Since I wrote last, my 2nd edition (Sense and Sensibility) has stared me in the face. Mary tells me that Eliza means to buy it. I wish she may. It can hardly depend upon any more Fyfield Estates. I cannot help hoping that many will feel themselves obliged to buy it. I shall not mind imagining it a disagreeable duty to them, so as they do it. Mary heard before she left home that it was very much admired at Cheltenham, and that it was given to Miss Hamilton. It is pleasant to have such a respectable writer named. I cannot tire you, I am sure, on this subject, or I would apologise. Letter to Cassandra Austen, 6 November 1813, Jane Austen’s Letters
Jane Austen jokes to her sister Cassandra that it is a disagreeable duty for her public to buy her books. If so, then we should all be so unhappy to bear such a burden.
Being the attentive Austen book buyer, I felt compelled to fulfill my duty to Miss Austen and purchase a few volumes with a Barnes & Noble gift card that happened my way. I could not be happier with my recent selections. Here is a peek at my choices.
Jane Austen’s Letters, (third edition) collected and edited by Deirdre Le Faye, Oxford University Press (1995). The Sunday Telegraph claimed that it is “Indispensable to all genuine Austen enthusiasts” and I could not agree more. It is a pleasure to have the definitive collection of Jane Austen’s letters together in one volume. The unique benefit of this updated edition is Le Faye’s intriguing annotations and insights to the events, places and inside stories of each of the letters affording the reader instant understanding to the meaning of terms and implications that might otherwise allude the modern reader. ISBN 978-0192832979
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, edited by Harold Bloom, Chelsea House Publishers, (2007). Part of the Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations series edited by the renowned Yale University professor Harold Bloom, this volume is comprised of an insightful introduction by the editor and eleven essays by a variety of respected Austen scholars. I must confess that the benefit of the Bloom’s series to me is that it is accessible to this “dull elf” since Bloom writes for students and not other scholars like some of the other essay collections about. I can actually understand and enjoy their analysis! La! What hooked me on purchasing this book was the first essay entitled “What are Men to Rocks and Mountains” by Stuart M. Tave, and it is as delightful as its reference. ISBN 978-0791094372
The Darcy’s Give a Ball: A Gentle Joke Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark, Sourcebooks, Inc. (2008). This Pride and Prejudice sequel is one of a plethora of re-issued Austen-esque novels published by Sourcebooks over the past year. One must commend them for their support of Austen-esque authors who greatly lengthen our expanding reading list to the point of explosion! I have not had the chance to read this one yet, but the story looks interesting in that the next generation from P&P is of courting age, and the mating dance begins. The book is peppered with Jane Austen quotes that support the storyline, which is always a good thing. You can read a review of it on Austenblog, and stay tuned for our own reflections. ISBN 978-1402211317
CONTEST: Win a free copy of The Darcy’s Give a Ball, by Elizabeth Newark by entering our contest. Leave a comment with this post between May 14th and May 21st, and the winner will be drawn at random on May 22nd. Good luck to one and all. Happy reading!
HOT TIP: Check out the new subject index of the Le Faye Edition of Jane Austen’s Letter at Mollands. Compiled by Del Cain, a retired librarian living in Orlando, Florida, the index is a fabulous campanion to the letters. Find a topic or quote by Jane Austen in a flash! Thanks Mr. Cain for your thorough research and generous spirit that will benefit the enjoyment and scholarship of Jane Austen.