? Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Pride and Prejudice) is called Lady Catherine, not Lady de Bourgh – what does this very important distinction signify? Abridged from the critically acclaimed All Things Austen (Greenwood, 2005), this similarly formatted encyclopedia takes readers from the works of Jane Austen into her universe. More than 70 alphabetically arranged entries provide rich and fascinating historical details on the form and function of everyday and obscure objects that are mentioned in her novels. A selection of illustrations accompany the lively and often humorous entries that bring her fiction to life. Jane Austen’s first readers would have needed no help in understanding references to their everyday lives. But early nineteenth-century card games, dining habits, social etiquette, occupations and dozens of other topics are not immediately clear to her readers nearly two hundred years later. In this encyclopedia, students and devotees of Jane Austen will become familiar with what her characters ate, wore and did for recreation. Impeccably researched information is presented about domestic items, the social scene, the workplace, the church, special events and rituals, and everyday customs that constituted life in Jane Austen’s England. Included are entries on:          

  • Bath                                                                                                                   
  • Cards
  • Carriages and Coaches
  • Clergy
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Hats
  • Navy
  • Music
  • Servants
  • Tea
  • Teeth
  • West Indies
  • And Many More

Readers can find citations of specific works by Austen, or they can look up terms or concepts. A bibliography arranged according to broad subjects lists major works for further reading.

 I have not seen this new concise edition to compare the books and see what was left on the cutting room floor, but will let you know as soon as I get a copy and can review the book for you … but what I do know that this is an “essential Austen” title, without any doubt…

Further Reading:  see the review by Carrie Bebris of the 2-volume edition in the Spring 2006 JASNA News.

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