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Jane Austen
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Catherine and Other Writings

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  476 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Jane Austen began writing in her early teens, and filled three notebooks with her fiction. Her earliest work reflects her interest in the novel as a genre; in brilliant short pieces she plays with plots, stock characters, diction, and style, developing a sense of form at a remarkably early age. The characters of these stories have a jaunty and never-failing devotion to the ...more
250 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Oxford University Press (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,365)
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Saoirse Sterling
[First read: 22nd January, 2011 for University: 3 stars.]
[Re-read: 31st October, 2015. Upgraded to 4-stars.]

A collection of short stories, plays, prayers and poetry by Jane Austen from when she was very young. So very different to anything she had written and had published later on in her life, the juvenalia is full of circumstances that are not found in her novels, including murder and characters being much more outspoken. This is the Regulated Hatred of Austen, but more profound and outspoken,
...more
Laurel
Jan 04, 2010 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Splendid nonsense! A youthful writer in the making


"Beware of swoons, Dear Laura ... A frenzy fit is not one quarter so pernicious; it is an exercise to the Body and if not too violent, is, I dare say, conducive to Health in its consequences -- Run mad as often as you chuse; but do not faint -" Letter 14, Laura to Marianne, Love and Freindship

Jane Austen grew up in the perfect fertile environment for a writer. Her family was highly educated and passionate readers, including novels which were con
...more
Poe Bird
May 30, 2009 Poe Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is WOW. I didn't know Jane had it in her!

She's got a scorching sense of humor like nothing I've ever read from her before. I disagree with the editors on half of everything they say though; my biggeset argument is their insistance that Jane subdued her novels from this style of writing to please the audiences of the 19th century. I think if anything Jane just plain grew up, and her writing was bound to mature along with her. She also intended her work to be published and therefor
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Lorraine
Apr 23, 2011 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was quite bored with this initially . Austen began writing when she was VERY young, by all accounts, and many of these pieces are just that -- juvenilia -- without much nuance, as you might expect from a child. Nevertheless it is evident already that at a young age Austen had a keen sense of irony and what is more, a very acute sense of the forms that narratives can take. One sees her writing mature; volume the third is of course the most interesting, in particular Catherine, which I think is ...more
Alex
Jan 27, 2016 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alex by: Aubrey
Aubrey says: "namely 'Love and Friendship', 'The Female Philosopher', and 'The History of England' (might be slightly wrong on the title of that one). From those, I gathered 15 year old Austen was a caustic rebel who likes dick jokes. "

sign me the hell up
Julie Bozza
Jan 06, 2016 Julie Bozza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, austen
The Juvenilia is a great deal of fun, with outrageously self-centred heroines capable of anything from blithely insulting their best friends in the name of candour, to contracting illicit liaisons, to raising armies, and committing the occasional murder. Austen seems to take great delight in playing with and skewering the novelistic conventions of the day. But it is all done with a light, surprisingly confident touch (for such a young person), and never feels malicious.

The lighter poems were ni
...more
Donna
Jan 11, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourites
This collection was such a fun and enjoyable read. Presenting Austen's Juvinilia we get a glimpse into the development of her writing across her adolescent years. Not as polished as her later novels, some critics have dismissed these stories and sketches as the trifling playthings of a young writer- and Austen certainly is playful with these stories- however, they were well worth the read. In fact an interesting argument put forth in the introduction suggests that in these sketches we get more o ...more
Trelesa
Nov 09, 2015 Trelesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of most/all of the lesser known works of Jane Austen. Some seem to be no more than an synopsis or start for a story idea (like "Scraps and "Detached Pieces"). I've only commented on the stories that stood out to me, which I had not read & reviewed before - not each selection. The 4 star rating reflects mostly "Three Sisters", "Catharine" & "Prayers".

Three Sisters - Loved the storyline. I really wanted to find out where their lives would lead - if only it was finished.

Cathari
...more
Michael
It was pretty interesting to read Jane's writing notebooks from before any of her published works. Almost all of these stories and poems come from her teenage years. (think Jo in Little Women) That being said some are really good, some are reeeaaalllly bad, and most are so-so. You could tell she was playing with structure and characters types. There are literally section that I'm sure show up verbatim in Northanger Abbey. My favorite little story was "Frank and Alice" because there is just some ...more
Alayna
May 15, 2009 Alayna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Austen's early writings was essentially like reading a gifted teenager's journal. Most of the plots and characters are intentionally absurd. I found the exhaustive cross-references and end notes almost as interesting as the stories, because it seemed a bit odd for academics to pick apart the silly, irreverent elements of stories written for family members and friends. Some of the abbreviated stories didn't hold my attention. I loved Lesley Castle the most. Overall, this was a ...more
Miss Clark
May 24, 2010 Miss Clark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly recommended to serious Austen fans
A very long introduction, but the material covering all three of Jane Austen's notebooks filled with her earlier works is a chance to see how she first wrote and how she evolved and changed over the years, though how much was by choice and how much was forced in order to sell books can never be known.

My favorite was her The History of England (available on its own), and her three prayers were also quite interesting.
Maria Tortuga
Nov 12, 2007 Maria Tortuga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just thinking about this book makes me smile with glee. Jane Austen was just a girl when she wrote most of these stories for her friends and family. While it showcases her incredible budding talent as a writer and someone who truly understands people, the real treasure here is that these stories are comedic. The writing here is funny and fantastic. Austen fans will definitely enjoy it.
bookinglibrarian
Jul 20, 2012 bookinglibrarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I've read Austen's Juvenelia and the "joyous scorn" the suffuses these wickedly witty works was a revelation, though not unsurprising. What is amazing is the "exhuberance" of these various pieces penned by the adolescent Austen. Both qualities (the quotes are from G.K. Chesterton) are toned down and more subtly crafted in her later works.
Amanda
Feb 05, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is very unlike all of Jane Austen's other, well-known works from later in her life. They are about the same subject matter, but with much more humor and scandal and fun. The heros and heroines are often silly or severely flawed, the villains are often completely without merit, and many of the stories are simply a big joke. Very very fun and interesting read.
Terra
Jan 10, 2011 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew I loved Jane Austen, but I had NO idea she was this completely hysterical as a teenager! This is a collection of short stories and farces that she wrote from a young age, mostly to amuse various family members (to whom they are dedicated). Extremely enjoyable.
Ashleigh
Oct 26, 2008 Ashleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at Austen's otherwise unpublished work - very different from what you'd expect! Reading some of the blatant sarcastic humor in these early stories helps provide a lense in which the subtle satire of Austen's main works comes to the surface.
Jennifer
Nov 05, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting look at JA's early writing and other random written pieces. Seeing the development of characters and plots that show up in later novels was very insightful. Her wit and humor were very apparent as well.
Lee Ann
I feel really bad abandoning anything Jane Austen. For now I'm abstaining from a rating, however, because I'm not abandoning it for disliking it. I'm just not in a Jane Austen mood right now, and this is a library book and I have a whole personal collection of books waiting to be read that I've been dying to read. I started this wanting to read Love & Freindship before seeing the film adaptation, but then discovered online that Love & Friendship the film is actually based on Austen's nov ...more
Meredith
Really interesting to see these early works of Jane Austen, including short stories, unfinished works, humorous poetry and a poem she dictated three days before her death.
Rebecca
Jul 08, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her unpublished works from her teen years are quite funny, and it's very cool to watch as her writing matures, especially as she starts to try out different writing styles.
Mary Alice
Sep 19, 2011 Mary Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austen, reviewed
Austen juvenilia. Quite delightful. As I've said before, we see how Jane wrote before she had to please publishers.
Helen
Nov 09, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite author. Of course I love it! Her early writings, sharp, satirical and witty.
Melissa
Aug 15, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of hard to find Austen works.
Regina
This book is a basically an edited and annotated copy of Jane Austen's journals from age twelve until the time of her death 30 years later. I found it amazing, because of the language and culture of the day, that Jane's earliest writings were so like that of 12-year-old girls in every generation, filled with irony, shock-value and silliness. The greatest pleasure I found in these earliest writings was all the information gleaned from reading the excellent notes included in this Oxford World's Cl ...more
Laura Bang
(3.5 stars)

Of course some of these stories, poems, and fragments are more enjoyable than others, but they are all interesting for the glimpse into Austen's teenage years. A better familiarity with the specific novels she is skewering would no doubt have enhanced my reading, but I still enjoyed her wit in a broader sense. Since these were all written for her family and friends, it's fun to think of the inside jokes they must contain that we can't see.
Lee Anne
This is a collection of juvenilia, i.e., three notebooks of stuff Jane Austen wrote when she was 17 and up, before her novels.

I tried, I really did, but after chewing through a 38-page introduction (it's not about you, people; no one needs a 38-page introduction), I found I didn't really want to read these. It starts out with some very short stories, meant to be "how droll" that aren't, which are parodies of the common 18th century style. I'm only passingly familiar with the 18th century style
...more
Katie
Apr 09, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Austen Fans
Shelves: read-for-classes
For some reason I just can't get into Austen. Maybe I'm too impatient or 18th century satire is way over my head, but either way it's just not my cup o tea. This is a collection of letters and short stories she wrote in her teens. I can appreciate the simplicity of some of these stories, how she doesn't let irrelevant plot and character development get in the way of the satirical message. There were some that I found really funny, like an unfinished comedy entitled "The Mystery" that consists of ...more
Janean
Jul 09, 2016 Janean rated it it was ok
There's a reason these stories are not what Jane Austen is known for. Even a genius has to start out writing garbage.
Laurie D'ghent
Jul 22, 2016 Laurie D'ghent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fun to see how Austen's writing style changed over time, and I LOVED how snarky her earlier works are. Definitely worth a read.
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Jane Austen 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 and biting social commentary cementing 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
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