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Lady Susan [Unknown Binding]

Phyllis Ann Karr
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Everest House; 1st ed edition (1980)
  • ASIN: B0006E21KW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
My dear brother, I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted, of spending some weeks with you at Churchill, and therefore if quite convenient to you and Mrs Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Though Lady Susan is considered part of Jane Austen's "juvenilia," having been written ca. 1805, it was not published till well after Jane Austen's death and is still not counted among her "six novels." In fact, this seventh novel, though not as thoughtful or thought-provoking as the "famous six," is one of her wittiest and most spirited. Written in epistolary style, it is the story of Lady Susan, a beautiful, recent widow with no conscience, a woman who is determined to do exactly what she wants to do, to charm and/or seduce any man who appeals to her, and to secure a proper marriage for her teenage daughter, whom she considers both unintelligent and lacking in charm.

Lady Susan, the character, has no redeeming qualities, other than her single-mindedness, and her problems, entirely self-imposed, show the extremes to which an unprincipled woman will go to ensure her own pleasure and ultimately a more secure, comfortable life. As Lady Susan manipulates men, women, and even her young nieces and nephews, her venality knows no bounds, and when she determines that her daughter Frederica WILL marry Sir James, a man who utterly repulses her, Lady Susan's love of power and her willingness to create whatever "truth" best suits her purpose become obvious.

Austen must have had fun writing this novel which "stars" a character who to appears to be her own opposite. While this novel is not a pure "farce," it is closer to that than anything else Austen ever wrote. Containing humor, the satiric depiction of an aristocratic woman of monstrous egotism, her romantic dalliances and comeuppances, and her ability to land on her feet, no matter what obstacles are thrown in her path, the novel is a light comedy in which the manners and morals of the period are shown in sharp relief--Lady Susan vs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novella and Two Unfinished Novels 8 Feb 2010
With an introduction by Margaret Drabble this collection contains the epistolary novella, Lady Susan and two uncompleted novels. Lady Susan is a complete tale but was never published in Austen's lifetime. Possibly the reason for this is that anyone who has read a lot of epistolary novels will know that the genre most definitely has limitations, and some of the devices used to circumvent these limitations can be rather bizarre. Also this type of novel had started to fall out of fashion, thus possibly deciding Austen to leave it in the drawer as it were. Despite all this though, the story is good. Lady Susan tries all her wiles and machinations to ensnare her a new husband now that she is a widower, also she decides who she wants her daughter to marry. Trying to put on a friendly and nice act doesn't always work when people find out about what she is up to, especially as one of the men she captivates is stil married.

The Watsons is the next story in this book, and is a fifty page or so fragment from an uncompleted novel. Emma Watson alas finds herself restricted in who she can marry, due to a lack of funds and that bugbear, pride. The last story is another fragment of about sixty pages and is called Sanditon. Sanditon is a wannabe seaside resort, it could be big as the developers say - after all it is one mile closer to London than Eastbourne. There are those who want to speculate and make money out of this new seaside resort, as well as the ailing hypochondriacs who want to improve their health. Alas Jane dies before she could finish this, which by what is available to us would have promised to have been a great novel, with lots of comedy, also it would have offered an insight to how such places grew and became the resorts that we still know today.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Jane Austen. 11 April 2002
Format:Audio CD
Our capacity to form first impressions was one that Jane Austen examines in all her fiction. Her characters sometimes are shown to form incorrect impressions. Her characters often strive to give false impressions. None of her fictional characters is as preoccupied with setting up a public image in order to gain her own ends as the Lady Susan who gives this novella its name. Lady Susan is the archetypal coquette, the skilled deceiver. She is Thackeray’s Becky Sharp, fifty years before her time.
Jane Austen plays the game of deception with us too. In this novella, which is almost entirely in epistolary form, we form the impression from reading Lady Susan’s first letter, that she is a grieving widow, devoted to the care and education of her 16 year old daughter, and willing at last to accede to her brother-in-law’s pressing invitation to stay with him and his family. Wrong! We too have been duped, as we soon discover.
Jane Austen first drafted several of her novels in epistolary form, that is to say, in the form of letters exchanged by her characters. This one, which may have been the earliest of all her surviving works, alone remained in this form. And great fun it is, although Lady Susan’s contriving and heartlessness, especially in regard to her daughter, sometimes goes beyond the comic to the cruel.
Naxos has added to the fun that this “entertainement” can provide by issuing the novella in audio book form. Seven actors are allocated the parts of the seven letter writers. Furthermore, there is no abridgement of the text, and there are some snatches of music that serve to provide breaks between the letters and indicate the passing of time. Altogether, an ideal production.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
a bit involved
Published 8 days ago by Robert McDowall
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Susan by Jane Austin
It was an interesting concept of a narrative
I enjoyed the letters and was happy with
THE END. I chose it because I like Austin.
5 Star rating.
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
amazing gripping and beautifully written
Published 1 month ago by alice brown
4.0 out of 5 stars ENJOYABLE
Rather confusing to begin with but overall an enjoyable read
Published 1 month ago by Angie
4.0 out of 5 stars not the best quality but
Bought for present, not the best quality but ok
Published 1 month ago by sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Jane Austin did not write any bad books. If you like Jane Austin you will like this
Published 1 month ago by TRISH
3.0 out of 5 stars Lady Susan
Difficult start, but got on better once I had decided who was who. Am great fan of Jane Austen, but this is not in her usual style.
Published 4 months ago by Irene Rindlisbacher
5.0 out of 5 stars A good readand
Written in an unusual form for Jane Austen but so good with so much underlying humour and understatement. Really quite bitchy!
Published 5 months ago by Susan Terry
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this after the novels
It's an OK read but not one of her good successes. I wouldn't read this till after you've read all the other novels.
Published 5 months ago by Janet
3.0 out of 5 stars Letters
An unknown book to .me! Rather confusing at times but an insight was gained into eighteenth century society. Amusing at times
Published 6 months ago by D.C.Butterfield
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