Cal Jeannette's Reviews > Love and Friendship

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
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In order to enjoy this book, you have to know a few things. First, Jane Austen wrote this compilation of short stories between the age of 11-18 to entertain her family. The main stories were written when Jane was 14-15 years old. Moreover, the "Laura" story was written as a parody of the romantic notions of the time. I say this b/c when I started the book, I found the characters to be silly, foolish, overly-emotional, overly-dramatic nitwits. I couldn't believe this was Jane Austen, so I did some quick research. Having discovered that the characters were a parody of the cult of "sensibility" (susceptibility to feelings, emotionalism, sentimentalism), I enjoyed the stories much more. As one website put it: "Violent and overt emotions substitute for morality and common sense. Characters who have this "sensibility" fall into each other's arms weeping the first time they ever meet, and on suffering any misfortune are too preoocupied with indulging their emotions to take any effective action. They use their fine feelings as the excuse for any misdeeds, and despise characters without such feelings." Knowing the historical and cultural context made me truly enjoy and appreciate all of the stories. Quite clever and funny for such a young writer. A quick and fun read for Jane Austen fans.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 22, 2012 – Shelved

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Kendra I knew going in that it was a satirical commentary so I literally laughed out loud in some places (dying from swooning fits?! Ridiculous if you take it seriously but hilarious otgerwise). I agree with your assessment and like to think that if I knew young Jane, we should have been friends.

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