#AusteninAugustRBR 2015: Lady Susan & Wrap Up

Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon

Oxford World’s Classics edition, 2003 (Oxford University Press)

Paperback

Source: Personal copy

I wasn’t in the mood for Northanger Abbey after all, so I decided to read Austen’s unfinished works. I only got as far as Lady Susan, which was finished but unpublished.

I like to read the introduction to classic novels before I read them to get some context. This edition’s introduction (and notes) is by Claudia L. Johnson. According to the introduction, a novel in letters was considered a classic novel when Austen began this in the 1790s. She wondered what the scheming villian of Clarissa would be like as a woman. Lady Susan tricks the Vernon family into giving her money, while writing to her confidante about how awesome she is at tricking people. Catherine Vernon knows about her reputation, and therfore suspects Lady Susan of not being sincere. Catherine describes her terrible behavior in letters to her mother.

Writing an epistolary novel was difficult for Austen, as she ends the story with a third-person “Conclusion.” If the same story was in third person, it probably would have focused on Catherine knowing her husband was being duped, and being powerless to stop it until the end. Overall, I liked this story.

           Wrap-Up

I enjoyed my first Austen in August! Even though I didn’t enter any giveaways, I liked reading other people’s posts on Austen and her works. I’m looking forward to sharing more thoughts next year!

#AusteninAugustRBR 2015: Austen Fandom Videos

As I’m on vacation this week, here is a roundup of my favorite Austen-related videos.

Regency version of  Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” from Austenland (2013). This played over the end credits to the movie adaptation of Shannon Hale’s book. (Read my review of the book!)

“Jane Austen’s Fight Club.” I understand this and think it’s funny even though I’ve never read or watched Fight Club.

“Mr Bingley’s Post (Pride and Prejudice parody).” The jokes remind me of Monty Python or Fry and Laurie sketches, which should be expected from a comedy group called Pineapple-Shaped Lamps.

“The Real Housewives of Jane Austen.” A reality TV version of Austen’s heroines. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that I’m drunk” is the best joke in this one, I think.

Bonus: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies panel from Comic Con 2015 with the cast and Seth Graeme-Smith, author of the book. I’m excited to see Matt Smith (from Doctor Who) as Mr. Collins, zombie or not! It comes out February 5, 2016.

Do you have a favorite Austen or Regency era video/meme/GIF? Please share in the comments!

#AusteninAugustRBR 2015: Austenland by Shannon Hale


Austenland

By Shannon Hale

2007

Ebook from library
I don’t read much contemporary romance. I like to watch romantic comedies more than read them. So I’m glad this was made into a movie. Even so, this was a quick read and I enjoyed it!

Jane Hayes read Pride and Prejudice as a teen and became obsessed with Jane Austen. Now in her thirties, she’s searching New York for her Mr. Darcy–or her Colin Firth as Darcy. (She hides the DVD in her houseplant.)

Her Great Aunt Carolyn dies and gives her an all expenses paid trip to Pembrook Park, a Regency theme park in the English countryside. In this “Austenland” actors play the men and supporting characters to the “Ideal Client,” women who want to live the fantasy of falling in love with a Regency gentleman.

Jane arrives with the idea that she’ll give up men forever after getting lost in the fantasy. She ends up falling for two different men, the Darcylike “Mr. Nobley” and Martin, an actor who plays a servant. She wonders if the actor playing Nobley is as sincere as Martin is as a real person.

It was hilarious that the women who come to Pembrook Park are given different names by the manager. Jane becomes “Jane Erstwhile,” another American woman is “Elizabeth Charming” and a third woman is “Amelia Heartwright.”  That part was more like Dickens than Austen, where the characters’ names describe their natures. On the other hand, giving the women silly names added to Hale’s theme of living in a fantasy versus reality.

I would recommend this if you like Jane Austen or funny contemporary romance, or both.