One of Austen's earliest novels, Lady Susan is not only a wonderful character study, but it is the only time that Jane Austen deals with London high society.
(P)1987 Jimcin Recordings
I thoroughly dislike Lady Susan (the woman, not the book) from start to finish. Yet, every time I finish the book, I have to step back and give grudging admiration for this unprincipled, schemer. She got everything she wanted. Lady Susan got the much younger man she craved and got her daughter married into a family who at one time would have scorned to be associated with Lady Susan.
The more I think about the matter, the more I become convinced that the daughter and Lady Susan were executing a clever plot to accomplish their ends. The tears and lamentations of the daughter and the fury of Lady Susan were just part of the scheme, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
This is a book one loves to hate.
Composer, reader, hommus eater
I believe that Austen wrote this before she geared up to write longer form works, and chose to never have this published during her lifetime, and shows how she may have felt about about 'Lady Susan'. Certainly, it lacks the subtlety of character and rich language seen in her later known works - the insults and witticisms are less veiled, the characters (or moreover, Lady Susan herself) is a more a cut and dry villain: everything just seems a little rougher around the edges. And, perhaps more tellingly, it's written solely as a series of letters, which gives it the feel of being a literary exercise. But for people like myself, an Austen geek through and through (she's my go-to any time I need to feel better), it still has some of that sparkling chutzpah (even if less polished) so typical of the author. The only mildly irritating thing was the performer's accent - was she American? Was she British? It Whatever it was, it made me feel at odds with the text. Perhaps having been spoiled by British film adaptations of Austen made me cringe a little when I heard this weird amalgam of posh American/British. Alright, yes, I am a snob.
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