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Mapp and Lucia (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 1 Jul 2004


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Mapp and Lucia (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Complete Mapp & Lucia: Volume One (Wordsworth Classics) + The Complete Mapp & Lucia: Volume Two (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics; New Ed edition (1 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141187689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141187686
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Sparkles with wicked wit." --"Sunday Times" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Battle is joined! Relish the underhand schemes and plots that unfold as Lucia vyes with Miss Mapp for social dominion over the town of Tilling. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Though it was nearly a year since her husband's death, Emmeline Lucas (universally known to her friends as Lucia) still wore the deepest and most uncompromising mourning. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tyke VINE VOICE on 29 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first I found the Mapp and Lucia books disappointing, if not tarsome. They seemed like pale watercolours when compared to the vivid and breezy strokes of Wodehouse's Wooster, so I confess that the popularity of Benson's two gently warring ladies was a mystery.

Perseverance however paid off and addiction followed. The rivalry between Elizabeth Mapp and Emmeline Lucas (Lucia) is very subtle and the eccentricities of the characters who encircle them seem at first trite, but then become delicious, even outrageous, given the time in which the books were published.

In this book, Mapp and Lucia, each being central to the social lives of their respective villages (Tilling and Riseholme) are thrust together when Lucia rents Mapp's house for a few weeks in summer, while Mapp herself rents a neighbour's smaller house so that she can make a little money, as do several other residents who form a chain of rental possession for a few weeks each year.

Lucia's swift popularity with the locals chafes Mapp considerably and she attempts to undermine her at every opportunity. Lucia rises to the challenge and thus begins a genteel savagery between them which galvanises the locals and moves the tide of approval from one to the other, depending on the nature of the skirmish. Each lady gets her come-uppance at various points along the way, yet both always emerge eager for their next polite duel.

But this and the others books in the series are not simply tales of two ladies out-snobbing each other - there is much warmth and vulnerability woven into their characters, despite their desire for social prominence in their small world.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Hutchings on 31 July 2009
Format: Paperback
The great point regarding Mapp & Lucia is that they are thoroughly likeable, although not entirely so: the reader is treated to two characters who are not vying for your attention or aiming to please you. Instead, we are presented primarily with two wonderful characters, whose daily plots do entice the reader to want to turn the page ahead quicker to find out the result, often with a silent gasp of "oh no, but that means...". Thoroughly recommended to lovers of Mitford, and too some extent, Waugh - as in those who enjoy the first half of Vile Bodies etc.

A word of warning, though. Mapp and Lucia is the fourth of six stories by Benson. Purchasers are advised to go for the two other volumes from Penguin: Lucia Rising and Lucia Victrix. This present volume forms part of the Penguin Modern Classics series, which sets this book on its own: whilst Benson's writing means that you don't necessarily need to read the previous three, I was rather cross to find that there were three preceding books, to which there are no reference in this edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dinah85 VINE VOICE on 2 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
'Mapp and Lucia' was written in 1931 and while E.F Benson had written 3 prior novels featuring either Elizabeth Mapp or Emmeline (Lucia) Lucas, this was the first to feature both characters together. The book opens focussed on Lucia, a clever yet pretentious socialite, she is none the less lovable. Lucia carefully and discreetly orchestrates those around her to ensure she gets her wish. Lucia decides she needs a change of scenery, and settles on the village of Tilling. Here she rents the house of Elizabeth Mapp.

Mapp is a similar character to Lucia in that she always wants to be centre stage, but Mapp has a much more direct approach and lacks Lucia's timing and finesse. Benson clearly favours the character of Lucia, as is shown by subtle nuances such as always referring to her by her Christian name, while Elizabeth Mapp is commonly known by her surname. In addition Lucia is given the respectability of widowhood, whereas Mapp has never been married.

The book is a delightfully English comedy, and while there are no unfortunate misunderstandings, the book is very clever in creating social tensions where nowadays we might not even consider them. The residents of Tilling are capable of getting weeks of entertainment and amusement from the slightest snub, or barely snide comment.

Mapp intends to be Lucia's guiding hand into Tilling social life, and is most put out when she discovers she has settled in perfectly well on her own. Lucia then discovers she has been deceived on the terms of the rent, and so an understated but undeniable feud begins. The two characters are almost always civil to one another, but constantly strive for one upmanship.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Jan 2001
Format: Hardcover
An absolute must read for all lovers of humourous writing. Benson's tale of social struggle is a true masterpiece and demonstrates what an insightful observer of human nature Benson was. English wit exemplified.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Whitaker on 23 Mar 2010
Format: Audio Cassette
Please note the Prunella Scales reading is much easier to find in its original version.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mapp-Lucia-E-F-Benson/dp/0600560481/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272355227&sr=8-1
# Audio Cassette
# Publisher: Hamlyn Books On Tape (1988)
# ISBN-10: 0600560481
# ISBN-13: 978-0600560487

That's the two cassette heavily abridged reading.

The unabridged reading is probably still available from ISIS the talking book people.
Check out their website.
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