Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jane in June

Jane in June is a fantastic event being hosted by The Book Rat! You can check out the list of events here. This actually works out perfectly for me, because during the month of June (and part of July) I'm going to be taking an intensive course on the one and only Jane Austen! I'll be re-reading most of her novels over the next few weeks, and of course posting reviews! I'll also be hosting a couple of Jane Austen giveaways! I am a huge Austen fan - biting wit and dashing heroes, what more could a girl ask for? I love all of her novels, but my favorites would have to be Pride and Prejudice (of course), Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. Northanger Abbey is going to be my first Jane in June review! I feel like it's the Austen novel most frequently overlooked and it makes me sad because it is absolutely laugh-out-loud hilarious! Northanger is quite a bit different from the rest of Austen's novels - it's a gothic parody that mixes the chilling with the satirical, and places (slightly) less emphasis on the courtship plot. I can't wait to re-read this one! I'll also be reviewing Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion! You really can't go wrong with Austen. If you're already an Austen fan, I hope you enjoying revisiting some old favorites, and if you have yet to experience the awesomeness than is Jane, I hope you learn to love her just as much as I do! Below you'll find the details (from Barnes & Noble) on the classic Austen books I'll be reviewing - keep an eye out for them, and the giveaways that will take place in the coming month! UPDATE: I'll also be posting an essay on Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice towards the middle of the month!

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is CatherineMorland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' Thus memorably begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, one of the world's most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice—Austen's own 'darling child'—tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.

Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale. In the words of Eudora Welty, Pride and Prejudice is as 'irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.'

Emma Woodhouse is a wealthy, exquisite, and thoroughly self-deluded young woman who has "lived in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
Jane Austen exercises her taste for cutting social observation and her talent for investing seemingly trivial events with profound moral significance as Emma traverses a gentle satire of provincial balls and drawing rooms, along the way encountering the sweet Harriet Smith, the chatty and tedious Miss Bates, and her absurd father Mr. Woodhouse–a memorable gallery of Austen's finest personages. Thinking herself impervious to romance of any kind, Emma tries to arrange a wealthy marriage for poor Harriet, but refuses to recognize her own feelings for the gallant Mr. Knightley. What ensues is a delightful series of scheming escapades in which every social machination and bit of "tittle-tattle" is steeped in Austen's delicious irony. Ultimately, Emma discovers that "Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common."

Virginia Woolf called Jane Austen "the most perfect artist among women," and Emma Woodhouse is arguably her most perfect creation. Though Austen found her heroine to be a person whom "no one but myself will much like," Emma is her most cleverly woven, riotously comedic, and pleasing novel of manners.

In her final novel, as in her earlier ones, Jane Austen uses a love story to explore and gently satirize social pretensions and emotional confusion. Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.” Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart.

Austen may seem to paint on a small canvas, but her characters contain the full range of human passion and moral complexity, and the author’s generous spirit renders them all with understanding, compassion, and humor.


Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts this month! I love Jane :)

Misty said...

1) I love that cover of Persuasion (though I think it would look better on Mansfield, if that makes sense)
2) I need bloggers this month to highlight MP because if I'm being honest -- I just can't..something...I don't know. Fanny = grrr, and Mary = interesting until she turns out to be hartless, and Edmund = don't even get me started. A lot of people dis Northanger, but this the problem book for me.

The Bookish Type said...

Hey Felicia! I'm glad to find a fellow Janeite! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's thoughts on these novels as well!

Hey Misty! I can definitely see that cover on Mansfield Park! I totally agree with your comments about it - I have issues with that one as well. If you'd like, I can post a paper I wrote this past semester on the very things you mentioned (with an emphasis on a Darcy/Edmund comparison ;-)) to highlight MP! I'll shoot you an email about it.

Shelley/Book Fanatic said...

I think I'll highlight the biography Becoming Jane Austen....which is nothing like the movie! And I'll do something on Lady Susan, her novelette which rarely gets mentioned.

The Bookish Type said...

That's a really great idea! I can't wait to see what you do!

Darlyn said...

Hi Casey! You really have a wonderful plan to read them. I also participated in Jane in June and enjoy the event so much. I've plan to read Northanger Bay and Persuasion but unluckily my local libarary dont have them. I have to admit, i own no copy of her books but keep myself borrowing from the Library. I'm reading sense and sensibility at the moment and enjoy it so much.plan to read emma next and i also participate a readathon to read them all this month. good luck to you too!

anaivanus said...

I love all the books by Jane Austen. She's one of my favorite writers ever. I hadn't thought I could love classical books so much, but Jane Austen proved me I actually could!
I look forward to participating at the "Jane In June" giveaway. I hope that I'll have the luck to be the one winner outside USA (I'm from Romania :D) winning one of Jane's amazing books :)

LilMissMolly said...

Jane Austen is my all time favorite author!

salarsenッ said...

I am a huge fan of Austen! My small pink copy of Pride and Prejudice sits on my nightstand and will forever. I love Emma, too.

Aik said...

I loved reading Pride and Prejudice! :)

BonnieBlue said...

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. She is one of the authors that kick started my love of reading. Reading this page has made me want to read her books again since it has been several years since I read them.

skyla11377 said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jane Austen. The way she is able to tell a story fascinates me. If she was still alive she could get me to buy a phone book if she told me she wrote it that is how much I enjoy her work. Hats off to you for giving jane her due and devoting a whole month to her.

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