Love and Friendship

Love and Friendship

eBook - 2016
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Written in a series of letters to the daughter of a friend, Love and Friendship tells of a young girl's path to betrayal, by way of a seemingly ecstatic marriage. It is accompanied by The Three Sisters, another expertly crafted epistolary novel. When a noble youth arrives unannounced to request the hand of the matchless Laura, it seems their future is one of contentment and bliss -- that is until his family learn of the marriage and, one by one, reject the new bride. Such begins the series of unspeakable events that make up Laura's lot in life. But tragedy and comedy here go hand in hand as Austen delivers a stringent satire on drawing-room society, brilliantly heralding her later masterpieces.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] :, Hesperus Press,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781843913146
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE eBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (112 pages)
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May 03, 2017

The fact that Ms. Austen wrote these short stories/fictional letters as a teenager is absolutely stunning. The fact that the earliest fictional correspondence here contained was written when she was just 14 years old is beyond impressive: it points directly to Ms. Austen's true, innate, somehow still underrated genius.

Those things acknowledged, this is still hardly a perfect work of fiction: there are odd plot contrivances, thinly drawn characters, and awkward dialogue. It is an incredibly competent, if not technically flawless, showing. Within the collection we see rough sketches of seeds of characters yet to come, the formation of Ms. Austen's opinions (which will be so famously given years down the road), and the signature wit and comfort lampooning her own society that becomes the authors hallmark.

A joy.

Jul 27, 2016

"I hate scandal and I detest children."-character in "Lesley Castle
The recent film version of this short work, written before her great novels, will no doubt ignite some interest in her juvenilia, as they call it in the biz. This well-curated collection includes the title story and 5 other short pieces, as well as a short biography, timeline, notes, and illustrations. Definitely for the serious Austenite.

Jul 08, 2016

This is a partial collection of Jane Austen's juvenilia--the works she wrote as a young teen. It's NOT the basis for the 2016 film of the same name, which is based on Whit Stillman's adaptation of the unpublished Austen work "Lady Susan" (rather confusingly published as "Love & Friendship.")

This "Love and Friendship" is a novella in which Austen, age 14, satirizes Romanticism and fictional depictions of love in her time. It has some hilarious lines, but I found the over-the-top anti-heroine unsatisfying. Much better is the unfinished "The Three Sisters," which could have been alternate draft of Pride and Prejudice. The editors also include 5 fictional sketches they generously call short stories, though only one deserves the name, and a rather weak introduction by Fay Weldon.

All in all it's an interesting and very fast read that will appeal to lovers of Austen and literary history, though not a good introduction for others. I found it a great reminder of how funny Austen can be, and how relentlessly she mocked Romanticism. The latter is connected to some conservative political ideas about women's rights and other topics, and this book inspired me to reread Persuasion to see how her ideas evolved over time.

Jul 15, 2015

I couldn't get into this book so I only read three-quarters of it. The main problem I had was keeping all the characters straight.

I did enjoy Miss Austen's charm and wit though.

DanniOcean Aug 09, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette


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DanniOcean Aug 09, 2010

Yes, THAT Jane Austen. No, it is not a newly published, undiscovered manuscript (alas), but rather the earliest inklings of the author of the beloved classics Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion. In these, her early writings, the wit and sense of irony is already present – she not only makes fun of the society of her time, but also “high romantic” literature of her time; which instructs ladies, when in times of crises, to swoon, sigh and faint with passion - instead of doing anything remotely helpful – as this will allow them to catch their death of cold, thereby inducing more swooning with grief and dying. Ms. Austen’s characters suggest that women’s' jealousy of each other's beauty is of more importance than the care of their children or families, that suitors of "two-and thirty" should be considered "quite old", and a proficiency in delivering back-handed compliments is essential in polite society. That most of the stories are told from the perspective of ladies who would not know true affection and politeness if it bit them on the bustle is of no consequence; think of Pride and Prejudice as if it were written from the perspective of Lydia Bennett and you will understand my meaning. For example, the sudden deaths of husbands and lovers are inconveniences that prevent holidays rather than being the lamentable events that they should be. Many of the stories contained therein consist of a series of letters between a group of friends - though from the same author's pen, each lady has a distinct personality, and their different voices together round out the events - or rather, non-events - of each tale. And if the history of the English monarchy has always been a puzzle, Ms. Austen has provided her own version of events, in which Richard III must have been a respectable man (since he was from the House of York), and in which Elizabeth I was the villain and her cousin Mary was innocent of all treachery. How much of this should be taken as tongue-in-cheek may be determined by the reader, but to help, illustrations of some of these nefarious personages by Jane's sister Cassandra are provided in the book's opening pages. Love and Friendship is recommended for all of Ms. Austen's fans, or any person who highly regards wit combined with satire.

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