A Soirée with Lady Susan begins right here on Austenprose on September 1st with an introduction to Jane Austen’s wicked funny novella and list of characters. If you missed the initial announcement of the event, you can read further about this great Austen novella-a-thon posted last week. To prime readers for the group read which starts the next day on Wednesday September 2nd, here is the group reading schedule and some great reading and listening resources for participants.
Group Reading Schedule 2nd – 12th of September, 2009
Lady Susan, by Jane Austen
Wed 02 September Letters I – XI (1-11)
Sat 05 September Letters XII – XXII (12-22)
Wed 09 September Letters XXIII – XXXIII (23-33)
Sat 12 September Letters XXIV – XLI (34-41)
Lady Susan, by Jane Austen
Unlike most editions of Lady Susan in print, this edition of Jane Austen’s novella is entirely in the spotlight and a book unto itself. Just the right size to slip in your handbag, briefcase, or backpack, the portability of this slim volume means you will never need be without the convenience of quick reference. Publisher’s description: Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks an advantageous second marriage for herself, while attempting to push her daughter into a dismal match. A magnificently crafted novel of Regency manners and mores that will delight Austen enthusiasts with its wit and elegant expression.
Dover Publications (2005)
Trade paperback (80) pages
Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Penguin Classics), by Jane Austen, introduction by Margaret Drabble
If the convenience of three of Austen’s minor works in one edition does not convince you to snap up this classic edition, then Margaret Drabble’s excellent introduction will. Publisher’s description: These three short works show Austen experimenting with a variety of different literary styles, from melodrama to satire, and exploring a range of social classes and settings. The early epistolary novel “Lady Susan” depicts an unscrupulous coquette, toying with the affections of several men. In contrast, “The Watsons” is a delightful fragment, whose spirited heroine – Emma – finds her marriage opportunities limited by poverty and pride. Meanwhile “Sanditon“, set in a seaside resort, offers a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and spectators, treated by Austen with both amusement and scepticism.
Penguin Classics (1975)
Trade paperback (224) pages
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Oxford World’s Classics), by Jane Austen, introduction by Claudia L. Johnson
Northanger Abbey might get top billing in this edition, but the other Minor Works make this a unique combination that are often hard to find in such a great value. Claudia L. Johnson’s introduction is stellar. Publisher’s description: Northanger Abbeydepicts the misadventures of Catherine Morland, young, ingenuous, and mettlesome, and an indefatigable reader of Gothic novels. Their romantic excess and dark overstatement feed her imagination, as tyrannical fathers and diabolical villains work their evil on forlorn heroines in isolated settings. What could be more remote from the uneventful securities of life in the midland counties of England? Yet as Austen brilliantly contrasts fiction with reality, ordinary life takes a more sinister turn, and edginess and circumspection are reaffirmed alongside comedy and literary burlesque. Also including Austen’s other short fictions, Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon, this valuable new edition shows her to be as innovative at the start of her career as at its close.
Oxford University Press USA (2008)
Trade paperback (432) pages
The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Volume VI: Minor Works (The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen), by Jane Austen, edited, preface and notes by R. W. Chapman
The recommended choice of The Jane Austen Society of North America, this edition of Jane Austen’s Minor Works is part of a set of six volumes and was first published in 1926. Seventy two years later, it still stands as the best available today. In addition to Lady Susan, readers will enjoy The Watsons, Sandition, Juvenilia, Plan of a Novel, Opinions of Mansfield Park and Emma, Verses and Prayers and editor R. W. Chapmans’s excellent preface, notes, appendixes and some select black and white period illustrations.
Oxford University Press (1988) reprint of 1954 edition
Hardcover (486) pages
Lady Susan (Naxos AudioBooks), by Jane Austen
The incomparable Harriet Walter as Lady Susan oozes charm and deceit in this outstanding audio book of Jane Austen’s novella. The added bonus is the full cast of actors in each of the parts resulting in a recording of a stage play. Publisher’s description. Lady Susanwas the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be completed. An epistolary novel in eighteenth-century style, it tells the story of the recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon, intelligent but highly manipulative, who is intent on gaining financially secure relationships for both herself and her wayward but shy teenage daughter Frederica. Less known than Austen’s six great later novels, it demonstrates the wit and sharp observations of Jane Austen – and is shown at its best in audio book form, with different actresses presenting real characters as they read their letters.
Naxos Audiobooks US (2001)
Audio unabridged (2) CD’s 2 hr 30 m
Lady Susan(LibriVox Audio Books) by Jane Austen
This audio recording of Lady Susan is not as polished as the Naxos edition, but it is free. Publisher’s description: Jane Austen demonstrated her mastery of the epistolary novel genre in Lady Susan, which she wrote in 1795 but never published. Although the primary focus of this short novel is the selfish behavior of Lady Susan as she engages in affairs and searches for suitable husbands for herself and her young daughter, the actual action shares its importance with Austen’s manipulation of her characters’ behavior by means of their reactions to the letters that they receive. Lady Susan’s character is built by the descriptions of the other letter-writers; but even though their opinions of this heroine coincide with the image that develops from her own letters, Austen demonstrates the subjectivity of the opinions by presenting them – primarily – in the letters of one woman to another, thereby suggesting the established literary motifs of feminine gossip and jealousy. Readers recognize these subjective motifs and examine all of the idiosyncrasies of the characters in order to create their own opinion of Lady Susan – as they would of any real acquaintance. (Summary from Wikipedia)
LibriVox: free audiobooks
2 hours 27 min
Sandition and other Stories, by Jane Austen
The Austen elves at Girlebooks have assembled an excellent selection of Jane Austen’s Minor Works, Juvenilia and Letters is their usual thoughtful and well formatted layout for your desk top or eReader, all free for your reading enjoyment. Publisher’s description: Also known as Sand and Sanditon, this unfinished novel was written in 1817, the last year of Jane Austen’s life. The novel ends at Chapter 11, after a promising introduction of the seaside village of Sanditon, a few major characters, and several intriguing minor characters. Also included are The Watsons, Lady Susan, Frederic and Elfrida, Love and Freindship, Lesley Castle, The History of England, A Collection of Letters, and Scraps.
I am so looking forward to reading everyone’s impressions of Jane Austen’s most wicked heroine Lady Susan Vernon. See you next Tuesday.