February 4, 2016
Looking Back - My Dear Cassandra
Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.
My Dear Cassandra: Selections from the Letters of Jane Austen (Penelope Hughs-Hallett, editor)
Nonfiction - Epistolary
1990 Collins & Brown
Finished in January 1996
Rating: 3/5 (So-so)
It has been said that Jane Austen the woman and Jane Austen the author are all of a piece, and nowhere is this more evident to the lovers of her novels than in the pages of her letters. This new celebration of these letters is illustrated with portraits, facsimile letters, topographical engravings and fashion plates, and aims to bring to life the world Jane Austen inhabited. Although the book follows a broadly chronological scheme, the letters are arranged round visual themes considered particularly suitable for illustration, such as the Hampshire countryside, social life in Bath and London, domestic pursuits, paying visits and traveling by carriage. The author, who was born in Jane Austen's Hampshire village, lectures on English Literature for the Open University and the Oxford University Department of External Studies. Her special interest is 19th-century children's literature and she has compiled an anthology, "Childhood".
My Original Notes:
A wonderful look into Jane Austen's life through letters to her sister, Cassandra. Full of biographical information, as well as the original letters. Reading the letters was actually tedious and more secondary than the biography and side notes.
I read this prior to my book club meeting for Sense & Sensibility, so I'd have additional information on Jane's life to contribute to the discussion.
My Current Thoughts:
A "wonderful look" might be a bit of a stretch. I love epistolary works, but as I vaguely recall, this was a chore. I no longer own the book, so I can't flip through it to see if the annotations were really any more interesting than the letters. No rating at the time, so I give it an average 3/5.