Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Love and Freindship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen
Love and Friendship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen
Published January 2015 by Penguin Publishing Group
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Jane Austen’s earliest writing dates from when she was just eleven-years-old, and already shows the hallmarks of her mature work. But it is also a product of the times in which she grew up—dark, grotesque, often surprisingly bawdy, and a far cry from the polished, sparkling novels of manners for which she became famous. Drunken heroines, babies who bite off their mothers’ fingers, and a letter-writer who has murdered her whole family all feature in these highly spirited pieces. This edition includes all of Austen’s juvenilia, including her “History of England” and the novella Lady Susan, in which the anti-heroine schemes and cheats her way through high society.
When I finished Northanger Abbey, the last of Jane Austen's novels for me to read, it was hard to imagine that I would never be able to read another novel written with her particular flair and sass. What's a girl to do when her favorite writer has been dead for hundreds of years? The answer is: wait for someone to collect all of her early writings so you can enjoy watching Austen progress from the very simplest of stories and as she developed her style and sharpened her wit.
From early on, Austen has a capacity for parody and wealthy were already one of her targets. As were foolish lovers. And fools of any ilk - and there tended to be more fools than not in her early pieces. Perhaps an indication that her early writings were intended solely to amuse her family. Austen also developed an early mastery for the art of miscommunication and misunderstanding, which particularly shown in an epistolary piece.
This collection ranges from very early pieces to her unfinished adult work, Lady Susan, and include some unfinished work and bits of correspondence. The book also contains an early poem by Austen, textual notes, a chronology, contextual notes, and an introduction by Christine Alexander. It's a treasure trove for Austenites! It was the perfect nightstand book (and I'm not sure it's something you could read straight through) and a keeper.