Sunday 18 December 2011

Sunday Salon - A few Review type Bits and Bobs...

This weekend has been great. My family have been here since Friday night and have been helping decorate the house and suchlike. We've basically been watching movies, playing board games, and having a giggle, but now they are gone and the house is quiet and I am watching Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which is awesome. The Christmas tree lights are on, we've been eating individually wrapped chocolates out of a tin, and I'm starting to feel a bit festive (and bloated).

In the spirit of Advent with Austen, I've been reading many Jane Austen related things in the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure why, but I've not finished a lot. I started Lady Susan/The Watsons/ Sanditon last week, and I've finished the first two but not the last, and halfway through Sanditon I got distracted by Jane Austen Made Me Do It, a collection of short stories inspired by Austen, which I've been reading for the past week and also have yet to finish.  

I'm still unsure of what I felt about Lady Susan. It was written early on but Austen never submitted it for publication, and it was only after her death that her nephew decided it was an important enough part of her legacy that the general public should have access to it. It is written in letter format, and although it is of course well -written, for me it lacked the empathy and depth of character usually present in Austen's novels.

The ambitious Lady Susan Vernon, notorious flirt, scandalous lady, recently widowed, escapes from an unfortunate liaison with a married man to stay with her brother and disapproving sister in law. Reginald De Courcy, Mrs Vernon's brother also comes to stay, fully prepared to be horrified by Lady Susan, but soon succumbs to her manipulative ways.When Lady Susan's young daughter, Frederica is also brought to the house, relationships become strained and tensions run high.

Because of the letter format, I didn't get any of the sense of immediate action that's usually present in Austen - it was much more removed than that. Everything that happened was only learned about after it had taken place, and so didn't feel as gripping. I also didn't personally connect with any of the characters. In every other one of Austen's novels there have been characters I really loved - Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and even despite Austen herself thinking nobody would like her, Emma Woodhouse - but in Lady Susan there was nobody. The title character was a completely scheming and manipulative, and her lack of feeling for her own daughter at times completely disgusted me. There wasn't really a character that I particularly cared about and I can see why Austen didn't think it was good enough for publication. I still enjoyed reading it, but not as much as I did The Watsons, which I was really disappointed about finishing, because it's really only the first fragment of a story.

Anyway, mini- review I know, but pretty much all I have to say about these. Since finishing Persuasion, I've now read all six of Austen's completed novels, and I do want to finish Sanditon, because I think that her unfinished works are really interesting in terms of what more she could have achieved had she lived longer.

Anyway, this post has taken me so long to write that Mr Magorium has finished, and I'm now watching Star Trek with the hubby. Hope your Christmas preparations are all going well and that the week ahead isn't too stressful. Relax, read, and enjoy. Happy Sunday, everybody!

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