Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Love and Freindship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen


Love and Friendship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen
Published January 2015 by Penguin Publishing Group
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary:
Jane Austen’s earliest writing dates from when she was just eleven-years-old, and already shows the hallmarks of her mature work. But it is also a product of the times in which she grew up—dark, grotesque, often surprisingly bawdy, and a far cry from the polished, sparkling novels of manners for which she became famous. Drunken heroines, babies who bite off their mothers’ fingers, and a letter-writer who has murdered her whole family all feature in these highly spirited pieces. This edition includes all of Austen’s juvenilia, including her “History of England” and the novella Lady Susan, in which the anti-heroine schemes and cheats her way through high society.

My Thoughts:
When I finished Northanger Abbey, the last of Jane Austen's novels for me to read, it was hard to imagine that I would never be able to read another novel written with her particular flair and sass. What's a girl to do when her favorite writer has been dead for hundreds of years? The answer is: wait for someone to collect all of her early writings so you can enjoy watching Austen progress from the very simplest of stories and as she developed her style and sharpened her wit.

From early on, Austen has a capacity for parody and wealthy were already one of her targets. As were foolish lovers. And fools of any ilk - and there tended to be more fools than not in her early pieces. Perhaps an indication that her early writings were intended solely to amuse her family. Austen also developed an early mastery for the art of miscommunication and misunderstanding, which particularly shown in an epistolary piece.

This collection ranges from very early pieces to her unfinished adult work, Lady Susan, and include some unfinished work and bits of correspondence. The book also contains an early poem by Austen, textual notes, a chronology, contextual notes, and an introduction by Christine Alexander. It's a treasure trove for Austenites! It was the perfect nightstand book (and I'm not sure it's something you could read straight through) and a keeper.

8 comments:

  1. This looks fascinating! I definitely know a few people who would love this as a gift and I think I might have to get myself a copy!

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    1. It's a lovely addition to an Austenite's collection!

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  2. I just added this one to my wish list. :-) I really need to continue reading Jane Austen's books. I recently downloaded the audio version of Pride and Prejudice narrated by Rosamund Pike. I've read the book several times, but haven't yet listened to it.

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    1. I heard that the Rosamund Pike audiobook was really good. Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

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  3. It was hard for me to physically read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but I loved the Keira Knightley movie version. I did listen to the book on Livibox and it was enjoyable. I plan to listen to a few of her other novels on YouTube as well.

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    1. Austen's books are, like all books of that time, heavy on description which is hard for readers now. Readers of that time would have expected to spend a lot more time reading a book than we are usually willing to commit to.

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  4. I'm fond of Austen's Juvenilia myself and Lady Susan is a favorite--if you ever get the opportunity to listen to the audio version with Harriet Walter as Lady S. sieze it, it's my preferred way to "read" this work.

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    1. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it!

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