Apr 152015
 

Love and FriendshipBrimming with Brilliance, Astute Understanding, and Jocularity

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but here it goes: I’ve been reading Jane Austen novels and a vast amount of Austenesque literature for over 12 years and this is the first time I’ve read any of her Juvenilia! I’m so exceedingly glad that I finally had the opportunity to do so this past month! To see the early scribblings and youthful effusions of my favorite author is indeed an illuminating and enthralling experience!

Since the lovely edition of Jane Austen’s Love and Freindship: And Other Youthful Writings I read contains a lot of contextual notes and annotations, I thought I’d breakdown my review to itemize what I thought about each specific aspect of this volume.

But first, let me acquaint you with what is included in this edition of Love and Freindship: And Other Youthful Writings.

  • Volume I, II, and III of Jane Austen’s Juvenilia
  • Lady Susan
  • A 30 page Introduction by Christine Alexander
  • A section of Textual Notes by Christine Alexander
  • A section of Annotated Notes by Christine Alexander
  • Further Reading and Chronology

MY THOUGHTS ON JANE AUSTEN’S EARLY WORKS:

  • It Is Our Dear Jane: The eccentric characters, the astute and comedic social observations, the themes of marriage and money. It is easy to identify the brilliance and humor of Jane Austen (at an early age) in these stories.
  • Jane Likes to Narrate: A lot of these stories are heavy on the narrative side, often with very little portions of dialogue. It is interesting to see how many of her early works are epistolary works. Was it because she was very familiar with writing letters (to her friends and siblings)? Or perhaps because she enjoyed the act of telling stories (both verbally and in print)?
  • Jane Likes to Spoof and Make Sport: A lot of what Jane Austen wrote in her early works can be traced back to or gives reference to a published work she read. She parodies scenes, characters, and styles of writing from authors such as Frances Burney (Evelina), Samuel Richardson (Sir Charles Grandison), and Oliver Goldsmith (The History of England), to name a few. She reminds one of the writers for Saturday Night Live, but instead of writing parodies about the latest news and events, she pens skits and satires about the latest novels and plots. 🙂
  • Sometimes Weak Conclusions: A lot of these early works by Jane Austen end with a very hurried and incomplete conclusion, which is the only thing I really have to quibble about in this compilation. Some stories break off without any resolution or satisfying closure. Part of me wonders if this was Jane Austen’s playful sense of humor…did she send these incomplete snippets of stories to relations and await their begging entreaties for more?

MY FAVORITE STORIES FROM JANE AUSTEN’S EARLY WORKS:

  • The History of England – such a playful take on real historical figure and events! I loved the humor and the very opinionated stance Jane Austen took with some monarchs!
  • Catharine, or the Bower – I enjoyed this longer work for its descriptive and imaginative characterizations – Jane Austen definitely has a love for ridiculous characters and their follies!
  • Lady Susan – Ooh! Such an anti-heroine! Full of schemes and drama, I just love the candor that letter-writing allows!

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS EDITION:

  • It’s Elegantly Made: This book is a beauty – a clothbound cover, thick, high-quality paper, and an attached ribbon bookmark. Definitely a tome to admire and treasure!
  • Annotations Are Extremely Helpful: With Jane Austen’s spelling and frequent references to characters, authors, and events of her day, I found myself greatly needing and appreciating these contextual notes! Half of the jabs and jokes Jane Austen made would be way over my head without them. In addition, I found it interesting to learn what edits Jane Austen made on her own manuscript and to suppose the reason why such edits were made.
  • Thorough and Complete: I love that this edition included all three volumes of Jane Austen’s Juvenilia, images of the original manuscripts, and Cassandra’s illustrations for The History of England. And of course, I think including Lady Susan in this compilation is brilliant!

CONCLUSION:

An excellent addition to any Janeite’s library! And these earlier works by Jane Austen are 11100868_10153349777262189_7987864964324155229_ndefinitely something every Jane Austen fan should read at least once. I love that Penguin Books included such a lovely volume in their eye-catching and elegant Hardcover Classics series!  It will wonderfully complete my Jane Austen set!

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

The kind people at Penguin Group have kindly donated ONE lovely hardcover copy of Love and Freindship: and Other Youthful Writings for me to give away to ONE lucky winner!

Love and Friendship

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!!

  • This giveaway is open for US/CAN residents.  Thank you, Penguin Group!
  • This giveaway ends April 22nd!
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  43 Responses to “Love and Freindship: And Other Youthful Writings – Jane Austen + Giveaway!!!”

  1.  

    This sounds like a volume to treasure! I have only the old R. W. Chapman Oxford edition, which has a lot less information. I loved your analogy to Saturday Night Live! And how I envy you your first reading of all these works, especially Lady Susan. Am waiting with bated breath for the Whit Stillman movie of Lady Susan (bizarrely titled Love and Friendship). . . .

    •  

      It is indeed! 🙂 LOL! I’m glad you thought that was a fitting analogy!

      I think it was the perfect time for me to read these works for the first time. That is odd about the title of the Lady Susan movie…

  2.  

    I also have not read any of her early writings. Is this Lady Susan the same as was published?

    •  

      I hope you get the chance to read these works soon! They are a lot of fun! All of them are relatively short reads. This is the same Lady Susan that you will see published separately and included in other editions.

  3.  

    I enjoyed your review of the Juvenilia and
    Lady Susan is one of my favorite of her early works, too. (Just note my email…)
    This edition sounds just lovely, especially
    including Cassandra’s illustrations for the
    History of England.

    •  

      LOL! 🙂 But I’m sure you bear no other similarities to Lady Susan! I love that the sisters combined their talents together on such an endeavor…that makes it all the more special!

  4.  

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only Janeite who hasn’t read her Juvenilia, either! This edition has alot to offer– I’m interested in what the annotations have to say, for sure. Thanks for hosting this nice giveaway!

    •  

      Me too! 🙂 There was a lot of great background and insight in the annotations…Jane Austen seemed to be a fan of illegal weddings (meaning the characters would marry without proper license or the banns being read!)

  5.  

    I LOVE these covers! I have the P&P one along with other non Jane Austen books. I am a huge fan of her Juvenelia…History of England being my favorite. I don’t find it too surprising that you didn’t read the Juvenelia sooner. I think that most people read it last because it’s not a novel.

  6.  

    I’ve only read bits and pieces of her juvenilia along with Lady Susan, but at some point, I need to read them straight through. This annotated version does sound so lovely.

  7.  

    While I have read Lady Susan, I haven’t read most of the juvenilia. What a lovely book, would love to win a copy.

  8.  

    I loved her version of the history of England. Her youthful writings are very interesting. Don’t feel bad for just now getting around to them. I just happened to stumble upon them early in my Jane Austen love affair along with a copy of The Mysteries of Udolpho. Thank you for the giveaway. It is a beautiful edition.

  9.  

    I just have to have this book, it sounds lovely! Like you I had not read her earlier works but what better way to get an inside look at who she was. And I think reading her earlier works would be more enlightening, she would not have been as diligent about keeping herself out of the works, we may get to see more of her because her guard would be down.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Danielle C

  10.  

    I read & loved The History of England. It is a hoot & definitely made even better by Cassandra’s illustrations. I remember thinking her drawings of Henry VIII & Elizabeth were hilarious! I’ve never read Lady Susan. I’ve heard she’s rather wicked & wasn’t sure if I’d like her! 🙂 This book looks like a lovely edition & sounds very fun to read. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

    •  

      Their sense of humor is wicked, isn’t it? Lady Susan was manipulative and selfish, but the other characters in this tale were definitely more likable!

  11.  

    Thanks for your thougtful review,It shows the quality of the Book! By the way, don’t put me for the giveaway, you know I don’t live nor Usa nor Canadá, LOL 😉

  12.  

    *Heart eyes* Wow! I haven’t read these, either! Thank you for the chance to win this book!

  13.  

    I’ve never read her juvenilia either, and I’ve been a Janeite since I was about 10 and first read Emma. I would love to read this book! Great review.

  14.  

    Wow, great review. I’ve never read any of her early works.

  15.  

    I really like how you break down your review into the different sections! Very helpful.

  16.  

    Completely agree about the contextual notes! They’re always very helpful, especially in this case when it helps us to understand humor from a past era. Love the cover of this edition as well.

  17.  

    I am in love with Jane Austen, but for some reason I have never read her Junevilia. I’ve heard that The History of England is hilarious. Thanks for the review! I can’t wait to read it! I love how you compared her to a Saturday Night Live writer. It kind of puts her in a different light. She was an amazing writer who loved to laugh and make other people laugh. I recommend watching The Real Jane Austen (BBC) on YouTube. It’s a look into the life of Jane Austen.

  18.  

    I loved your review. It was very well organized. I love the fact that the volume had anmotstiomd so we understand her humor and are not left in a state of confusion. You have now whetted my appetite to read Jane’s Juvenelia.

    •  

      Thank you, Deborah! It would be definitely less understandable and humorous without the annotations! Glad I could entice you to consider these stories! 🙂

  19.  

    Meredith, Thank you for the excellent review. Although I have read Jane Austen’s youthful writings, I liked your “My Thoughts on this Edition”. Thank you for the giveaway! I would like to have this bound edition and would especially like to read the annotations to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of the writings.

    •  

      Thank you for reading my review, Eva!! It is such a lovely edition and the annotations really do make a huge difference in perception and understanding!

  20.  

    Love the review! I have read Lady Susan but I’m with you on the Juvenelia. I have never gotten around to reading them, I think I must remedy that! The edition is gorgeous!

    •  

      Thank you, Stephanie! I’m so happy to have finally read her Juvenilia! Now I can understand all the references made to them! Hope you get the chance to read them soon!

  21.  

    I enjoyed your review. Very insightful.

  22.  

    I, too, have only read Lady Susan. So this will have to be added to my TBR list! Thanks for your lovely review. Sounds very interesting and insightful.

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