Study Guide

Austenland What's Up With the Title?

By Shannon Hale

What's Up With the Title?

Austen-tacious

Austenland. It lets you know exactly what you're getting into: a world where Jane Austen is the be-all, end-all. The novel begins with a line that mimics the famous first line of Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little. (Prologue.1)

Set on a Jane Austen themed resort, there are tons of Austen references sprinkled throughout this book. A character even alludes to Pride and Prejudice's original title, First Impressions, when he says:

Can you tell me that within the first few moments of knowing each person in this room, you had not formed firm judgments of their character, which up to this very moment you have not questioned? (4.111)

There are sly in-jokes about Austen, too, like when Jane observes:

She understood why Austen often left these [small talk] conversations up to the narrator and spared the reader the grotesquerie of having to follow it word by word. (10.29)

While the novel doesn't entirely capture Jane Austen's timeless voice, it does a good job of transporting us into her world. Please check your seatback container for any personal belongings, as we will be deplaning shortly; we have arrived in Austenland.