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Thread: New to Austen

  1. #1

    New to Austen

    Hey, I'm new to Jane Austen but i have to study her books for when I start A levels in september so I was wondering if you could suggest one of books that is relatively easy to read. Thanks!

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    kwizera mir's Avatar
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    i've heard that pride and prejudice is very good - i'm only just starting to read it now, but everyone i've talked to loved it.

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    Metamorphosing Pensive's Avatar
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    I loved Pride and Prejudice and then I started Emma in hope that it would be good too, but to my astonishment, it was extremely boring.
    I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew.

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    I don't consider Emma a boring book at all. Both the book and the character Emma herself are realistic and entertaining. Her shortcomings, which are more clearly shown than those of Elizabeth Bennet's, make her very endearing to me.

    I found Northanger Abbey the easiest one to read. It does not require the analytical reading Austen's other books do, I think (and it is relatively shorter as well).
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 03-03-2006 at 01:39 PM.
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  5. #5
    Metamorphosing Pensive's Avatar
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    Emma might be realistic but I found the novel very slow-moving and not full of action, so it did not appeal me at all.

    To me, Pride and prejudice was five times better than Emma.
    I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew.

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    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    only five?

    Now I love mansfield park. I just do. A;lthough I belive it may well be the longest of her books
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  7. #7
    Pensive and Nightshade,
    Could you say why Emma is boring? I never thought I would say this but I agree with Scheherazade here. Emma is far more fully developed and engaging than Eliza Bennet. Austen’s incisive, penetrating observations are masterful in Emma. The two novels are not dissimilar – Pride and Prejudice is Emma with the colour saturation and brightness buttons turned up.

  8. #8
    I agree with the unnamable. Of the 3 Austen books I've read - P&P, Northanger Abbey and Emma - I much preffered Emma. I think this could be because of my age when I read them all (over 30) and the type of book that I tended to prefer by then. Emma's wit is internalised for the most part. We see her thoughts on the page. In P&P, the wit is more in the form of dialogue, which tends to be more obvious and easier to digest. The long paragraphs, unbroken with speech, can be a little off-putting when reading Emma.

    Given your age (just approaching A levels) I would probably recommend reading Pride & Prejudice if you want to get an idea of Austen, it's an 'easier' read (although there is nothing really 'hard' about Emma - it's not Ullyses!)

    The main thing is to bear in mind that Austen is writing with tongue firmly in cheek in all of these books. She is poking fun at the behavoir and beliefs of her day in an extremely ironic and often subtle way. Read with this in mind, you can share and enjoy her little jokes at her characters' expense.

    And above all, enjoy.

  9. #9
    Metamorphosing Pensive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable
    Pensive and Nightshade,
    Could you say why Emma is boring? I never thought I would say this but I agree with Scheherazade here. Emma is far more fully developed and engaging than Eliza Bennet. Austen’s incisive, penetrating observations are masterful in Emma. The two novels are not dissimilar – Pride and Prejudice is Emma with the colour saturation and brightness buttons turned up.
    I have already said that I found "Emma" boring because it was a little slow-moving. I am talking about the novel "Emma" not about the heroine. I admit that the heroine was realistic, intelligent, etc but in my humble opinion, even if a single character is better than the other, it does not make the whole novel better and there are many more things in a novel to be counted than a single character only. Plot, other characters than the heroine, style of writing and other things are also to be considered.
    I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew.

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    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    Talking

    OOps I never menat I found Emma boring In fact I love it no, it was the expression. Id never use a litle number like 5 to express and opion Id say a hundred or 50 or twice as good.
    I like emma for the sarcasm ad the fact that you just cant like her. yet you do. While P&P is justthat. I like some of the charcters and hate soem and just feeel pity for others. in fact I actually if I have to think about it would find it a tad boring and irritating. I find Mr bennet incredibly annoying. Bu what has always ammused me most has got to be "Fitz" I mean If you take what it means to have fitz in your name. ahh well its amusing.
    I suppose I love MP becasue everyone got whats was coming to them and Fanny never changed her mind not once.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by “Pensive”
    I have already said that I found "Emma" boring because it was a little slow-moving. I am talking about the novel "Emma" not about the heroine. I admit that the heroine was realistic, intelligent, etc but in my humble opinion, even if a single character is better than the other, it does not make the whole novel better and there are many more things in a novel to be counted than a single character only. Plot, other characters than the heroine, style of writing and other things are also to be considered.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you bristle. Obviously, it’s a matter of taste. I think you are of the opinion that Pride and Prejudice is more dramatic than Emma, which I’d tend to agree with, although I think the drama is simply less glittering in Emma. It focuses more on the intricacies of thought and behaviour than on the performance. There are also fewer grotesque caricatures. I suppose I will always choose character over plot – and as for style of writing, I don’t think she was ever as assured in her style as she is in Emma.


    Quote Originally Posted by “Nightshade”
    OOps I never menat I found Emma boring In fact I love it no, it was the expression. Id never use a litle number like 5 to express and opion Id say a hundred or 50 or twice as good.
    I like emma for the sarcasm ad the fact that you just cant like her. yet you do. While P&P is justthat. I like some of the charcters and hate soem and just feeel pity for others. in fact I actually if I have to think about it would find it a tad boring and irritating. I find Mr bennet incredibly annoying. Bu what has always ammused me most has got to be "Fitz" I mean If you take what it means to have fitz in your name. ahh well its amusing.
    I suppose I love MP becasue everyone got whats was coming to them and Fanny never changed her mind not once.
    Sorry for misunderstanding. I love Mr. Bennet:

    ""Oh! my dear,'' continued Mrs. Bennet, "I am quite delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome! and his sisters are charming women. I never in my life saw any thing more elegant than their dresses. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown --''

    Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against any description of finery."


    Quote Originally Posted by “Xamonas Chegwe”
    Given your age (just approaching A levels) I would probably recommend reading Pride & Prejudice if you want to get an idea of Austen, it's an 'easier' read (although there is nothing really 'hard' about Emma - it's not Ullyses!)
    Sense and Sensibility should also appeal to anyone who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.

    There is a lovely moment with a rather unsociable Mr. Palmer:

    “Lady Middleton could no longer endure such a conversation, and therefore exerted herself to ask Mr. Palmer if there was any news in the paper.

    "No, none at all," he replied, and read on.”


  12. #12
    Unnameable,
    what do you mean when you say the word 'grotesque'. You said that there were fewer grotesque caricatures.
    That intrigues me. That very word is a rather harsh and hideous word in itself, so I was just wondering.

  13. #13
    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    where did he ay that? Oh yes hummm I suppose though when it comes to it all of the austen chracters are fantasticall grotesque ( not as in gross but as in enoromus over the top exagerrations of one feature) and yet sadly Ive met quite a few of them in real life.
    or should that be happily?
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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unnamable
    I never thought I would say this but I agree with Scheherazade here.
    Ah another one sees the light!


    I think Austen's later novels have a sharpness and ingenuity that earlier ones lack. They are all very entertaining social and psychological commentaries but Pride and Prejudice and Emma raise above the others. The only reason I hesitate to call Emma my favorite Austen novel is the Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax affair. Even though I like the way these characters are developed and their purpose in the book, their affair seems a little far-fetched to me.

    I think Mansfield Park is my least favorite, closely followed by Sense and Sensibility (too much drama for my liking... In my opinion, Austen is at her best when she is cruelly sarcastic).

    Night>I won't even start on Mr Bennet as we spent hours discussing him. You have to love that man!
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    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    NO you dont, I enjoyed him the first few times I read P&P but now he just grates on my nerves. Infact when I think about there is not a single parental figure in All the Austin novels (Barring LOve and friendshp which I havent read) that I can approve of, some I like because of how ridculous they are but they still aqnnoy me alot.
    My mission in life is to make YOU smile
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    Forum Rules- You know you want to read 'em

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