While I own the Penguin Classics edition of "The Complete Poems of John Keats," this is a marvelous compilation of the beautiful letters that John Kea...moreWhile I own the Penguin Classics edition of "The Complete Poems of John Keats," this is a marvelous compilation of the beautiful letters that John Keats wrote to Fanny Brawne, the young woman that he fell head-over-heels in love with in the last years of his short life. These letters provide such a beautiful window into the heart and soul of one of mankind's greatest poets. Ms. Jane Campion, the director of the recently released film about Keats's love affair with Fanny Brawne, has collected Keats's letters and poetry he wrote inspired by his relationship with Fanny into a wonderful little volume. The letters are presented first, in chronological order; followed by Keats's poetry. It is an incredibly moving and emotional presentation, and made me realize just how intensely heartfelt Keats's feelings for Fanny were.
The next time you take a road-trip or vacation with the love-of-your-life, take this little book along and read it aloud. It is a beautiful testament to love, and a tribute to one of the finest poets in the English language. If you love poetry, this little volume belongs on your shelf.(less)
A fast, but engaging, little read. My text (Dover edition) is probably something just under 65 pages. A fascinating look at the life of the gentry cla...moreA fast, but engaging, little read. My text (Dover edition) is probably something just under 65 pages. A fascinating look at the life of the gentry class at the beginning of the 19th century in Ireland. I loved Maria Edgeworth's use of Irish colloquialisms, it made the novel resonate even more. Through the narrative of "honest Thady", Edgeworth skillfully brings the pathos and emotions of the Rackrent family and servants to vivid life in this brilliant little gem of a novel.(less)
Lady Susan is a short epistolary novella written by Jane Austen. What intrigued me is that Lady Susan really is the most morally bankrupt (maybe 'amor...moreLady Susan is a short epistolary novella written by Jane Austen. What intrigued me is that Lady Susan really is the most morally bankrupt (maybe 'amoral' is better?) of any of Austen heroines (and I use the term 'heroine' loosely here). She will think, say and do anything to achieve her means. This novella, presented as series of letters, was written by the young Jane Austen, and first published long after her death. One surmises that she probably did not intend for it to see the light of day in its present guise. The Watsons and Sanditon are fragments she was working on in the last few months of her life. It would have been interesting to see where they ended as completed novels. Maybe I am a bit of a dilettante, but I will not read versions of the The Watsons or Sanditon completed by other authors; it just doesn't interest me at this point in time. Having Lady Susan and the other fragments made purchasing this book a worthwhile addition to my collection of the Austen canon.(less)
"Persuasion" was Jane Austen's last completed work before her death; and one that I think she'd have continued to work on to make it even more perfect...more"Persuasion" was Jane Austen's last completed work before her death; and one that I think she'd have continued to work on to make it even more perfect that it already is.
"Persuasion" is an achingly beautiful love story. A short, but incredibly rich novel, that presents the feelings and thoughts of the beautiful Anne Elliot and the man that she has loved for eight years, Royal Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth. Again, Jane Austen develops her plotting and characters in an effort to show that the affairs of the heart are difficult and trying, but ultimately always well worth the effort.
"Persuasion" is, in my opinion, Jane Austen's most elegant and sophisticated novel; and one of my all-time favorites. This novel should be included in everyone's library and read and re-read many, many times over one's life. It is truly a very special book!(less)
"Emma" was a fun read! This is, I believe, Jane Austen's most polished novel; and it shows. It is, if you'll indulge me for a moment, a mystery with a...more"Emma" was a fun read! This is, I believe, Jane Austen's most polished novel; and it shows. It is, if you'll indulge me for a moment, a mystery with a series of smaller mysteries inside of it. The reader is constantly trying to keep track of little details and facts that help inform one to what is actually going on. Austen skillfully keeps the reader off-balance, or even confused, as we move from character to character and event to event. All is most certainly not what it seems until near the very end of the novel, with delightful surprises along the way. One almost needs a little scorecard to jot down notes to help keep one's thoughts organized; which I surmise is just what Jane Austen wanted us to do. Her object lesson is to be observant and true (which our little Emma learns along the way).
The reader can't help but fall in love with the vivacious Emma and her 'apparent' match-making skills. Again, Jane Austen does a wonderful job of placing us in the minds and manners of a group of interesting characters in the bucolic English countryside in the early 19th century. It was wonderful to watch the attraction and love between Emma and Mr. Knightley become more apparent in spite of Emma's missteps. Jane Austen's insertion of her subtle humor makes this novel every bit as enjoyable as her 'laugh-out-loud' "Pride and Prejudice." "Emma", of all of Austen's beautiful novels, is always the book to pick up and immerse one's self in on a beautiful spring day.(less)
All I can say is that this is just a marvelous 'laugh-out-loud' book that deserves to be read again and again. If you have a friend in low spirits, gi...moreAll I can say is that this is just a marvelous 'laugh-out-loud' book that deserves to be read again and again. If you have a friend in low spirits, give 'em a copy; it'll be sure to bring 'em around!
I have just finished reading this novel again, for the umpteenth time, and still can only marvel at the wit and craft that Austen has applied to this fabulous book. I think this time, I really concentrated on the thought-processes and maturation of Lizzy's feelings as she works through her relationship with Mr. Darcy from start to finish. Also, it seems that with the exception of Catherine Morland's mother and father in Northanger Abbey, that Austen created in her novels, in the main, some truly abominable and inept parents. While Mr. Bennet is clever-tongued, he is an atrocious father and indifferent husband; and Mrs. Bennet -- well, what can be said there that hasn't been said? Ughh!
I know that this may seem heretical to ardent Janeites, but I don't think that "Pride and Prejudice" is Austen's very best effort. Don't get me wrong, this novel is certainly in my top-twenty; but I believe that Austen honed her craft over time and delivered her real literary masterpieces in "Emma" and "Persuasion". I surmise that if we polled Austen on this issue, she'd agree. Is "Pride and Prejudice" the novel to introduce a new reader to Austen for the first time? You betcha! They'd be hooked from the first sentence; just as I was! It is a wonderfully clever romantic novel that happens to be very funny, and provides these terrific character studies of people of whom we all know in our own lives today.(less)
This is a wonderful, high-quality, edition of the six novels, and the epistolary novella, "Lady Susan". While it weighs a couple of pounds, it is the...moreThis is a wonderful, high-quality, edition of the six novels, and the epistolary novella, "Lady Susan". While it weighs a couple of pounds, it is the version to throw in the car, or take on the airplane, when traveling. It'd make a great gift for the 'Janeites' in your life too!(less)
From the start this book just grabs you and off you go with Elinor and Marianne. As a younger man, I was always somewhat frightened, and even intimida...moreFrom the start this book just grabs you and off you go with Elinor and Marianne. As a younger man, I was always somewhat frightened, and even intimidated, to read Jane Austen; although I certainly don't know why now. I read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" many years ago, and enjoyed them immensely; but never continued with the rest of her canon. Now that I am much older, I have since corrected that terrible mistake and have read all of her works, several times, and in the order written.
With "Sense and Sensibility" I was immediately captivated with Austen's deft plotting, character development, and prose style. "Sense and Sensibility" is a beautiful, timeless novel portraying that ever so foreign and mysterious relationship that exists between sisters regarding life, family, and the loves in their lives. It is easy, very easy, to get lost in this world of life and love that Jane Austen presents for us in "Sense and Sensibility." While I love all of Jane Austen's novels, I'd have to say that "Persuasion", "Emma", and "Sense and Sensibility" are clearly my top three.(less)