The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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June 12, 2016

Love & Friendship, In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated

...{the full title given above to distinguish this book from Miss Austen's unfinished  Love and Friendship, which is entirely different. :) }

If one is ill-advised enough to read Lady Susan -- as I did, many years ago -- one risks being taken in by libel, slander, argufication, despisefying, and false witness, all presented by a spinster authoress with pretensions toward being a great novelist. Thank goodness, Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca, languishing in prison, has taken on the 'sacred obligation' of letting us know that 'Lady Susanna Grey Vernon was my aunt — and the kindest, most delightful woman anyone could know, a shining ornament to our Society and Nation,' challenging the 'insinuations and accusations' made against her, and sharing the true story 'concerning the Beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, Her Cunning Daughter, & the Strange Antagonism of the DeCourcy Family.'  {Not to be confused, btw, with the other DeCourcy family, although perhaps this is not a coincidence.}

Also, Mr. Martin-Colonna's publisher has made the dubious decision to include the original manuscript, most likely in a misguided attempt to attract readers to the horrid authoress' 'final so-called 'novels.'  Until he gives up in despair, halfway through, this appendix also include notes that address her 'habitual slanders and falsehoods.'

Note on Letter the Twelfth:  If more evidence of this account's falseness were needed — which I do not think it is — the actual difference between Reginald's and Lady Susan's ages was thirteen years, not 'twelve' as the anonymous Lady has it here.

Delicious stuff. I haven't seen Mr. Stillman's film yet -- it opened here a few weeks ago, so I will! -- but I have a feeling the book and the movie will go well together, as they were undoubtedly meant to.


Frances said...

I have to admit that I did not enjoy the novel/novella. But that won't keep me from seeing the film and hoping they have taken some liberties with the story so as to make it more fun for me. :)

Vintage Reading said...

I must see the film, too. I'm planning a re-read of Mansfield Park over the summer. I ought to re-read Love and Friendship, too. Enjoyable posts!

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I saw the film last weekend and really, really enjoyed it. Hope you're able to see it before too long!

JoAnn said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the film. Lady Susan was a favorite when I read it in 2011 during the Art of the Novella event!

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