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Lady Susan

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Lady Susan - Jane Austen - 1795

 

I know this is not a very large book, but I read it a while ago and thought I would mention it here.

Although the primary focus of this short novel is the selfish behavior of Lady Susan as she engages in affairs and searches for suitable husbands for herself and her young daughter, the actual action shares its importance with Austen’s manipulation of her characters' behavior by means of their reactions to the letters that they receive. The heroine adds additional interest by altering the tone of her own letters based on the recipient of the letter. Thus, the character of Lady Susan is developed through many branches as Austen suggests complications of identity and the way in which that identity is based on interaction rather than on solitary constructions of personality. Lady Susan’s character is also built by the descriptions of the other letter-writers; but even though their opinions of this heroine coincide with the image that develops from her own letters, Austen demonstrates the subjectivity of the opinions by presenting them – primarily – in the letters of one woman to another, thereby suggesting the established literary motifs of feminine gossip and jealousy. Readers recognize these subjective motifs and examine all of the idiosyncrasies of the characters in order to create their own opinion of Lady Susan – as they would of any real acquaintance.
Jane Austen never really finished this book. But - though it has an end, she just never refined her work. I would have loved to see this as a complete novel, I'm sure it would have been one of her very good ones.

 

(thread first started 15.01.07)

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The answer:

 

minxminnie 15th January 2007 05:41 PM

Thanks for this, Momo! While teaching some Austen a few years ago, I bought this in a volume with Sanditon, but I never got around to reading it. I will put it on my TBR pile right now!

 

There is still space for more answers. ;)

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Hilary mentioned Lady Susan in the post about Northanger Abbey, and I wondered if anyone had read this book by Jane Austen.

 

What do you all think about it?

 

Does the novel in the form of letters disturb anyone?

It was the first time I read a novel written this way, and it was quite an interesting way to tell a story, i thought.

 

Of course, it is also an easier way to convey what each character is thinking.

 

Lady Susan, the main character turns out to be an antagonist rather than the expected protagonist.She's sooooo, soooo horrible :D

And that Reginald - how can anyone be so stupid?

 

All in all I quite enjoyed it especially for its novelty.

I'd love to hear what others think of it. :)

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