Friday, December 31, 2010

Sandition and Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Sandition by Jane Austen
Written by Austen in 1817 but never completed

What a shame that Austen passed away before she could complete this book.  Within months of her death, she was still able to bring something new to a story and not lose a bit of her trademark wit.  This is the story of the development of a town by some of it's wealthier inhabitants.  Once again there are the characters and situations fans of Austen are so fond of--the wealthy widow and those that fawn over her, much gossiping, and great fun at the expense of the upper class.  At a mere 58 pages, it was over much too quickly.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Published in 1871 but probably written much earlier

Lady Susan is a much different character than any other written by Austen.  A selfish widow who is looking to find both herself and her daughter a husband, Lady Susan is also carrying on an affair with a married man.  Certainly moral character has been an issue with other Austen characters, but Lady Susan is in a class by herself.  She has no redeeming features.  She is a cold mother, greedy, manipulative--in short, she's a fascinating character.  Austen must have felt a little sorry for Lady Susan, though, not being nearly as hard on her in the end as she was with later characters

Whew--in a week of Austen, I have raced to the finish of the Everything Austen Challenge just in time.  And without one single movie this time.  Although I'm disappointed not have have read any more of the novels.  Next year!

8 comments:

  1. I agree with you - this was a different Austen.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read. I have not heard of this one before.

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  3. Though I'm not a particularly huge Austen fan, I'd be curious to see how Austen writes and embodies a character she herself does not seem to like very much...

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  4. I have heard a lot about Lady Susan in the last year, and loving Austen as I do, I need to check this one out. She does indeed sound very different than Austen's other characters! Happy New Year to you! I look forward to getting to know you even better in 2011!

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  5. I need to get copies of these two to add to my library and like you..next year I swear I will read Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park!

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  6. Often overlooked, Lady Susan is a gem. I can't wait for a movie adaptation. It has great potential.

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  7. I'm a big Lady Susan fan, though I confess to enjoying listening to it more than reading it. If you ever get the chance to listen to the audio version with Harriet Walter reading the part of Lady Susan, indulge in it--it's priceless.

    I find Sanditon so poignant because of Austen's condition when she wrote her last words of fiction.

    Glad you were able to read these two--they serve as bookends of Austen's fiction.

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  8. I thought Lady Susan's letters were funny, and it was nice to see a "heroine" who was pretty wicked. Sanditon had so much potential, and I'm glad I read it even thought it was never finished and cuts off so abruptly.

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