Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon" by Jane Austen

I decided to round out my year of reading Jane Austen by reading her unfinished works too.  My mom gave me this collection for my birthday, and I managed to polish it off over the last couple of weeks.

I liked "Lady Susan" the least of these three -- it is finished, while the other two aren't, but I didn't like any of the characters, especially not Lady Susan herself, who is particularly disagreeable.  I enjoy the epistolary format as a whole, so that didn't bother me.  It concerns the selfish, wanton Lady Susan who spends the whole book trying to marry her daughter off to a rich, foolish man that her daughter despises.

I liked "The Watsons" the best, for it had characters I genuinely cared about and wanted to get to know better.  It seemed to be following a plot line similar to Pride and Prejudice, with an unwealthy family's daughters catching the eye of men of more money and position.  We do at least know how that one would have turned out, thanks to Jane Austen telling her sister Cassandra her plans for the novel.

"Sanditon" reminded me more of Emma, with a whole host of hypochandriacal characters similar to Mr. Woodhouse.  It's not long enough for its heroine to really gain shape, and was the least satisfying read, since there's no record of how Jane Austen intended it to end.  Here's something funny:  for years, I thought the title was "Sandition" -- it wasn't until I started reading this book that I noticed it only has one 'i.'  Silly me.

This is my last book review here on Hamlette's Soliloquy -- from now on, they'll be on The Edge of the Precipice.  I'll still be talking about movies and everything else that strikes my fancy here, though.

2 comments:

  1. I like "Sanditon." The edition I've read, though, was finished by 'Another Lady' who remains anonymous...it's available on Amazon, I'm sure. A fun book, though not QUITE Jane Austen's. :) I haven't actually gotten ahold of "The Watsons" yet, but intend to someday. And as to "Lady Susan"...we own it, but I don't think I've ever read the whole thing. It's never caught me much. Oh well.

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    Replies
    1. I'll have to see if I can find the finished version of "Sanditon" -- sometimes last novels finished by others can be fun. My favorite author, Raymond Chandler, left a book called "Poodle Springs" that someone else finished nicely.

      "Lady Susan" is tiresome. Only read it if you want to be "complete" about reading everything.

      "The Watsons" is sweet, but not brilliant.

      I received the Juvenilia for Christmas, and am quite looking forward to reading all that too.

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