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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:41 am 
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the Pirate's Daughter

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It emerged during a conversation in the Bag End forum that Cerin had never read anything by Jane Austen. While the group here includes both fans and non-fans of Austen, this would appear to present a most intriguing opportunity for a group read-and-discuss project. For who will not be interested in reading the responses of Cerin during her first encounter with a giant of world literature?

But which novel? I love all of Austen's work, but for me there is no contest. I always recommend that newcomers to Austen start with Pride and Prejudice. It is one of the most beloved books in the English language. Though it was an early work - she wrote the first version in her early twenties - it is generally considered to be Austen's masterpiece. It contains two of Austen's best comedic characters in Lady Catherine and Mister Collins, and it has one of the most delightful heroines ever written in Elizabeth Bennet.

Austen herself had a criticsim of Pride and Prejudice. She wrote (much later, in a letter to her beloved sister Cassandra, after listening to P&P being read aloud to her family circle): "The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had; if not, of solemn specious nonsense, about something unconnected with the story; an essay on writing, a critique on Walter Scott, or the history of Buonaparté, or anything that would form a contrast, and bring the reader with increased delight to the playfulness and epigrammatism of the general style."

Speaking as a reader, I'm fine with the "light and bright and sparkling" though.

What say you? Any interest? Arguments about which novel?

(the edits are all for thread title changes)

Thread title edited by Prim on 1/25/06

Thread title edited again by Prim on 1/21/08


Last edited by Ethel on Sat May 20, 2006 1:35 am, edited 15 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:47 am 
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Thank you, Ethel! I'll put my vote in for Pride and Prejudice, too, but will be pleased with whatever we decide on.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:54 am 
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Another not-really-an-Austen-fan puts in a vote for P & P.

I hope to have my mind changed.
Scouts' honour.

:D

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:39 am 
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the Pirate's Daughter

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Sassafras wrote:
Another not-really-an-Austen-fan puts in a vote for P & P.

I hope to have my mind changed.
Scouts' honour.

:D


Oh, I shall be delighted if you take part. I do not in the least require you to be a convert. In fact the idea of reading P&P with a newcomer and a sceptic pleases me more than I can say, for generally one only gets to discuss Austen with long time fans. This will, I hope, permit of a wider range of discussion and opinion than usual.

One objection to Austen's work which she freely acknowledged was the limited scope of her novels. She wrote only of what she knew. There is not even a scene, in any of the novels, where two men talk together without female witnesses. Yet she was extremely well read, and well informed about current events. She lived during the Napoleonic wars and two of her brothers became admirals in the Royal Navy. But you'd not know any of that to read the novels (except for Persuasion where the RN is sort of a secondary character.) She once described her own work as "the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour."


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:23 am 
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LOL, by coincidence, all the links at the bottom of the page are:

'Austin Jane', 'Emma Jane Maternity' and 'Rent Jane Austin on CD' :rotfl:

Ooookay, after that completely Sense and Sensibility-less interlude . . .

I could go with Pride and Prejudice, gosh I think it's been over twenty years since I've read it. Of course, it's another one of those classics that somehow wandered out of my house never to return, I'll have to make a fast trip to the bookstore Monday . . .

:D:D:D

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:29 am 
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As I said in another thread, I have a Pride and Prejudice on my shelf waiting to be re-read after a long break, and I would welcome company. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:32 am 
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I am SO up for this!

So, would Cerin be, like, An Austen Virgin? Like the thread on another forum, A Tolkien Virgin, a thread I thought might be interesting but never looked into?

This is going to be fun.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:50 am 
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I'm in. I can read Pride and Prejudice anywhere, any time, in just about any order.

I have a little tiny "Oxford World Classics" hardcover that's a good bit smaller than a mass market paperback, and I often just carry it in my purse, because I can pull it out, open it anywhere, and dip in for three minutes or five minutes or whatever time I have to pass, enjoying myself thoroughly.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:51 am 
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I'd be willing to join in on this and perhaps see if the male perspective is any different to the female. I think I have a copy somewhere.

Alatar


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:08 pm 
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*claps hands excitedly*

What a wonderful mix of perspectives we should get! A virgin, a sceptic, a guy and a bunch of long-time admirers! :love:

After having seen the new movie (allow me a short swoooooon, please :D ), and realising I didn't have a clue what the book fans found wrong with it ( :oops: ), I'd be very happy to re-read P&P (I had meant to anyway, after the movie, and a little peer-pressure to get on with it can only be beneficial :D )

Wow, Prim, how lovely, just taking a bit of time out wherever you are and getting immersed in Austen for a few minutes! It's something I don't think I could do - when I'm outside in the real world, so to speak, I can't focus on that sort of thing, it makes two worlds clash for me, somehow, and I'm afraid the more fragile one would suffer. (This probably sounds silly.) :oops:

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:24 pm 
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Count me in! :)

I too recommend P&P.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:26 pm 
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This is going to be great! :D

truehobbit wrote:
Wow, Prim, how lovely, just taking a bit of time out wherever you are and getting immersed in Austen for a few minutes! It's something I don't think I could do - when I'm outside in the real world, so to speak, I can't focus on that sort of thing, it makes two worlds clash for me, somehow, and I'm afraid the more fragile one would suffer. (This probably sounds silly.) :oops:


It doesn't sound silly at all. I had to learn to do this when I had babies and small children, because if I didn't read in three-minute stretches in the bathroom or while the macaroni water boiled, I didn't read at all. When they slept, I slept, or else worked (editing work).

The price is that I lost the ability to drop into a book and read for hours, because it literally never happened; someone would interrupt me at least every ten or fifteen minutes. I'm trying to regain that capacity now, when uncharacteristically I do have hours to read in an empty house and every excuse just to sit on the couch—but it's hard. The mind still hops around, and there is always a list to be gotten to.

Perhaps I will make this practice for that as well.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:36 pm 
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the Pirate's Daughter

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What a great group! Cerin, Sassy, Scribbles, Frelga, vison, Prim, Alatar, Hobby, Queen B - welcome all!

Now, how do we want to do this? How structured do we want to try to be? I mean, do we want to try to make a reading schedule, or should we just let the "newbies" lead the way and have the re-readers respond, or what?

In my experience with group reads, using a schedule works best even if it is not strictly adhered to. Otherwise there's the problem of people getting ahead and posting possible spoilers.

I would appreciate suggestions, especially from Cerin and Alatar. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:39 pm 
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P&P, no contest. 8)

It's delightful, it's brilliantly crafted and the author allows herself to bitch about her own characters and gets away with it because she is so much in control of her material.

It's a masterpiece.

And it's gorgeously romantic: a triumph of Love over more pragmatic considerations.

"The work is rather too light, and bright, and sparkling; it wants shade; it wants to be stretched out here and there with a long chapter of sense, if it could be had ..."

Dear Jane, you undervalued it. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:01 pm 
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It's wonderful to see so many lovely folks signing up! I'm really glad you have decided to grace our company, Alatar, and add a male perspective. And yes, I guess you could call me an Austen virgin. :)

Ethel, my choice would be to have a schedule, that is, to name the chapter we're on; and I would love it if you would continue to lead the discussion and corral everyone in or whatever that involves, because I think you're obviously so good at it.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 7:45 pm 
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I'd prefer no spoilers... I have seen the BBC TV series, but have little recollection of the specifics. My pace will probably be in spurts, I read quickly but infrequently. Mainly because I tend to come to bed late after checking the latest posts and I dislike disturbing Mrs Alatar by turning on the light to read.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:56 pm 
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You could read in the living room! :P

I think it would be best to say which chapters we should have read by what time, and then we'd discuss only these chapters.
I'm not sure if it'll be entirely possible to discuss a book without ever referring to later parts of it, though, let's hear how others think about that.

Maybe we could just give some time before we start, to give people a chance to maybe read the whole book before discussion starts.
For example, we could wait for another week to even begin discussing, and then do a new chunk each week or two, depending on how much there is to say.
A quick reader can surely read the whole book in a week, an average reader like myself would prefer around three weeks, but even at that rate I'd have read the book very early on in the discussion.
Just some suggestions. :)

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Part of the fun I'm looking forward to, though, hobby, is getting Alatar and Cerin's thoughts on developments in the book as they read them for the first time. Unless no one else cares about that, I'd vote for trying to keep spoilers out of the discussion until we work our way to the end, when all of us can discuss the book as a whole.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:12 pm 
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That sounds best to me, too, Prim. Though I'm sure if a spoiler or two inadvertently finds its way into the discussion, it won't ruffle anyone's petticoats too much. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:33 am 
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Ah, that's a good point Prim!

Hadn't thought of the guinea-pig aspect here! :P

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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