Jump to content

The Watsons


Momo
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Watsons - Jane Austen - 1803/1805

Mr. Watson is a widowed clergyman with two sons and four daughters. The youngest daughter, Emma, has been brought up by a wealthy aunt and is consequently better educated and more genteel than her sisters. But when her aunt contracts a foolish second marriage, Emma is obliged to return to her father's house. There she is chagrined by the crude and reckless husband-hunting of two of her twentysomething sisters. She finds the sardonic wit of her eldest and most responsible sister, Elizabeth, more attractive.

 

Living near the Watsons are the Osbornes, a great titled family. Emma attracts some notice from the boorish and awkward young Lord Osborne, while one of her sisters plaintively pursues Lord Osborne's arrogant, social-climbing friend, Tom Musgrave. Various minor characters provide potential matches for Emma's brothers and sisters.

 

Mr. Watson is seriously ill in the opening chapters, and it is clear that Austen intended for him to die in the course of the work. Emma would apparently reject consequence for comfort in marrying the Osbornes' frank and virtuous young tutor.

 

Jane Austen only wrote 17,000 words of this novel. The question is, why did she quit writing such a wonderful book? It could quite possibly have been that the sudden death of her father caused her to put it on hold, and then she forgot it. Nobody quite knows the real reason, though. This is only a speculation.

Being a huge Austen fan, I just had to read this even though it is an unfinished copy. At the end, there is a short summary of what Jane Austen told her sister how she would have wanted to finish the novel.

 

I quite agree with the writer of the quote that this would have been a wonderful piece of work, certainly just as good as her other great novels. It is so sad that she didn't live longer to write more fantastic stories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being a huge Austen fan, I just had to read this even though it is an unfinished copy. At the end, there is a short summary of what Jane Austen told her sister how she would have wanted to finish the novel.

 

 

The one I have has been "finished" by someone else, which is what made me buy it - I was intrigued and had to see how successful this could be.

I haven't got back to it yet, but I hope to do so this week!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My version was finished by Merryn Williams in 2005. (ISBN 1-904754-93-7)

It's published by Pen Press, which I've just discovered is a vanity outfit.

 

I've not got to the new bit yet, and I'm very wary. I bought it out of curiosity as much as anything.

 

I'm enjoying it so far, but I don't think it's up there with her finished stuff. I find the characters a bit flat compared to my favourites. It's a bit racy too - Tom Musgrave falling down drunk on their lawn, Margaret throwing herself at him, Lady Osborne having an affair ... is this really Austen??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a bit racy too - Tom Musgrave falling down drunk on their lawn, Margaret throwing herself at him, Lady Osborne having an affair ... is this really Austen??

 

Ooh that doesn't sound at all like the fragment I read. As far as I can remember the fragment of The Watsons is really very small and only has one or two scenes. The trip into town and the dance, and then a typical washing day at the Watsons in which the family is introduced.

 

I also read a finished version which had been 're-written' by Joan Aiken using the same characters and ideas from the original manuscript but I can't say I enjoyed it. It wasn't in the same league as her novel "Jane Fairfax" based on Emma.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm enjoying it so far, but I don't think it's up there with her finished stuff. I find the characters a bit flat compared to my favourites. It's a bit racy too - Tom Musgrave falling down drunk on their lawn, Margaret throwing herself at him, Lady Osborne having an affair ... is this really Austen??
I don't think so since this was not in the part that I read. In my copy there is just the dance, more or less and the next morning. So whatever you read must be from the follow-up author. That's why I would prefer to read the one written by her niece (looked it up in the meantime), at least that would be more her time (the niece lived from 1818-1877) and she might have talked to her sister about it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I have a 1958 edition completed by John Coates.

 

It's not too bad, and the characters stay true to what JA could have written.

 

It isn't available, except at some special places. I bought it at Abe, I think that's the name, it was so long ago, I forget.

 

The language is good too - not JA of course, but not too non-JA.

I enjoyed it very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Harriet
      I've seen the BBC adaptation about 3 times, but each time I try to read the book I get distracted about half-way through, so I've read the first half about 4 times, but I've never actually finished it. From what I've read though, I think the BBC adaptation is really well done (I've seen old + new) and does the book justice (the old one more, I think).
    • By Momo
      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.
      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)
    • By Krey20
      -----------------------------------------------------15th January 2007, 04:29 PM
       
      Momo
      Subscriber and Permanent Resident
       
      Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - 1811
       
       
      I cannot believe there is no thread here - with so many Austen fans!
      I loved this novel, as I love all of Jane Austen's books. What it makes so remarkable and still interesting today is the description of the different sisters and how they cope with the problems society puts them through.
      People still are more an Elinor or a Marianne, sometimes you have to be one or the other, sometimes you can be both.
      A great book! Read it! And discuss it here.
       
      ----------------------------------------------------17th January 2007, 09:48 AM
       
      Red Fox
      Member
       
      I have read Sense and Sensibility a couple of times, and am quite disconcerted now to realise that when I think back on it, I'm actually thinking of the Emma Thompson film rather than the book. Maybe I should read it again, just to be sure
       
      Having said that, I have always enjoyed the book and I love the story. I am more of an Elinor than a Marianne myself and that's fine by me, as she definitely gets the better ending! The ending of the book I thought a little disappointing, almost hurried and wished there was more detail.
       
      I read somewhere (possibly in the synopsis in The Jane Austen Book Club) that Marianne
       
       
       
       
      ----------------------------------------------------17th January 2007, 03:53 PM
       
      Momo
      Subscriber and Permanent Resident
       
       
      I think that happens to a lot of us. It is just so much quicker to watch a movie than re-reading a book and if you love the story ...
      Anyway, I quite agree with your point.
       
       
       
       
      ----------------------------------------------------17th January 2007, 05:29 PM
       
      minxminnie
      Subscriber
       
      My favourite character in this novel is Mr Palmer. I love his dry wit and barely concealed disgust for his wittering wife. Hugh Laurie was fantastic casting in the film - an early rehearsal for the part of House MD!
      My favourite line from my recent viewing of the film version:
      Mrs P :"Oh no! It can't be five miles! I can't believe it is five miles!!"
      Mr P : "Try."
       
      ----------------------------------------------------17th January 2007, 07:49 PM
       
      Momo
      Subscriber and Permanent Resident
       
       
       
      Oh, yes! I loooove that. And his look when she crumbles his newspaper! I think if the whole movie was rubbish, it would still be worth it for those scenes. (I think Imelda Staunton as his wife is great, too.)
       
      ----------------------------------------------------18th January 2007, 04:06 PM
       
      Red Fox
      Member
       
      I think Jane Austen excelled that those dippy characters, like Mrs Palmer, Mrs Bennett, Mr Collins, Miss Bates.
       
      ----------------------------------------------------20th January 2007, 05:03 PM
       
      Amanda Grange
      Subscriber
       
      The second attachment theme is interesting in S&S. Of the four main characters, only Elinor ends up with her first choice. The others end up with - and are happy to end up with - their second attachments. Ironically, Elinor is the character who expressly says that she believes second attachments can be happy.
    • By Seraphina
      **Spoilers** Be warned! (would have used the cool spoiler tag but pretty much the whole post is for people who have already read the book)
       
      I've just finished re-reading Mansfield Park and I'm having dilemmas over the whole Fanny/Edmund/Henry thing! I find the ending quite unsatisfactory, but I can't put my finger on why.....I'm not sure I wanted Fanny to marry Edmund, I almost feel like she should have married Henry, but I'm not sure that would have been satisfactory either...I'm confused!
       
      Does Edmund really love Fanny or is he just settling for second best? Does Fanny only love Edmund because he's the only person who has constantly made her feel special throughout her life? Is she grateful rather than in love? (although SHE obviously believes she's in love, is she mistaken?).
       
      Austen implies that, had Henry not run off with Maria and Mary's character subsequently been revealed to Edmund that Mary and Edmund would have married and Henry would have eventually won Fanny over. Would this have been a happier ending for Fanny or not?
       
      I remember hating Fanny Price the first time I read Mansfield Park, but I have to admit she grew on me a little bit, and I don't hate her so much as I'm exasperated with her. I kept picturing the wee woman with the funny glasses that never speaks in that tv show Teachers! She's a bit annoying but I did want her to be happy and I'm not sure her marriage with Edmund will be so.
       
      What do other people think? I only finished it about 20 minutes ago so all the issues are pretty fresh in my mind and I haven't consolidated my ideas yet. The whole marriage thing comes pretty quickly at the end, doesn't really give you a chance to reflect! Obviously having read it before I knew what to expect but I couldn't remember how it came about. Edmund's attachment seems a little sudden - he thinks of her in a seemingly a-sexual, sisterly way for 99% of the novel, so it's a little hard to accept when he decides he actually loves her as a wife!
       
      So will Fanny and Edmund be happy?
    • By Momo
      Emma - Jane Austen - 1816
      She might be right there. However, there is something likeable in Emma, after all. She is rather selfish and starts a lot of different things only to abandon them later but she means well with other people. She might be too intelligent for her time, women were not supposed to think.Emma is the Jane Austen's only heroine without money problems, that's already a difference to her other novels. Maybe that's what makes it so interesting.
       
      (thread first started 15.01.07)
×
×
  • Create New...