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Lady Susan [Kindle Edition]

Jane Austen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Editorial Reviews


"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Jane Austen, England's first major female novelist, wrote and set her novels during the Regency period, when George III was too mad, and his son the Prince, who admired Austen's novels, too young to rule the country. Her six novels are best loved for their irony and perfection of form.Jane Austen perfected the English novel of the previous century in much the same way that Henry James perfected the Victorian novel. She never married and died in 1817 at age 41.

Product Details

  • File Size: 223 KB
  • Print Length: 95 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083ZXYB6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,779 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
135 of 144 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minor treasures from the Jane Austen treasure chest February 23, 2000
Jane Austen is known for six complete novels, each one a masterpiece. This Penguin Classics compilation features one novel unpublished in her lifetime and two unfinished fragments. This book is proof that even an incomplete Austen is better than no Austen at all.

"Lady Susan" is an epistolary novel whose eponymous anti-heroine, unlike the women featured in Austen's other works, is bad to the bone. When the book opens, Lady Susan, a stunningly beautiful widow in her upper thirties, has just been sent packing from the home of a family she had spent some months with, having been discovered carrying on a flagrant affair with the husband of the family, right under his wife's nose. She takes refuge with her kind-hearted brother and his sensible wife, who sees through Lady Susan from the day she enters the house and can't wait to see her leave.

Also in the home are Lady Susan's teenage daughter, who has been expelled from boarding school after attempting to run away so that she won't be forced into marrying the rich, fatuous nobleman her mother has picked out for her; and the younger brother of Lady Susan's sister-in-law, who has heard intimations about Lady Susan's unsavory reputation; in retaliation for his initial disdain, Lady Susan sets out to captivate him and succeeds so well that she has him on the brink of proposing marriage to her, despite the fact that he is 12 years younger than she is, much to the alarm of his family. It looks as though he is about to fall into her clutches, when a chance meeting between him and the wife of Lady Susan's lover blows all Lady Susan's machinations, as well as her reputation, to smithereens.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Though Lady Susan is considered part of Jane Austen's "juvenilia," having been written ca. 1805, it was not published till well after Jane Austen's death and is still not counted among her "six novels." In fact, this seventh novel, though not as thoughtful or thought-provoking as the "famous six," is one of her wittiest and most spirited. Written in epistolary style, it is the story of Lady Susan, a beautiful, recent widow with no conscience, a woman who is determined to do exactly what she wants to do, to charm and/or seduce any man who appeals to her, and to secure a proper marriage for her teenage daughter, whom she considers both unintelligent and lacking in charm.

Lady Susan, the character, has no redeeming qualities, other than her single-mindedness, and her problems, entirely self-imposed, show the extremes to which an unprincipled woman will go to ensure her own pleasure and ultimately a more secure, comfortable life. As Lady Susan manipulates men, women, and even her young nieces and nephews, her venality knows no bounds, and when she determines that her daughter Frederica WILL marry Sir James, a man who utterly repulses her, Lady Susan's love of power and her willingness to create whatever "truth" best suits her purpose become obvious.

Austen must have had fun writing this novel which "stars" a character who to appears to be her own opposite. While this novel is not a pure "farce," it is closer to that than anything else Austen ever wrote. Containing humor, the satiric depiction of an aristocratic woman of monstrous egotism, her romantic dalliances and comeuppances, and her ability to land on her feet, no matter what obstacles are thrown in her path, the novel is a light comedy in which the manners and morals of the period are shown in sharp relief--Lady Susan vs.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical Austen March 14, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short story is certainly not your typical Austen depicting a heroine's romance and then a happy ending. This story is in the form of letters, which was handled well, but I think limits Austen's story telling ability. In Lady Susan the heroine is in fact a manipulative villain with no redeeming qualities and I found myself frustrated with the other characters reactions to her schemes. I also thought the letter format limited character development and had this been in the form of her more traditional novels it might have been a very interesting story with a meddling mother and her daughter becoming our heroine. Worth a read but if you're a fan of Austen's novels this is quite a change of pace.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressions and deceptions. July 22, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Our capacity to form first impressions is a tendency Jane Austen examines in all her fiction. Her characters sometimes are shown to form incorrect impressions. Her characters often strive to give false impressions. None of her fictional characters is so preoccupied with setting up a public image in order to gain her own ends as is the Lady Susan who gives this novella its name. Lady Susan is the archetypal coquette, the skilled deceiver. She is Thackeray's Becky Sharp, fifty years before her time.
Jane Austen plays the game of deception with us too. In this novella, which is almost entirely in epistolary form, we form the impression from reading Lady Susan's first letter, that she is a grieving widow, devoted to the care and education of her 16 year old daughter, and willing at last to accede to her brother-in-law's pressing invitation to stay with him and his family. Wrong! We too have been duped, as we soon discover.
Jane Austen first drafted several of her novels in epistolary form, that is to say, in the form of letters exchanged by her characters. This one, which may have been the earliest of all her surviving works, alone remained in this form. And great fun it is, although Lady Susan's contriving and heartlessness, especially in regard to her daughter, sometimes goes beyond the comic to the cruel.
Naxos has added to the fun that this "entertainment" can provide by issuing the novella in audio book form. Seven actors are allocated the parts of the seven letter writers. Furthermore, there is no abridgement of the text, and there are some snatches of music that serve to provide breaks between the letters and indicate the passing of time. Altogether, an ideal production.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen fan!
As expected. Love her novels.
Published 6 days ago by Irish Dutchess
3.0 out of 5 stars No heroine?
Doesn't quite seem like an Austen novel without a lead heroine, Lady Susan is more of an anti-heroine not likeable at all. A cross between Lucy Steel and Caroline Bingly. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Bert
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy, enjoyable, one sitting read.
And I thought the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was such an original book. Little did I know Jane Austen wrote a book solely in letters long ago. Read more
Published 16 days ago by toobusyreading
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!
Really short but really great as are all of austen's works.
Published 22 days ago by skatesforfun842
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick Austen read...
Happy to read anything by Ms. Austen! This was a quick read. Not as fantastic as her other novels, but this is a short story in the form of a series of letters.
Published 25 days ago by C. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Jane Austin novel.
As all of her books, historical look into the past; the lives of the wealthy men and women. It seems that, especially of women, they are preoccupied with the affairs of the hearts. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Website
3.0 out of 5 stars Experimental Austen
Interesting way to tell a story but not one of her best.. Lady Susan's tale is told through an exchange of letters among the various characters . Read more
Published 1 month ago by B. Pocker
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Susan
This is short and a wonderful read.
Published 1 month ago by Maria Elena Streicher
4.0 out of 5 stars Reason for the 4 stars
Gave it 4 stars as it was a bit short and I was enjoying it so much I wanted it to continue.
Published 1 month ago by MJ Nichols
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth one read but not two
It was interesting enough to finish reading but not one I am likely to read again. I found the conclusion of the book to be lacking, so the satisfaction I usually get when... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jessica
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