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Lady Susan (Hesperus Classics) by Jane…

Lady Susan (Hesperus Classics) (edition 2006)

by Jane Austen

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1,113607,423 (3.58)204
Title:Lady Susan (Hesperus Classics)
Authors:Jane Austen
Info:Hesperus Press (2006), Paperback, 95 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, English

Work details

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

  1. 40
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: These stories share a charming, manipulative villainess.
  2. 10
    Evelina by Frances Burney (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: Also an epistolary novel, written by a woman said to be an influence on Austen's own writing. If I recall correctly, also has an older scheming woman involved in the plot.
  3. 10
    Lady Vernon and Her Daughter: A Novel of Jane Austen's Lady Susan by Jane Rubino (sweetiegherkin)
  4. 00
    Lady Susan by Phyllis Ann Karr (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Retells the story without the letters, filling in Austen's gaps.

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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
This certainly isn't my favorite novel by Jane Austen however I tried to take into account that it was written when the author was nineteen or twenty. Thankfully it is a quick read.

It took me a while to get a grasp on the cast of characters. This is very important, since the story is presented in the form of letters between different individuals, with the exception of the concluding chapter.

The main character, Lady Susan, can truly be descibed as a manipulative narcissist. Here is one passage written by Lady Susan to her friend/aid in deceptive schemes. This depicts Lady Susan's character, without giving away anything important about the story:

My dear Alicia,—There needed not this last fit of the gout to make me detest Mr. Johnson, but now the extent of my aversion is not to be estimated. To have you confined as nurse in his apartment! My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age! Just old enough to be formal, ungovernable, and to have the gout; too old to be agreeable, too young to die.

So, the main character is absolutely unlikable but every once in a while the reader begins to doubt if she is really all that awful. Then comes another letter written to her confidant, Alicia, and all doubt it removed.

For fans of Austen's literary works, it is definitely worth reading. Just be aware it isn't anything like her other more popular novels. ( )
  Lisa805 | Oct 10, 2016 |
Jane Austen's mature work skewers the economic and social basis of the English landed gentry of her time with rapier wit and exquisite irony. In this novella, evidently written when Austen was 19, the weapon is a bludgeon and the wit is satire. Lady Susan Vernon is a shameless adventuress (in the old, not the modern meaning), but her chutzpah is such that it's hard not to root for her as she lies, manipulates, flatters, seduces and cons her way through life - though her utter unconcern for her daughter's welfare is impossible to forgive. She gets off some caustic zingers about men, relationships and marriage, as well.

"Lady Susan" is nowhere near the standard of Austen's six published novels - in particular, the characterisation of everyone but Lady Susan is pretty much flat; and the novella abruptly wraps up with a few pages of exposition. But this early draft, which Austen tried not to have published, is a remarkably good read all the same, and all the more so considering its author's age. This is Jane Austen with the cynicism dialled up to 11 and no punches pulled. ( )
  timjones | Oct 2, 2016 |
This is obviously not comparable to Austen's better known works. I listened to it on a public domain website.

The story consists of a series of letters that are exchanged between various characters. The sophisticated, witty, elegant and recently widowed Lady Susan is on the hunt for a second husband. Dragging her unloved and neglected daughter in her wake she proceeds to visit the households of a number of relatives in order to pursue a match. Her flirtatious behaviour and carelessness with the feelings of all those in her path are the subject of much letter-gossip. To her face, the perpetrators of course remain impeccably courteous.

Austen's novels are brilliant because they accurately portray human behaviour in a way that most authors shy away from. She reveals the true hearts of her characters, in this book through letters. As always, she turns the awkward, uncomfortable but necessary pretences of society into humour. She is no doubt revealing her own amusement through her writing and comments extensively on romantic relationships and her views of them in the process...

Silly woman to expect constancy in so charming a man.

This was worth listening to but it would probably have been easier to read as it was hard at times to keep up with the characters due to the constant flow of letters. There is obviously no bad language, violence or sexual content--just a bit of polite flirting!

( )
  sparkleandchico | Sep 27, 2016 |
Maybe Austen only knew why, in the course of her lifetime, she didn't have it published.

As for myself, I purposely came to the text without knowledge of the story, since I find that Introductions and whatnot tend to say far more about a work than I wish to know before I've read the work for myself. I had, therefore, all the room in the world to be surprised by this Susan Vernon.

I wouldn't have imagined an Austen heroine like Lady Susan, and I didn't enjoy her much, nor did I gain much satisfaction from the way it all turned out for her in the end. Plus, though there was a time when it had greater popularity in literature, the style of telling a story chiefly through characters' written correspondence isn't my favorite.

I imagine that Austen wasn't the keenest on the style for her own writing either, given that she didn't use it in any of her other six completed novels. She even gives the style up before this novel is finished, beginning her third-person Conclusion by writing, "This correspondence...could not, to the great detriment of the Post Office revenue, be continued longer."

I now feel much as I did after reading The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott: glad that I read it, and even gladder that the authoress got better with time. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Sep 5, 2016 |
The book was ok and I liked how all characters were represented in the letters, which allows readers to see what is going on from all perspectives. ( )
  Hellen0 | Jun 22, 2016 |
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My Dear Brother,- I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted of spending some weeks with you at Churchill, and, therefore, if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope to within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486444074, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Flirtatious and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks a new and advantageous marriage for herself and at the same time attempts to push her daughter into marriage with a man she detests. The plot unfolds through letters exchanged among Lady Susan, her family, friends and enemies.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Average: (3.58)
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