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Nice! I'll have to check those out. Emma's my favorite too but I feel like Persuasion is maybe technically a better novel. I'm about halfway through Mansfield, my last Austen, so in a week or so I'll have read all the full novels. I'm liking Mansfield even though I don't think anyone in it is really all that likable. I kind of like Mary Crawford the best even though I don't think I'm supposed to, she won me over with her 'no pun intended', rude navy comment.

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On ‎12‎/‎23‎/‎2015 at 10:36 PM, MeloraH said:

Nice! I'll have to check those out. Emma's my favorite too but I feel like Persuasion is maybe technically a better novel. I'm about halfway through Mansfield, my last Austen, so in a week or so I'll have read all the full novels. I'm liking Mansfield even though I don't think anyone in it is really all that likable. I kind of like Mary Crawford the best even though I don't think I'm supposed to, she won me over with her 'no pun intended', rude navy comment.

I'll probably get stoned for saying this, but I felt like Persuasion was written by a junior high girl.  I don't mean the style or the actual writing.  I just mean the attitude and feelings of the main character.

Edited by Katy M
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 I'm liking Mansfield even though I don't think anyone in it is really all that likable. I kind of like Mary Crawford the best even though I don't think I'm supposed to, she won me over with her 'no pun intended', rude navy comment.

Mansfield Park is one of my favorites too, despite the fact that the heroine is a huge drip (as is the cousin she ends up with).  I enjoy it for all of the interactions between the secondary characters.

On the other hand, Emma is one of my least favorites--never liked the heroine or her high handed meddling in Harriet's life. The film now, that I enjoy.

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I love Mansfield Park.  I liked the main character, too (even though I've forgotten her name).  Her cousin annoyed me a bit, though.

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Emma has always been my favorite, too. I really enjoy P&P, too, and I like S&S--mostly for Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood because Marianne is incredibly annoying and I don't quite buy her change at the end. I don't know why (laziness, I guess), but I haven't read Mansfield Park or Persuasian. I do re-read the former three semi-regularly, but sometimes I just refer to the Colin Firth mini-series for P&P and Romola Garai mini-series for Emma. I loved both those adaptations. I haven't seen an adaptation of S&S that I feel hits the mark, unfortunately.

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19 hours ago, TheGreenKnight said:

I haven't seen an adaptation of S&S that I feel hits the mark, unfortunately.

You didn't like the Emma Thomson version?  Aside from everyone being grossly too old for their parts (save Margaret) I thought it was lovely.  (Love me some Alan Rickman.)

I didn't care for Mansfield Park because Fanny was such a killjoy.  The young people are bored at the isolated mansion and decide to put on a play for amusement, but Fanny?  Oh no.  The long missing head of the family would not approve so she refuses to participate in some innocent fun.  Sheesh, lady!  

Persuasion was better.  Once Anne gets away from her horrid family and finds her voice she becomes a more sympathetic heroine.

I've read everything Austen wrote and still think P&P is the best.

Edited by Haleth

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11 hours ago, Haleth said:

You didn't like the Emma Thomson version?  Aside from everyone being grossly too old for their parts (save Margaret)

And Marianne, surely? Kate Winslet was 20 at the time, which I don't think comes close to qualifying as grossly too old for 16 1/2 Marianne.

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On ‎1‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 9:00 AM, Haleth said:

didn't care for Mansfield Park because Fanny was such a killjoy.  The young people are bored at the isolated mansion and decide to put on a play for amusement, but Fanny?  Oh no.  The long missing head of the family would not approve so she refuses to participate in some innocent fun.  Sheesh, lady!  

You're looking at it from a modern perspective, though.  Back in the day, acting and putting on costumes was not something ladies and gentlemen did.  Though they went to see plays, the actors themselves were looked down on in society.  So, Fanny was just embracing the morality of her day.

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16 hours ago, Black Knight said:

And Marianne, surely? Kate Winslet was 20 at the time, which I don't think comes close to qualifying as grossly too old for 16 1/2 Marianne.

I wouldn't say that Kate Winslet was grossly too old for Marianne just on that point--but she was the right age to be playing Elinor.  

I remember reading that Emma Thompson didn't even want to appear in this movie as she knew she was far too old for the part, but the studio refused to make it unless she was in it.

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On 1/21/2018 at 5:51 PM, Haleth said:

I didn't realize she was that young. 

I wouldn't ordinarily know that sort of thing, but - hey, to tie it back into books! - Emma Thompson published the journal she kept during the making of S&S, and in it she wrote about how she couldn't imagine what it was like to be Kate, being 20 with such a huge part in front of her.

Thompson's journal is a great read. Just what you'd expect, witty and entertaining. And it contains Gemma Jones's hilarious reaction to Hugh Grant's blowjob PR fiasco.

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On ‎05‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 3:51 PM, Katy M said:

I'll probably get stoned for saying this, but I felt like Persuasion was written by a junior high girl.  I don't mean the style or the actual writing.  I just mean the attitude and feelings of the main character.

Whereas I thought it was a pretty in synch with an adult who feels her romantic opportunities have passed her by.  Nothing junior high about that.

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Bumping this one up to talk about Lydia Bennet. She was talked about a bit in the Worst Parents thread about Mr. and Mrs. Bennet being terrible parents.  She is really annoying, makes terrible decisions and never once seems to realize she did anything wrong. She really doesn't think she did. Its easy to see why she would think that. She did everything that Mrs. Bennet told her and encouraged her to do. She kept encouraging Lydia to throw herself at the soldiers and bragged about liking soldiers when she was young. Well Lydia did. She doesn't know that Wickham is a jerk. Her father and Lizzy liked him both at one point as did the rest of the family but more importantly no one ever tells her the truth about Wickham. She didn't know anything about what happened with Georgiana or the debts or anything else. The latter which apparently no one in their area knew about until after he ran off with Lydia when what's her name comes to tell Mrs. Bennet all about it. You almost wonder how it took until then for information to spread. By that point its too late Lydia's already ran off with him. The whole time their together she thinks their getting married. She doesn't know and never did find out that Wickham never planned to marry her until Darcy showed up and forced it to happen. But only because Lydia refused to leave. Darcy did try at first, but still doesn't tell her the truth about Wickham. She still doesn't know he's a terrible person. She might not have believed Darcy nor had any reason to because she assumed everyone still hated Darcy. She goes to the alter and marries him still not knowing what a terrible person he is. When they visit her family she's still bragging and acting like she didn't do anything wrong. Which in her mind she wouldn't, she did exactly what she was taught by her mother to do. But Mrs. Bennet was the only parenting she got. Mr. Bennet did nothing and he makes it clear that he doesn't even really like Lydia that much. She's his least favorite and she knows it. So the only influence or advice she gets if from her mother. Jane and Lizzy both are alarmed even before Darcy's letter by Lydia's behavior but there's not much they can do about it.  Then she ends up north with Wickham. At the end of the book the two no longer are fond of each. That ends up coming off more as punishment for Lydia. But does Lydia really deserve that? She was wrong to run off with Wickham but she was doing what she had been taught and encouraged to do by her mother. And she's the only one who doesn't find out what Wickham is really like until their up north together and everyone in her family hates her. I'm not really sure she deserves that. Or really any woman deserves to end up with Wickham as punishment. Would she have made the same decision had she been told what he was really like? 

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Modern readers can excuse Lydia for her behavior and find her outcome unjust, but she's Austen's cautionary tale.  It's what happens to silly girls who refuse to act with decorum.  It's ironic, Austen's lack of sympathy for Lydia showed her own prejudice when it comes to highly spirited girls.  (Never mind her upbringing or lack of information, she should know better and followed the example of her oldest sisters.)

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18 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

 Would she have made the same decision had she been told what he was really like? 

She would not have listened to her family about Wickham.  Lydia is a fifteen year old girl who revels in male attention, sees everything as a competition, and lives in the moment.  Her elder sisters are close to becoming spinsters, why would she follow in their path.  She watched Jane do everything the right way and Bingley still left without proposing.  She has also lived a sheltered life where she has been shielded from the worst in the world.  She is at that age where she doesn't really understand the consequences of her actions.  She very easily could have ended up like Eliza Williams in Sense and Sensibility.  She doesn't understand what happens when a woman loses her reputation.  She still thinks she can go home after her adventure in London with Wickham like nothing had happened. 

Also while Wickham is a fortune hunter and a cad, he did not do anything illegal.  He attempted to elope with an heiress and failed.  The truth can be known and he would not lose his social standing.  Some people would cut him for not living up to their ethical ideal, but not all.  That is one thing about Jane Austen's villains, they do really do anything that villainous.  Wickham, Willoughby, Henry Crawford, and Mr. Elliott all do some questionable things, but nothing beyond the pale.  They are only guilty of not living up to the Jane Austen moral code.

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5 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

Also while Wickham is a fortune hunter and a cad, he did not do anything illegal.  He attempted to elope with an heiress and failed. 

This is a fair point.  During this staycation, Jennifer Ehle (THE Elizabeth Bennet from the '95 BBC production) has been reading a couple of chapters a day on Instagram that have been reposted to Youtube.  Sometime in the last week or so, while mentioning how much she likes Mrs. Gardiner for all of her lovely advice and sensibility, she read the chapter where Mrs. Gardiner cautions Lizzie about getting carried away with her early partiality to Wickham because he doesn't have a fortune and neither of them can afford to marry without taking that into consideration.  Shortly afterward, Wickham starts pursuing Mary King the moment she inherits 10,000 pounds.  Lizzie and Mrs. Gardiner shake their heads a bit at this because he seems a little too blatant and grasping about it to them, but they're also quick to acknowledge that this is the way of the world and shrug that he has to have something to live on. 

Later during the sojourn at Hunsford, it's a blink and you'll miss it thing that Colonel Fitzwilliam also makes a point of reminding Lizzie that however much they might otherwise like each other, (And Elizabeth does briefly consider that he might fancy her that way.) as a younger son he has no real fortune to speak of and thus has to marry one too. Wickham's great sin is being too openly mercenary about it and trying to do an end run around the families.

Lydia is the product of a father who has completely checked out on trying to do much of anything to curb or educate his younger children and a mother who while often pretty uncouth about it is painfully aware that the clock is running down on a solution to the entail before they all end up without a home or much to live on.  That she puts a stamp of approval on everything Lydia does only eggs her on.

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Currently watching the newest version of Emma (broke down and paid to stream with early access) and I love it so far! It brings so many facets of Emma's personality to the surface, you see all her flaws, but she's not unlikable. I'm stretching out my watching just to savor it because it's that good!

I haven't read the book in years, but I definitely need to now, lol.

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On 4/21/2020 at 3:14 AM, Starleigh said:

Currently watching the newest version of Emma (broke down and paid to stream with early access) and I love it so far! It brings so many facets of Emma's personality to the surface, you see all her flaws, but she's not unlikable. I'm stretching out my watching just to savor it because it's that good!

I haven't read the book in years, but I definitely need to now, lol.

I got to go see it before we were given the shelter in place order here in NY.  I went to an early show and had the entire theater for myself.  I absolutely loved it.  I loved this version more than the Gwenneth Paltrow version.  I think this actress is absolutely perfect as Emma.  

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Agree about Austen creating awesome everyday "villains", so basically people who don't do anything illegal but through selfishness or maliciousness hurt others. And it's a great social commentary that this kind of behaviour is often even sanctioned or rewarded by their environment. The closest to actual illegal behaviour is perhaps Willoughby and Wickham, perhaps Colonel Brandon and Darcy might have legal recourse for the lies they tell, but can't do anything for fear of ruining the reputation of female relatives.

But otherwise, callous actions are often sanctioned by society in Austen's novels. General Tilney and John Thorpe are respected; Catherine gets "blamed" for their harrassment and cruelty. Mrs. Ferrars, John and Isabella, Lucy Steele, they all get away with their greed and selfishness. Willoughby is personally sad for losing Marianne, but he's in a financially advantageous marriage. Wickham gets financially set up by Darcy. Okay, Austen punishes people a bit in "Mansfield Park", LOL. The Eltons are doing well in "Emma", Frank Churchill gets what he wants, everyone still lives by Mr. Woodehouse's whims. The Elliots see a bit of a financial downswing; but they're as satisfied with themselves as ever. William Elliot and Mrs. Clay seem like the kind of people who will always look out for their own interests and end up on their feet.

And Austen is brutal and accurate in describing how everyday cruelty and abuse works: Mrs. Norris is free to bully and emotionally abuse Fanny since childhood while everyone looks on; she's neglected by everyone apart from Edmund otherwise. Willoughby and Wickham are seasoned con men who know how to spin convincing lies. And they like to prey and manipulate teenage girls to do their bidding. Society finds them dashing for it. When you read "Pride and Prejudice" you also remember how hard the text is on Mr. Bennet: Yeah, he's amusing, but a total failure as landlord, husband and father and Austen doesn't spare him, even though society does. Or the way Jane Fairfax, Harriet Smith and Robert Martin are victimized by the social hierarchy and how they must endure the Eltons and Emma meddling with their lives. Harriet doesn't notice what is happening to her; that's no excuse for Emma's actions, though. Or Mr. Woodehouse: Yeah, he's friendly, doesn't mean he doesn't hold Emma basically prisoner in that house (one of the saddest lines in all of Austen is that Emma has never seen the sea...).

The banality of evil, really. Such a brilliant writer and many of the sharper, less pleasant aspects of her writing really aren't properly appreciated IMO.

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4 hours ago, katha said:

Or the way Jane Fairfax, Harriet Smith and Robert Martin are victimized by the social hierarchy

That's the crux of all of her writing- how society values people at different levels, who social convention dictates is good enough for whom.  Jane usually tries to turn that on its head by pairing characters that would have raised eyebrows- poor(ish) girls with wealthy, better placed gentlemen.  The characters who stand in the way of these lovers, I wouldn't call them evil; they are products of their time and social norms who encourage their loved one to find a more appropriate (i.e. wealthy) spouse.  Wickham is her only evil character, and even he accepts his punishment by doing right by Lydia.  (I guess you can count Mrs Clay as a villain too.)  Certainly the Ferrars family, Catherine deBourgh, Mrs Norris, and their ilk are unpleasant, but not evil.  Willowby was a jerk and a cad but his intentions were not evil.

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On ‎05‎/‎03‎/‎2020 at 8:05 AM, Haleth said:

Willowby was a jerk and a cad but his intentions were not evil.

His behavior towards Col. Brandon's ward is pretty evil.

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3 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

His behavior towards Col. Brandon's ward is pretty evil.

Oh, right. I forgot about her.  

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Y3MpTFhEk&t=1197s

 

Pride and Prejudice- Lost in Adaptation  which is done by Dominic Noble who's done dozens of Youtube videos on various books and their adaptations. He does a good job and is also really funny. His ones on 50 Shades of Grey are awesome. He does only use the 1995 to compare but might do some of the others later on. 

 

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On 5/3/2020 at 8:05 AM, Haleth said:

Certainly the Ferrars family, Catherine deBourgh, Mrs Norris, and their ilk are unpleasant, but not evil.  Willowby was a jerk and a cad but his intentions were not evil.

I just learned about this forum from a helpful person elsewhere on Primetimer, so I'll always be late to any discussion, I imagine.

To classify malignant narcissists as merely unpleasant seems extremely inaccurate. Austen's novels are full of evil characters, and Norris ranks up there as one of the most richly punished. 

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On 8/24/2021 at 7:55 AM, Alistaire said:

To classify malignant narcissists as merely unpleasant seems extremely inaccurate.

I agree, although I wouldn't necessarily describe them all as evil.  A few of them, yes, but most of them are just deeply flawed and terrible people.

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3 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

I agree, although I wouldn't necessarily describe them all as evil.  A few of them, yes, but most of them are just deeply flawed and terrible people.

I just finished re-reading Sense and Sensibility, where Austen's "apology chapter" for Willoughby keeps the well-being of the girl he impregnated and then abandoned off-stage. In this respect, Austen (like all male Victorian novelists) lessens the fact that Willoughby is not only a malignant narcissist, but evil. 

In sincerity, I wonder how "evil" people are different from "terrible" people. I don't mean this to provoke or be facetious, because I find the tendency to come to the brink--just to the brink--of admitting evil, but then stepping back from making that commitment, extremely common. Personally, I explain this to myself as a fear to admit there is no difference. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Alistaire said:

In sincerity, I wonder how "evil" people are different from "terrible" people. I don't mean this to provoke or be facetious, because I find the tendency to come to the brink--just to the brink--of admitting evil, but then stepping back from making that commitment, extremely common. Personally, I explain this to myself as a fear to admit there is no difference.

To me, the difference is that even terrible people still have the tiniest possibility of being redeemable whereas evil people don't.

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For those of us new to Jane Austen, should her books be read in order? And are there any novels even fans of hers suggest skipping? They sell sets of her books altogether; I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment or not. 

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9 minutes ago, RealHousewife said:

For those of us new to Jane Austen, should her books be read in order? And are there any novels even fans of hers suggest skipping? They sell sets of her books altogether; I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment or not. 

All of her works are stand alone stories.  I would choose based on what mood you are in.  They all scratch a different itch except for Mansfield Park.  That one is my least favorite with my least favorite heroine.  

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They’re all worth reading, but the most popular are also the most accessible- P&P, S&S, and Emma. I also like Persuasion. Mansfield Park is my least fav because the protagonist is a drip. 

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I've read all of them except Emma. I saw a movie version with GP and I really disliked the character, so I could not bring myself to read that one yet (though I liked Clueless). My favorite are P&P and S&S, but as an unpopular opinion, I liked Mansfield Park. Fanny is like Cinderella of Jane Austen heroines. Not every girl/woman is a badass like Belle or Mulan, some have a more quite strength that shows in how they survive years of bullying, while maintaining a good heart.

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8 minutes ago, JustHereForFood said:

I've read all of them except Emma. I saw a movie version with GP and I really disliked the character, so I could not bring myself to read that one yet (though I liked Clueless). My favorite are P&P and S&S, but as an unpopular opinion, I liked Mansfield Park. Fanny is like Cinderella of Jane Austen heroines. Not every girl/woman is a badass like Belle or Mulan, some have a more quite strength that shows in how they survive years of bullying, while maintaining a good heart.

Your description of Fanny is how I feel about Anne Elliott in Persuasion.  I love Persuasion.  I find Mansfield Park a bore because Edmund is a bore.  

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27 minutes ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

Your description of Fanny is how I feel about Anne Elliott in Persuasion.  I love Persuasion.  I find Mansfield Park a bore because Edmund is a bore.  

No disagreement there. Also, 21st century views alert, marrying your cousin is icky. But it made sense to me why she liked him.

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1 hour ago, JustHereForFood said:

I've read all of them except Emma. I saw a movie version with GP and I really disliked the character, so I could not bring myself to read that one yet (though I liked Clueless).

Emma is famously the character Jane Austen described as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like". However despite the flaws of Emma the character, Emma is my favourite of the novels. And I daresay that disliking the Gwyneth Paltrow depiction may or may not be a good barometer for whether you enjoy the book. (I thought Jeremy Northam was a lovely Mr Knightley and Sophie Thompson a perfect Miss Bates.) Of course IMO it is a mistake to read Jane Austen as simply romance. Obviously characters fall in love and get married, but the real pleasure is in the comedy of manners and some people don't like the comedy because they can't abide the manners she is poking fun at.

On 2/4/2022 at 3:04 PM, RealHousewife said:

For those of us new to Jane Austen, should her books be read in order? And are there any novels even fans of hers suggest skipping? They sell sets of her books altogether; I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment or not. 

It definitely doesn't matter what order you read them in, but I would probably recommend starting with Pride and Prejudice and then if you enjoy that read whatever sounds most appealing to you next. If you're not sure whether you want to commit to buying a full set, why not sample them from your library or Project Gutenberg first?

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On 2/5/2022 at 8:36 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

Emma is my favourite of the novels.

Emma is my favorite also, followed closely by Persuasion.  Two very different novels.  Anne Elliott and Emma Woodhouse are totally different heroines.

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On 2/5/2022 at 6:55 PM, JustHereForFood said:

I've read all of them except Emma. I saw a movie version with GP and I really disliked the character, so I could not bring myself to read that one yet (though I liked Clueless). My favorite are P&P and S&S, but as an unpopular opinion, I liked Mansfield Park. Fanny is like Cinderella of Jane Austen heroines. Not every girl/woman is a badass like Belle or Mulan, some have a more quite strength that shows in how they survive years of bullying, while maintaining a good heart.

Fanny won me over with her strength and refusal of Crawford.  Even with the pressure they put her under by sending her back to her family she won’t be forced to marry.  In her own way she was tough.  

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On 2/4/2022 at 3:04 PM, RealHousewife said:

For those of us new to Jane Austen, should her books be read in order? And are there any novels even fans of hers suggest skipping? They sell sets of her books altogether; I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment or not. 

I've tried reading Mansfield Park more than once but still can't get into it.  It's the one I'd suggest skipping or at least reading last.  Emma's probably the most accessible one or possibly Pride & Prejudice, so I'd recommend starting with one of those two.

On 2/4/2022 at 7:37 PM, Haleth said:

They’re all worth reading, but the most popular are also the most accessible- P&P, S&S, and Emma. I also like Persuasion. Mansfield Park is my least fav because the protagonist is a drip. 

Persuasion is my favorite but it strikes me as more mature than Austen's other works.

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18 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

Persuasion is my favorite but it strikes me as more mature than Austen's other works.

More mature, slightly more cynical.  Captain Wentworth's letter (I am half-agony, half-hope) always kills me.

Edited by sugarbaker design · Reason: It's Captain, not Colonel! Navy, not Army!
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25 minutes ago, sugarbaker design said:

More mature, slightly more cynical.  Colonel Wentworth's letter (I am half-agony, half-hope) always kills me.

I love Captain Wentworth and his letter.  I also love how Austen gets us to that point.  Anne knows Wentworth is listening to her conversation with Harville.  A perfectly innocent conversation between friends where the subtext to Anne's argument is "I am still in love with you Captain Wentworth."  Anne cannot actually say this out loud to Wentworth, so she does the next best thing.  And Wentworth hears her.  He gets so caught up in their conversation that he drops his pen before changing course to write that exquisite letter.  His agitation is perfection.  

I also love Anne's response to Wentworth near the end when he asks her what would have happened if he had come back 5 years earlier and proposed--

"'Would I!' was all her answer; but the accent was decisive enough."

The brilliance of Jane Austen is how we all can interpret "the accent was decisive enough" and still get the gist.  I personally read this as Anne sarcastically stating the obvious.  But it works if you interpret it in an earnest manner or as a "hell yes, I would have!"

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On 2/8/2022 at 9:57 AM, Luckylyn said:

Fanny won me over with her strength and refusal of Crawford.  Even with the pressure they put her under by sending her back to her family she won’t be forced to marry.  In her own way she was tough.  

That really did amaze me. Women had very little options and many of them married for those options or family. Being strong enough to refuse him and not bow to pressure? That takes a lot of strength and courage. I think I also liked it because Austen ended up in a similar position. 

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I asked for and received this one from my daughter and SIL at Christmas.  I bought the second volume myself.  Haven't opened either one yet.

image.png.b30c8b72db39d31ba7c29b4a9d500328.png

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On 2/4/2022 at 3:04 PM, RealHousewife said:

For those of us new to Jane Austen, should her books be read in order? And are there any novels even fans of hers suggest skipping? They sell sets of her books altogether; I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment or not. 

Personally, I'd recommend Pride & Prejudice to read first with the glorious 1995 miniseries to watch on standby. Happy reading!! 😎

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On 2/25/2022 at 8:58 PM, Prairie Rose said:

Personally, I'd recommend Pride & Prejudice to read first with the glorious 1995 miniseries to watch on standby. Happy reading!! 😎

I just started reading the book, and I'm really enjoying it so far. :)

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10 hours ago, RealHousewife said:

I just started reading the book, and I'm really enjoying it so far. :)

Yay!!!!! 😁💖

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