Item description for Lady Susan (Naxos AudioBooks) by Jane Austen, Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks & Carole Boyd...
Jane Austen (1775-1817) is considered by many scholars to be the first great woman novelist. Her novels revolve around people, not events or coincidences. Miss Austen sets her novels in the upper middle class English country which was her own environment.
Her novels have increased in stature over time. Her skills of writing, including a dry humor and a witty elegance of expression have attracted generations to her work.
Miss Austen completed six novels and part of a seventh, "Sense and Sensibility", "Pride and Prejudice", "Mansfield Park", "Emma", "Northanger Abbey", "Persuasion" and the partial "Lady Susan". Quiet Vision publishes all seven.
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Format: Audiobook, Unabridged
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 5" Weight: 0.25 lbs.
Publisher Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN 9626342285 ISBN13 9789626342282
Availability 0 units.
More About Jane Austen, Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks & Carole Boyd
Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
Reviews - What do customers think about Lady Susan (Naxos AudioBooks)?
"Teazers..." May 7, 2008
Jane Austen is rightly esteemed for her six excellent published romance novels. She wrote throughout her life; this book captures the completed but never published short novel "Lady Susan" and two uncompleted novel fragments: "The Watsons" and "Sanditon." Jane Austen fans will find them tantalizing reminders of what Austen might have been capable of had she enjoyed a longer life.
"Lady Susan", reportedly drafted in the 1790s' but completed about 1804, concerns the mischief of the title character, a recently widowed but attractive and manipulative woman who enjoys trifling with the emotions of men. The story is told in a series of letters between different characters. As the story opens, Lady Susan and her daughter Frederica depart the home of the Manwarings after Lady Susan has enticed both Mr. Manwaring and a Mr. James Parker, much to the consternation of Mrs. Manwaring. Lady Susan visits the home of her brother Mr. Vernon, where she attracts the young and wealthy Mr. De Courcy while keeping the other two men on the hook. Her attempts to force her daughter to marry Mr. Parker draw the fortunate interference of her sister-in-law Mrs. Vernon. Lady Susan's schemes will finally come undone, leaving her to make the best of the wreckage. The letter style creates a strong sense of suspense about the outcome. The beautiful but cynical Lady Susan is an unusual leading character, a ruthless sexual manipulator not glimpsed again in Jane Austen's fiction until "Mansfield Park".
The novel fragment "The Watsons" was reportedly begun sometime after Jane Austen's parents moved the family to Bath in 1801. She may have ceased work on it due to her father's death in 1805. The story centers around Emma Watson, one of several sisters in a family of limited means, who is raised by a wealthier aunt and uncle. The death of the uncle places her, penniless, back with her original family, headed by an ailing father. The novel proceeds far enough for us to recognize Emma is accomplished and attractive, and will be sought after by the three eligible men introduced in the fragment. It has the makings of a very good story. Jane Austen apparently hinted to her sister Cassandra how the novel might play out, and those hints are included here.
Jane Austen started on "Sanditon" in early 1817, before her own fatal illness sapped her strength. The surviving fragment suggests a rather elaborate plot concerning a small seashore community seeking to become the next popular watering place of England. Among the large numbers of characters introduced, the Parker family seems to figure prominently. The potential heroine appears to be Charlotte Heywood, a young and attractive guest of the Parkers at Sanditon. The fragment ends early, before the plot is properly developed.
While "Lady Susan" is a complete story; both "The Watsons" and "Sanditon" are really very rough partial drafts. The three items will be of interest to Jane Austen fans who have already consumed her published novels and wish a taste of what might have been. This book is highly recommended to those fans with the caution that Austen had not intended them for publication in the form in which they are offered here.
Lady Susan/the Watsons/Sandition: Three small and incomplete works by genius Jane Austen Jan 9, 2008
Lady Susan/the Watsons/ Sandition are all contained in one slim Penguin volume. This edition has a fine introduction by British scholar Margaret Drabble. She explores their genesis, importance and plot. Lady Susan is an epistolary novel written in imitation of Jane's favorite author Samuel Richardson. Lady Susan is the most flirtatious woman who is portrayed in Austen's works. This is a complete novel but it is very short running over just 100 pages. Susan is a nymphomaniac who like the black widow spider is eager to lure unsuspecting males into her sable web. She is even jealous of her daugher Fredrica's as she seeks to force the fautuous girl into an arranged marriage. Ironically it is Susan who weds the stupid, but wealthy Sir James Martin! Susan's first husband died before the beginning of the novel; her efforts to infatuate the married Mr. Manwaring fails to materialize. Susan Vernon also fails to win the handsome young nobleman Lord De Courcy.He has his roving eye momentarily focused on Fredrica. Lady Susan does not have much of the witty conversation and social setting which makes Austen's completed novels classics. It is an apprentice work. The Watsons is concerned with a poor girl Emma Watson. Emma attends a ball and meets handsome Lord Osborne. This incomplete novel reminds the reader of the rocky courtship between Miss Elizabeth Bennett and the aloof, aristocratic but good Fitzwilliam Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice." The best part of the book, for me, was the description of an early nineteenth century ball and the preparations required to pull it off. The witty talk between Emma and her sister Elizabeth sparkle with light brio for which Austen is peerless! The novel was never completed. Sandition is the book Jane Austen was working on when she died at the age of 42. Sandition is a new resort town on the south coast of England. As the novel begins Mr. Parker is involved in a carriage accident. Parker is nursed back to health by Mr. Heywood. Heywood permits his daughter Charlotte to visit the Parkers home in Sandition. Jane Austen hated her residence at Bath and in this novel pokes considerable fun at hypochondriachal characters such as Diane Parker. It is ironic in that Austen wrote the novel as she was slowly dying from an untreatable kidney malady that would kill her on July 18, 1817. A very funny and idiotic character is the absurd Sir Edward Denham. Denham loves to talk in long and poetic passages seeking to win the heart of Charlotte. This unfinished novel begins well and promised to be one of her best books. Jane Austen is the first great female novelist and one of the greatest authors of fiction who ever lived. Her regency romances of courtship and marriage is small rural English towns in the early nineteenth century are unsurpassed in their examination of the rites and complexities of love. These three short works are not the place to start with Miss Jane but they are worthy to be savored by Janeites worldwide.
Phyllis Ann Karr's little-read treasure: the excellent re-write of Austen's novella Aug 15, 2007
Unlike most of the reviews below, this review discusses NOT Jane Austen's short epistolary novella "Lady Susan", but, rather, the product presented in this page- Phyllis Ann Karr's 1980 re-write of Austen's novella.
The original novella deals with Lady Susan, a beautiful and crafty young widow who uses her appearance and intelligence as a weapon to dupe and manipulate everyone to her own satisfaction. She takes on a married lover while making at least two younger men fall in love with her, all the while trying to bully her "milky", oppressed daughter Frederica into marrying a foolish young baronet. She is the heroine-villainess of the tale, and a rather unique figure in Austen's literature (although not so unique, since the novella was written in Austen's youth, and anyone who read her Juvenilia knows that the young Austen's early writing could be brutally funny and even amoral).
Karr's completion of this tale is absolutely excellent. She chooses to re-write Austen's story in third person rather than the original letters. Her prose is clear and beautifully written and, while not exactly Austen, very suitable to the kind of novel she is writing. Immeasurably superior to the many poorly written completions deluging the market nowadays.
Karr's characterization is excellent as well. She carefully follows the characterization presented in Austen's novella, and with additional, attractive development. Lady Susan is clever and crafty; Frederica is shy and "milky" but, at the same time, a serious, deep character, and extremely appealing as the novel's heroine. Other characters follow their original outlines, except two. Maria Mainwaring was drastically altered; but Karr's reasons for doing this were perfectly sound, and Maria merges gracefully into the novel. There is also the important addition of Charles Smith, only briefly mentioned in the novella but fully developed as Karr's original character. In some ways he perhaps becomes a little too important, but by the end of the novel I understood the reason for it and did not resent Karr's development of this character, who is actually quite appealing. My only complaint is that he seems to be better developed and more sympathetic than Reginald De Courcy.
Karr follows Austen's plot fairly closely, only making modifications where needed. "Lady Susan" is incomplete in some ways, the author finishing the tale with a hasty, although quite funny post-script. Karr completes the tale, only altering details when necessary and also enriching the rather slim plot by adding details to originally short incidents or events only briefly mentioned. There is one extremely significant alternation, in the romantic department, which I am not sure that all readers would like; but I understood the reason for it (although the author did not specifically state it in her Author's note) and I ended up liking it, even though it does not follow what was (apparently) Austen's original intentions.
In summary, this is DEFINITELY one of my favorite Austen sequels and completions, and superior to most modern Austen derivative works. If you like Austen completions, also try John Coates' "The Watsons" (1969) and Another Lady's "Sanditon". (1975). Both the best Austen completions/sequels I have read except this one.
A great twist from a favorite author Jul 8, 2007
I just listened to "Lady Susan" as a Naxos Audiobook. What a delightful experience!
It has all the Austen perceptiveness and humor for the follies of her society, but the title character is emphatically NOT an Elizabeth or Jane (P&P), Elinor or Mariane (S&S) or even an Emma. This is a "bad girl" -- more like a Lydia (P&P) or Lucy (S&S) -- armed with maturity and even less conscience.
I don't usually enjoy audiobooks with multiple readers & music, but this one was a true pleasure.
Those Lesser Known Gems Jan 13, 2007
Reading this reminded me why I love Jane Austen's writing so much. Such vitality and snap to it.
Lady Susan is written in letter form (which I didn't find too hard to deal with because I have been reading another set of books written in this manner) Its a very gossipy little story. Lady Susan a woman very used to getting her own way has foisted her presence on her unwilling inlaws. She then goes about corrupting the son of the family to the almost point of matrimony with her even though he has a natural inclination for her much tamer and sweeter daughter, Frederica. It all ends pretty amusingly and I could really see this as a successful stage play all of the different voices that are represented in this.
The Watsons I was SO SO SO upset to get to the end of what she had written as it is only around 30 pages long or so, her writing and characters are already strong that early into a work. Emma Watson seems to have a bit of all of her other heroines in her, she's quiet and observant, she's been taken from a rich sitation to a poor one, she immediately interests the most elusive male in her new neighborhood (while she is more interested in someone else). What I found the most interesting was the presence of a child character, Charles is a little boy who Emma befriends at a dance--and dances with it is adorable and he is a great character, something I've never seen in her other works. This could have been a brilliant novel.
Sanditon, ironically since I am rather ill at the moment is about a town designed for curing all ills, sort of a struggling pre-Bath. Its a seaside resort, Charlotte is our heroine, she is visiting with one of the main proprietors of the place and is the only truly sensible character to be encountered in the short work. I've no doubt there would have been a few more to witness had Austen finished it. It would have been great to mee the Miss Lambe character as she is half mulatto--race never being something witnessed in Austen's other works. I found myself laughing in several places, while the characters are very cartoony I still found them very endearing and very easy to picture. Its a great begining.