Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sanditon and The Watsons: Austen's Unfinished Novels by Jane Austen

Synopsis: Praised by critics and studied by scholars, Jane Austen's novels endure because of their popularity with readers. The author's witty and astute observations elevate her tales of parties, gossip, and romance into matters of captivating drama, offering an evocative portrait of everyday life in the towns and countryside of Regency England. Austen's premature death at the age of forty-two curtailed her legacy, and her devotees have eagerly read and re-read her handful of books. This collection features two of her unfinished novels, an often overlooked pair of gems that enrich our appreciation of Austen’s storytelling gifts.

                These writings first appeared posthumously, when Austen's nephew included the texts in an 1871 memoir of his celebrated relative. The Watsons unfolds in a familiar domestic milieu, in which a spirited heroine finds her marriage opportunities narrowed by poverty and pride. In contrast, Sanditon ventures into markedly different territory. Set at a seaside resort, among a cast of hypochondriacs and speculators, it suggests that Austen's work might have taken some unexpected new directions. Even if these incomplete stories had been of little intrinsic value, they would have been of interest as literary records and curiosities. As it happens, they are of high quality and worthy of reading for their own sake, for pleasure as well as study.

My thoughts: I liked the first unfinished novel than the last, despite the fact that it was shorter. Lady Denham and Sir Edward Denham reminded me both of Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice, she was extremely conceited and he was talkative and idiotic, but Charlotte was a delight to read about. Her remarkable observations of her surroundings were very amusing. Diana, Susan and Arthur Parker were a funny trio too, because they seemed to want to be the best of the best, le crème de la crème, even though their “diseases” – because I agree with Ms. Heywood that most of them were fruits of their imagination – enabled them. In Sanditon, Jane Austen explored the satyr between health and sickness, and in The Watsons she was more concerned in talking about the debut ball of the girl Emma.

                I usually don’t talk about classics because if they weren’t good they would be called classics at all, but since this book was made of two unfinished novels of the author, I’ll just talk a little bit about it (one of them I already talked in the beginning).

                The Watsons were a delight, especially the little boy Charles that danced with Emma. He was so squeezable and sweet! (laughter) This novel in particular I wished Ms. Austen had finished it so I would know if Emma would marry Tom Musgrave, Lord Osbourne or Mr. Howard or even none of them and would stay like her older sister Elizabeth. I wanted to see Margaret suffer a little bit because I didn’t like her from the beginning. But it was so short! Jane why didn’t you finish it?! Sanditon you didn’t have to because the dialogues were to extensive to me, but I loved The Watsons!

                All in all, I really liked this glimpse of Jane, my favorite author of all times!


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