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review 2013-12-13 00:00
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon

1.5 stars


My issues with this book are many in number.


In fact I have heard it said (although I'm not sure if true) that Fay Weldon did not actually intend for this book to get published.


If that is the case, I can certainly see why.


I usually enjoy epistolary novels however, with Letters to Alice I found the content dry and difficult to navigate. I feel like I really didn't get much out of the book (this may be biased because it was a In-Class text for my final school exams). But honestly, all I remember is that one phrase about Alice's Black and Blue hair plus all of that information about her affair with a lecturer. In regards to the discussion of Jane Austen and her times, I cannot recall anything (save for the Prostitute statistics).


Although thin, it took me a very very long time to read this book as I simply did not enjoy it.

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review 2013-05-10 00:00
Jane Austen's Letters - Deirdre Le Faye,Jane Austen At first glance this letter collection may just seem like trivial tales of an uneventful everyday life - but under the trifling discussions of silk stockings, dinner menus and minor balls lies the heart of the most accomplished writer who ever lived.

These letters offer intimate insights in Jane Austen's way of thinking, reasoning and living. This book is the most direct impression one could ever gain of Jane Austen herself. And it is fascinating.
From the loving, gentle and comforting letters to her sister and relatives, to the formal business correspondence concerning her novels, her endearing childhood rhymes composed for the amusement of her nieces, her harsh and sarcastic portrayals of her surroundings and acquaintances, and the mournful accounts of death and loss; these letters show Jane Austen from as many angles as humanly possible.
Of course I delighted in the letters that involved literary criticism and details of her reading material along with her own reflections on the construction of her novels, but I also enjoyed forming a clear picture of her simple everyday life.

As I reached the last letters, and finally read Cassandra's grievous account of Jane's death, I felt like I had gotten to know my literary idol a bit better. Because, after all, this is not insignificant letters of an important author; it is touchingly real pieces of a blessed human being.
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photo 2013-04-11 15:24

I live for second-hand book shopping. Whenever I feel the slightest bit down I head straight for the charity shops. Oxfam are particularly good for old and interesting books, including this lovely hardback copy of Brideshead Revisited (which is also beautifully illustrated). To be honest, getting first pick of the donated books is one of the perks of volunteering there;) I’ve also picked up Lark Rise to Candleford, a Penguin book on Victorian Literature and a volume of Jane Austen’s letters! Thoroughly satisfying:)

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review 2013-03-06 00:00
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon Ah. Compulsory school reading. Isn't it delightful?!

I think it a slight flaw of the school system to make books that are as boring as hell compulsory (actually Hell would probably be a bit more exciting, all fiery and whatnot). Why? Do these people like torturing kids? Do they get a perverse pleasure out of turning our brains to goo?

Answer: yes. Yes they do.

This book can be summed up as so:
- Coconuts fall from trees
- Jane Austen is cool but radical
- Midwifery is a hazardous occupation
- Crocodiles put a stopper on the imagination
- Canberra is thrilling
- Women who bake bread for their husbands are not feminists
- Nothing that Fay Weldon says can be taken at face value

I will now go off to hide this book in corner and proceed to forget it ever existed. :)
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review 2011-02-02 00:00
The Illustrated Letters of Jane Austen - Penelope Hughes-Hallet I am having a nice, cozy read of my friend's books while snowed in at her house. She had to go out to work at 7 a.m. so I am helpfully petting her cat and drinking her tea whilst she puts in a 12-hour work day like most folks back in Jane Austen's day.

This is the easy-reading version of Austen's letters: edited for length and interest, explained for importance and context, with pictures. I liked the illustrations, would have preferred the letters at full length, and hated the marginalia. I usually like marginalia, but this was more like summaries for the brain-damaged; a half-page letter where Jane describes to Cassandra the dress she just made and how much the fabric cost does not need a caption explaining, "Jane tells her sister about her new dress."

Recommended for those with a more casual interest in Austen or the domestic life of the period.
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