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10 thoughts on “The Complete Novels

  1. says:

    Here’s my list of Austen novels, from favourite to least favourite:

    1. Persuasion- My favourite Austen! It is the shortest and the one with the most enduring romance plot. And it is also the one where she attacks society with the most vigour. Not a word is wasted: it is compact and moves quickly.

    “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”


    2. Sense and Sensibility- Two protagonists for the price of one! I didn’t actually know how this one would end, which kept it interesting. The romances are usually quite predictable. Austen also explores ideas of the picturesque and how higher society often pretend to appreciate what they clearly don’t understand. A sharp piece of writing.

    “The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”


    3. Northanger Abbey- This was my first Austen. And I loved the way she defended the novel and reading throughout. Though she was an advocate of proper reading and not becoming disengaged from reality to the point where you think your life is a gothic romance. A very amusing read!

    “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”


    4. Pride and Prejudice- Austen is not interested in fleeting moments of heat and sexual lust; she portrays true and lasting romantic attachments, relationships that are strong and real. For her, such things transcend class boundaries, wealth and intelligence. And I enjoyed seeing the characters realise this.

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”


    5. Emma- Austen attacks society again very strongly here, though I think the novel lacked a real plot driver. It was saved in my estimation by a very compelling heroine who knew exactly what she wanted from life and sought after it. Emma isn’t a woman to be walked over.

    “I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control. ”


    6. Mansfield Park- What can I say? The only Austen I didn’t give five stars. It was just boring with an absent protagonist. I was glad to finish it.

    “I was quiet, but I was not blind.”


    What do you think? Do you agree with my list? I would love to hear other people's

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  2. says:

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

    --"Pride and Prejudice"

    This famous opening may not hold true in this day and age, but I would definitely acknowledge the truth that Jane Austen is, hands down, a genius! I could now honestly say, that I have never encountered an "Austen" I didn't like (and since I've read all of them... NEVER!). All the novels accurately portray the realities of their day, the plotting and scheming for social or monetary advancement, the love triangles, and how true love can overcome all adversities even though life will always remain imperfect.

    Austen was gifted with a keen observation of human nature and possessed a refined sense of the satirical, a master at setting off events with the clash of weak versus strong characters, and how all things will settle themselves for better or worse, depending on the choices each person makes. More so, Austen wasn't a radical, she wasn't suggesting that women burn their corsets and hold out for a better deal. She was just describing life as she saw it, with frankness and humor that can be rare in the genre nowadays. She knew that relations between men and women could be complicated, messy, and frustrating-- and that's just the way she liked it.

    Her books are modest and witty, courageous and beautiful and who can resist the charm and simple sincerity of characters like Mr. Darcy? I believe the books are still relevant in today’s society. We can still very much relate to her stories. To say that I am a fan of Jane Austen is an understatement, I am over the moon for her!

  3. says:

    Okay, hands down, Jane Austen is a genius! Who, on this earth and at the tender age of 21, could write a book as brilliant as Pride and Prejudice? I don’t think I know many people – let alone 21 year olds – who have such a deep understanding of the inner workings of human nature and character and who are then able to portray that understanding in to words on paper so beautifully and perfectly like Jane Austen did in her books – especially Pride and Prejudice. But we certainly cannot forget the genius and beauty of Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion or Lady Susan – not that I’ve read Lady Susan but if it’s anything like Ms. Austen’s other novels then I’m sure it’s very well worth the read. Jane Austen is a love story genius – a genius in understanding people – a genius in writing. Jane Austen understood women very well and I believe that’s why we love her so much. Her books are modest and witty, courageous and beautiful and who can resist the charm and simple sincerity of characters like Mr. Darcy? I believe the books are still relevant in today’s society. We can still very much relate to her stories. To say that I am a fan of Jane Austen is to put it mildly. I greatly admire her talent.

  4. says:

    I LOVE Jane Austen- I try to read her once a year. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are true classics, and Emma and Persuasion are also wonderful. I cannot personally stand Fanny Price from Mansfield Park, but even a so-so Jane Austen is better than your average bestseller today.

    Austen's ability to expose the foibles of her characters without actually holding them in disdain is what makes her books so enjoyable. Can you eviscerate someone with a fluffy knife? Not a good image, but in probing the psyches of her characters she shows a true understanding of human nature that is as valid today as it was then. There are so many Mrs Norrises in the world, and yet Lizzies and Darcys and Elinors seem to be in short supply. Nevertheless, there's enough wit and comedy and family and sisterhood and loyalty and friendship to keep you happy, if you go for that sort of stuff.

  5. says:

    I used to share Mark Twain's sentiments ...

    Mark Twain was not an admirer of Jane Austen’s work as he once declared: “I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read “Pride and Prejudice” I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

    My first introduction to Austen’s famous romances was “Pride and Prejudice”. Like Mark Twain, her writing style grated on my nerves so much I could not finish the book. While I believe in respecting the rest of the departed, I too was ready to get a shovel, disturb the author’s grave and brutally pummel into dust what Mark Twain may have missed. Disappointed, I abandoned “Pride and Prejudice” and eventually made a second attempt years later. By that time, I had hoped the chronological lapse would alter my prejudice against her style, forgive the pun, but it still had the same effect on my nerves, but at least I finished the book.

    Lo and behold, by some miraculous intervention I was persuaded to try again to see if I could appreciate her work, and this time not just with one novel, but to plough through all her famous books. If you cannot judge a book by its cover, surely we should not judge an author by one book alone? Especially Austen, someone who has withstood the test of time and has entered the history books as one of England’s most famous authors. Would it be possible to overcome my prejudice that had become as unrelenting as Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s towards the mysterious Mr. Darcy?

    To be honest, it was a struggle at first. I found myself flipping through the novels and wondering when would I get to the end. “Pride and Prejudice” still stuck in this category for me, “Sense and Sensibility” was also difficult, but after these two, I realized it was just the writing I disliked, get over it! Once I could turn a blind critical eye to her style and concentrate on the stories, the true talent of Austen began to shine through: her unique ability to portray the various characters of the landed gentry of the early 1800s in Regency Britannia, the plotting and scheming for social or monetary advancement, the love triangles, and how true love can over come all adversities even though life will always remain imperfect. Austen was gifted with a keen observation of human nature and possessed a refined sense of the satirical, a master at setting off events with the crash and collision of weak versus strong characters and how all things will settle themselves for better or worse depending on the choices each person makes.

    “Sense and Sensibility” ~ After a death in the family, the once wealthy Dashwoods are reduced in their monetary means and are compelled by their change in circumstances to move to a humble cottage on the estate of a distant relative. Can the Dashwood sisters weather the trials of meagre living and find true love among the eligible men from the higher echelons of society now that they must suffer their reduced circumstances?

    “Pride and Prejudice” ~ Ah yes, the handsome Mr. Darcy, but out of misplaced pride he snubs Elizabeth Bennet on their introduction. Consequently she perceives him to be cold and aloof, sparking her prejudice against him despite his fortune and good looks. Will ever the twain meet?

    “Mansfield Park”~ Fanny Price, a girl from a poor family, is taken in as a ward by her wealthy uncle at Mansfield Park. Fanny is treated as a second class member of the household due to her charity status, but she valiantly suffers through the continual belittlement she suffers. However, an offer of marriage is made to her by someone she detests and the offer is forced upon her by her uncle as a fit match, her ward duly reminding her in so many words of her previous circumstances. As a charity case she could not expect to find anyone better. If she had not been raised in the elegant, refined setting of Mansfield, she would not find anyone in the social circles that mattered, and therefore should take what is on offer. Why, she should be grateful to accept someone who, knowing her former status, has condescended to take an interest in her, and whom he deems to be a fit spouse for her! Will shy, quiet Fanny have the courage to stand up for herself despite appearing ungrateful to her uncle?

    “Emma” ~ The delightful tale of a girl who thinks she knows everyone’s heart and is ignorant of her own takes it upon herself to play matchmaker for her acquaintances to the amused chagrin of Mr. Knightly, a family friend. Poor Emma is in for a surprise when her games of love go awry. Will it all end as happily as she envisioned?

    “Northanger Abbey” ~ Catherine, the daughter of a clergyman, is invited by a family friend to visit the famous spa town of Bath with them. While there she meets a dashing young gentleman who soon catches her eye and her heart, however, another bachelor attempts to monopolize her time and keep her away from the attentions of anyone else. Can Catherine ditch the self-centred control freak and be allowed to pursue the man who mystifies her?

    “Persuasion” ~ Ah, young love! Anne has fallen in love with a captain in the navy, but is persuaded against the match by her aristocratic connections, reasons that all seemed good at the time. Years later, the lovers cross paths and Anne discovers her love is still very much alive. Can there be any hope when in earlier years there was much opposition to their match? More importantly, does he still feel the same way about her after she had rejected his offer?

    “Lady Susan” ~ an epistolary novel told through letters. Lady Susan is a devil-may-care socialite who has squandered her fortune makes life a misery for her family and friends. She continues to do so, scheming and plotting for her own ends and welfare. She is manipulative and cunning, and is especially cruel to her daughter Frederica because she is too much like her father and his family, whom she despises. Will Frederica find her true love, or be steered into marriage with a man she has no respect for?

    My personal favourites are “Northanger Abbey”, “Lady Susan”, and “Emma”.
    “Northanger” is filled with colourful descriptions of the social life at Bath, and Austen’s satire on the public’s fascination with gothic novels was quite amusing indeed, a fun blend of gothic mystery with a humorous, bracing wake-up call to reality displaying the ambitious, greed-filled folly of human nature. “Lady Susan” and the depraved depths that vixen will go to deceive all around her for her own ends was a fascinating character study, so was “Emma” with her playful scheming to arrange the love lives of those closest to her, a capricious innocent tale in comparison with “Lady Susan”! One theme I find interesting in Austen’s writings is the ‘semi-outcast’ family member who is treated harshly but manages to find happiness such as Anne in “Persuasion” and Fanny Price in “Mansfield Park”. A second theme is ‘toxic relationships’ as seen with overbearing parents or guardians, for instance, Fanny’s uncle in “Mansfield Park”, “Lady Susan”, and General Tilney in “Northanger Abbey”. Obviously, Austen seemed to be fascinated with these topics and explored them in different settings.

    The final verdict: At long last, I can finally appreciate most of Austen’s work, hurray! I am giving it the full five stars because her development of characters and social situations makes for fascinating reading when you get right down to it. I still have not quite warmed up to “Pride and Prejudice”, but who knows? I promise to give it another chance, I may become the admiring convert, prejudice finally exchanged for undying appreciation.

    About the book itself, the edition I am referring to is printed by Wordsworth Library Collection, Wordsworth Editions Limited, (2007). ISBN 978-1-84022-556-3. This version is missing the novel “Sanditon”, probably due to the fact Austen never finished it. I also heard that “Pride and Prejudice” is missing a line in this edition, but as I am not an Austen expert, I do not know if this is true or not. For those of you who like footnotes, this book does not have them, so if you are looking for detailed historical explanations as you read, you will have to invest in another edition. I always find the Oxford World Classics editions very informative if you are inclined to learn more about the historical background of a book. As for the hardback quality, this particular edition is covered in cloth with gold etching for the title, and features a sticker with on the front for the image, not a embossed image printed directly into the cover. The pages are actually thin, the paper more suited for a pocketbook paperback, but if treated well, the book should not fall apart. It does present a pleasing presentation, and looks delightful on a collector’s shelf. However, if you tend to be rough on books, you might want a more sturdy edition.

    E.A. Bucchianeri, author.

  6. says:

    What hasn't been said about Jane Austen? Not only is she arguably the greatest female writer of all time, she is also arguably one of the greatest writers of all time. She is in the same status as Shakespeare and Dickens. Chances are you've heard her name if you are a reader. I still think she is important to English literature as well as the language.

    I was never really fond of Austen before reading her books. For the longest time I thought she was either this snooty bitchy writer or she was chick-lit that attracted hopeless romantics. After watching Becoming Jane and actually reading her books, I was proven wrong. I fell in love with Austen's writing. She's not my favorite author, but I now have a better understanding of her works. Kind of proves the point that you shouldn't have critical thoughts about authors you've never read before. Sometimes you're right, but most of the time you are wrong.

    One thing I've kept saying while reading this massive book was about Austen's writing. I was kind of blown away by it all. She can write. Her vocabulary is quite impressive. It's as if she is carefully picking the words she writes rather than writing a book with a silly plot that doesn't make any sense. It's also impressive that she was a bestseller at her time, let alone being a woman writer. Maybe sometime in the distant future I'll have to reread this book again.

    My Top 7 (There are only 7 books in this collection by the way)
    1. Northanger Abby
    2. Emma
    3. Pride and Prejudice
    4. Mansfield Park
    5. Persuasion
    6. Sense and Sensibility
    7. Lady Susan

    NOTE: I wrote some individual reviews of each book if you are interested on there pages.

  7. says:

    Jane Austen can be deemed one of the best classic authors of all time. Women have loved her for ages and rightly so. Her stories are filled with characters who are well rounded and believable. The only novels I didn't like were Emma and Mansfield Park. Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion I liked the most.

    It was interesting to read these "chick lit" novels from a man's point of view. As a guy, I'm not the mushy-gushy kind. I like my Les Miserables, Count of Monte Cristo, and War and Peace. When I told my family I was reading Jane Austen they looked at me like "Ermegerd you are?" Yes, yes, I did. They never thought I would read her books based on my interests. However, I've gotta say, these books are not just "chick lit" because there is something everyone can take away from these books.

    The main thing I took away from the Jane Austen novels was how people dressed. Women weren't dressed immodestly with boobs hanging out and men weren't wearing their pants below their ass. People dressed to impress. Between you and me, there's nothing more sexy than a modest woman. Women who wear dental floss on a daily basis immediately turn me off. All that comes to mind is "girl is putting out" and "walking std". When a woman walks with confidence and wears modest clothing immediately makes me think how she's secure with herself, intelligent, doesn't care what people say/think, and dignified.

    No one wears nice clothes anymore unless they have white collar job, and even then it seems some are casual dress. Kids today can wear pajamas to school. Where's our dignity today? Seriously!

    Now, brings me to my last point. Masculinity. Women have read these books since forever and I've always heard them goo-goo and ga-ga over Mr. Darcy and other men in these books. Why? It's because they are masculine men. These men are gentleman, good, kind, and respectful. Girls like that. However, today, the masculine man is being demonized.

    Today, the word rouses a negative connotation. Men are "oppressors" and women are "the oppressed." People get an image of perverted, sex-crazed, rapist Zeus when they think of masculinity. That is a very very small percentage of men. Society has demonized masculinity today, and made Feminism consume everything. I'm not against a girl voting or being paid equal to a man. They SHOULD! I'm just saying masculinity or anything "manly" is being demonized. Competitive sports in school are almost a fairytale, drugs are being given to (mostly) boys if they have a lot of energy, recess time is shrinking, and boys are being told they are an oppressive sex. Now, take these physical outlets away and you wonder why boys are being treated for ADD, ADHD, etc. Let boys be boys for God's sake.

    You want your Mr. Darcy? Then actually practice what you preach. Treat everyone equally. The pendulum is swinging too far the other way. Keep it in the middle.

  8. says:

    Pride and Prejudice (five stars)

    Persuasion (three stars)
    I enjoyed this one, perhaps because it wasn't quite as obvious how everything would play out (not the ending, but how it would get there). enjoyable!

    Emma (four stars)
    I really enjoyed this... I think I can connect to Emma the best out of all the Jane Austen heroines I've met so far, at least as far as personality, not necessarily matchmaking. And can understand things blowing up in your face and regretting decisions... seriously, who can't? Anyway. I think this might be my favorite so far. :)

    Sense and Sensibility (four stars)

    Mansfield Park (three stars)

    Northanger Abbey (three stars)

    Lady Susan (four stars)
    A little tricky at first, but I love the idea. And really fascinating characters. It made me think of perceptions... how we can view ourselves as better than we are, and how we are attracted to people who support our view of ourselves. (Lady Susan thought she was justified, and her friend agreed, etc.) A great view into how we function.

  9. says:

    Not that I don't already have a million copies of JA works, but I bought this gorgeous set as a birthday present for myself. =D

  10. says:

    one piece of advice don't read all of jane austens books like this
    the size of this book means it doubles as a murder weapon
    i love the stories