24 September 2010

A Bag of Books

Over the weekend, a favorite aunt gave me a bag of books that had been assembled by a librarian in her town. "I don't know what's in there," she told me, "but I hope you enjoy them."

Mind you, this is the same favorite aunt who trekked with me on the cobbled streets of Camden, despite a broken tibia, trying to tack down the fisherman who dove repeatedly from the upper top gallant mast during the filming of Captain's Courageous in 1977 (we were ultimately unsuccessful, but I did talk with the captain of the ship who assured me it was true).

And what did the bag contain? A veritable gold mine of Jane Austen books! Here they are:

Jane Austen, by Elizabeth Jenkins
Jane Austen’s Novels, the Art of Clarity, by Roger Gard
Jane Austen: Her Life, by Park Honan
The Watsons, by Jane Austen
Austen, Selected Letters, edited by R W Chapman
A Portrait of Jane Austen, by David Cecil
Persuasions 12-22
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, by Fay Weldon

Only the Elizabeth Jenkins book, The Watsons, and selected letters are duplicates! And here I was, bemoaning the fact that I had just finished Jane Austen Among Women and was feeling at a loss!

I am reading Letters to Alice now and finding it compelling. Not only is it a thorough examination of Jane Austen and her works, but an examination of writing fiction as well. Add to that the fact that Fay Weldon wrote the screenplay of the very best adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in my opinion (the early 1980s BBC production starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul), and well, bliss...

I am lucky, indeed, to have such an aunt. Fortunate are those who have her in their lives!