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Old 08-11-2018, 07:26 PM
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Wise Words from Jane Austen: A Coloring Book for Adults

This has just been published and is available for US$5.99 and the equivalent in other currencies.

I've been working on it for about two years, on and off. The thing about Jane Austen is that she was not really prone to producing tidy little bits of sentimental advice. There's plenty of advice in her work---but it's nearly always artistically hewn out of a forest of irony, so to speak. Austen is never obvious and never un-subtle.

As I said in the introduction to the book:

Jane Austen’s immortal works are many things to many people—but one thing they are not, is a source of generic sentiment. Her ‘wise words’ are often deployed not straightforwardly, but ironically. (Irony is seldom absent from Jane Austen’s writing.) Austen used a particular technique for demonstrating the hypocrisy of her less-pleasant characters: she would have them speak ‘wise words’ while committing actions opposite to those wise words. They speak actually-good advice while conducting themselves badly.

For example: “without music, life would be a blank to me” is spoken in Emma by the pretentious and domineering Mrs. Elton, who exhibits no actual appreciation for music. She merely wants to be seen by others as being a music lover. Yet the remark itself is one that might well be uttered by a genuine devotee.

Another example: “Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody” is spoken in Mansfield Park by Mrs. Norris. This disagreeable character mistreats her niece Fanny Price out of snobbery. Austen wants us to notice the emphasis on the “without further expense” part of the remark. But the overall sense of the remark can certainly qualify as wise—even though spoken by a character we don’t much like.
So the twenty-one 'wise words' I decided to use were ones that could not reasonably be illustrated by pictures of the characters standing there speaking them--that would have been wholly misleading. Instead, I took the sense of the words and illustrated that, using a combination of period sources, adapted for a coloring book.

As with the previous two entries in the series, I employed some shades of grey, to provide modeling and dimensionality:

This time I made a greater effort to include a lot of white on the pages, but there is still a bit of grey, as can be seen here.

All the 'wise words' are from Austen's writings. That should go without saying--- but try looking at any quotations site; the fake quotes sometimes outnumber the real ones. ( is pretty good at ferreting these out. Except in the case of the quotes from Austen letters, which I looked at online, I used my own copies of the novels to verify the selections I ended up using.)

Amazon says the Look Inside feature should be up any time, now, so additional pages can be inspected (more if you're signed in).

Thread on my books (inexpensive gifts!)


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