There is a darkness to this book that you often feel is present in Austen's writing but that is never fully realised. Whether it's the wider social isThere is a darkness to this book that you often feel is present in Austen's writing but that is never fully realised. Whether it's the wider social issues of the time such as poverty, slavery or feminism (the references to Pamela are a smart inclusion), they are more actively explored here because they are far more present issues in the lives of the characters, the household staff, than they were for Austen's gentile ladies and gentlemen.
There are some wonderful insights into life for the Bennett's beyond what is told by Austen; touching on the lives of the girls beyond marriage. Elizabeth's efforts to succeed in her marriage to the imposing Mr Darcy, Jane's seemingly perfect and beautiful life with Bingley, and the impending disaster that is Lydia. Most fascinating is the blossoming of Mary in the absence of her sisters. Of course, we can only suppose, but I did like the ideas here - they seemed plausible, but also played into what readers may have hoped for.
Beyond its connections to Pride & Prejudice, the book stands alone as a wonderful look into the contradictory lives of the servant class, lives that are both simple and complicated thanks to the rigidity of their daily tasks and the often poverty-stricken lives they led before joining service. Baker cleverly weaves their lives together, leaving clues along to way and tantalisingly holding on to details so that you can't stop reading.
I can highly recommend this for Austen fans and non-fans alike....more
A strange story to say the least, it is very confronting and at times difficult to comprehend much of what is happening here. I disliked it immensely,A strange story to say the least, it is very confronting and at times difficult to comprehend much of what is happening here. I disliked it immensely, but I can certainly see its merit and the reasons it has become a classic work (which is reflected in my rating of it).
Because of my dislike, I never really got into the story. I never embraced it and never fully understood it. A lot went over my head I feel. If tales of gloom and doom are your thing, then this is teh book for you. But if not, steer very very clear. ...more
This is so far removed from anything I would ever choose to read I was presently surprised to find myself actually enjoying it.
I read 'The Clouds' asThis is so far removed from anything I would ever choose to read I was presently surprised to find myself actually enjoying it.
I read 'The Clouds' as a university set text. It's intelligently funny, which is often hard to find in any modern texts. That said, it was actually rather base humour for the time I believe. I ultimately read the remaining two plays for the fun of it. (Though Clouds appealed to me most)
I have nothing profound to say about any of the plays though to be honest. I just enjoyed them and hope other readers will too. It is hard to review a text that is not meant to be a read text, but rather a viewed one. I think my insights would be more enlightening after seeing them performed. ...more
I dare you not to become emotionally entangled. I'd like to see you try!
Little Women is a classic, and most will know the story (even if they haven'tI dare you not to become emotionally entangled. I'd like to see you try!
Little Women is a classic, and most will know the story (even if they haven't read it). But you should read it. All teens should (boys and girls!) to teach them something in the way of compassion, understanding and humility. These little women, the March women, don't have much to give, but give they do. Sometimes to their own detriment.
Every reader will identify with one of the characters. They will stand by them and root for them no matter the argument. Its fun to revisit as an adult. Puts life in a little bit of perspective. I would say this is one of the few books I have looked up from and thought about how I live my own life. Sometimes I find myself thinking, what would Mrs March or Beth do (those holy grails of goodness)? Other times, when I'm in need of a little spark, I turn to Jo. ...more
I've never actually read Jane Eyre. It's been sitting, unopened, on my bookshelf (in various locations - home, boarding school, gap year, share houseI've never actually read Jane Eyre. It's been sitting, unopened, on my bookshelf (in various locations - home, boarding school, gap year, share house & now apartment) for years. It was a childhood gift, a birthday or Christmas I can't remember. I have just never been driven to pick it up.
So why read a book about reading Jane Eyre? Motivation maybe? Encouragement? Who knows!
I picked this up on a library throw out table. It was a couple of dollars and it makes my bookshelf a little more well-rounded. It sticks out amongst all the chick lit.
But I actually enjoyed it! I've always known the basic story of Jane Eyre and these insights and reactions were quite illuminating. Some are better than others. "Crown me with Roses Pastiche' by Jean Bedford has stuck with me (it's the storyline of Jane Eyre brought forward and possibly even more odd). The initial essays were fascinating to read. I enjoyed Elizabeth Gaskell's as well as she knew Bronte - I feel a need to read her biography of Bronte now.
So if I can enjoy this book having never read Jane Eyre, I imagine someone who has would enjoy it even more....more
I read this book to take a trip down memory lane. And also because I've seen countless screen adaptations, but have never experienced this tale in itsI read this book to take a trip down memory lane. And also because I've seen countless screen adaptations, but have never experienced this tale in its original form.
If you decide to read it, prepare to be taken on an adventure. Not just that of Ratty, Mole, Toad and Badger, but into my own mind. Rather like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, this book takes you back to simpler days. Days when you possibly believed that this is what animals got up to when ou weren't looking.
Its a delight to read, and quite quick too (I nearly lost my copy multiple times it was so thin!)....more
I began reading this book as part of my studies for a subject called "Literature in History". It was a fascinating way of looking at texts, as it requI began reading this book as part of my studies for a subject called "Literature in History". It was a fascinating way of looking at texts, as it required you to consider them firstly within their historical context, and then a second time within your own context as point of comparison. Literature and history can be explored separately, but a greater level of understanding is gained when they are explored together. Literature is both a part of history and a record of it, and vice versa for history. It is inevitable that paths will cross in some way when either (or both) are being studied – there is a dialogue between the two entities. The concept of ‘literature in history’ is a more productive way of reading texts, as opposed to ‘literature and history’, as texts act as a reflection on a moment or period in time, not simply recording events, but opening a dialogue between events or conditions and an authors reactions to these. It allows for a greater understanding of particular texts and how they act as a reflection and as a dialogue between what it being written and why it is being written. In grasping the historical context of texts, one is to grasp the full depth of meaning within the text itself and understand the dialogue that has been created by the author.
Of course, having begun to read this book thinking about these things it made it difficult to switch off from that when I picked it up to finish it later on. This review even is written differently because I wrote an essay on just the issue outlined above.
Charles Dickens in his The Old Curiosity Shop offers commentary on the condition of England in the Victorian Era. What must be noted is that these are not factual or necessarily historically accurate accounts when considered in detail, but they give sense of atmosphere and they correspond with details in what are considered more historically accurate accounts such as one would find in non-fiction books. Novels such as Dickens’ are not considered any less relevant in describing the Victorian condition. If popularity is considered, Dickens and his contemporaries such as William Thackery, the Brontë sisters, and Thomas Hardy, have had greater influence in forming today’s image of Victorian England.
Dickens’ reference to the working class of Industrial England, with their lack of agency and self-determination, sees them as part of the machinery. This growing, disillusioned working class was a key fixture in Victorian England, and here the reader has a sense of it without numbers or facts that would be presented in history alone. Dickens’ work is a meditation on what he has experienced, what he knows, of Victorian England.
The final thing that really influenced my reading of this book was that I was reading Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress around the same time. The similarities, and indeed references in Dicken's book, are hard to miss.
All that aside, I can't say I enjoyed reading it - and not just because I had little choice in the matter. Honestly, it just wasn't my kind of book. ...more
It began as amusing; the imagery way lovely and the purpose endearing. I was thing "Isn't the everyday spectacular". And then itIn a word? Pointless.
It began as amusing; the imagery way lovely and the purpose endearing. I was thing "Isn't the everyday spectacular". And then it went on, and on, and on, and on. About nothing at all really. And then reading the editor's notes at the end, you discover the author is a hypocrite. There is nothing I dislike more than an author who writes what without truth and feeling. I felt let down by John Gay. There isn't much worse than feeling let down by a book.
I read this as part of my studies in 18th Century writing, and to be frank, I believe they could have chosen are far better text for study. ...more
I began this book while I was studying English Literature, and the Condition of England Novel. It was towards the end of semester and I didn't finishI began this book while I was studying English Literature, and the Condition of England Novel. It was towards the end of semester and I didn't finish it. My mind was exhausted and so it was set aside, half finished, with a number of other books. I went on a bit of chick lit binge and finally returned to it a year later.
I could remember the story (essentially) but I had forgotten much of the detail. Characters were vague, as were some of the finer plot details. I muddled through (thank you Wikipedia) and ultimately I finished rather enjoyably. I mean, it is considered a classic for a reason.
It is a wonderful reflection on society at the time - the unions, the extreme poverty, and the extremes people living precariously can be driven to. Its all very tragic. All interwoven with a thread of romance. What more could you ask for?
Gaskell is a wonderful writer, despite this not being the best example. Her later novels show a much more developed voice. ...more
I read this book for a class on 18th Century Writing. And while a challenge to get through this mock epic poem, the language and imagery is beautiful
I read this book for a class on 18th Century Writing. And while a challenge to get through this mock epic poem, the language and imagery is beautiful. It reads almost like a fairytale.
It is however about a women having a lock of hair cut off.
An interesting comment (or observation?) on Pope's part on women. And I wonder, despite how far society has come, that women today would not react in similar extravagant fashion to someone cutting off their hair unceremoniously. I know I would....more
I read this for university (I'm taking a class on 18th Century Literature) and as with many classic texts they can be a challenge; though isn't that pI read this for university (I'm taking a class on 18th Century Literature) and as with many classic texts they can be a challenge; though isn't that part of why we read them?
Its a short and interesting tale of a bored, London society girl. I imagine there were quite a lot of them at the time. Whats rather startling, once you come to realise it, is how she combats her boredom. Quite the little minx, but I can't help feeling Beauplaisir got a little of what he deserved.
I read a copy of the original publication and unless you find reading historical language relatively easy (or fun?), I suggest getting a modern version of the text. Bookdepository.co.uk would be a good place to start....more