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The Common Reader - First Series (1925) von Woolf, Virginia (eBook)

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The Common Reader - First Series (1925)

This carefully crafted ebook: 'The Common Reader - First Series (1925)' is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. The Common Reader' is a collection of essays by Virginia Woolf, published in two series, the first in 1925 and the second in 1932. The title indicates Woolf's intention that her essays be read by the educated but non-scholarly 'common reader,' who examines books for personal enjoyment. Woolf outlines her literary philosophy in the introductory essay to the first series, 'The Common Reader,' and in the concluding essay to the second series, 'How Should One Read a Book?' The first series includes essays on Geoffrey Chaucer, Michel de Montaigne, Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Joseph Conrad, as well as discussions of the Greek language and the modern essay. The second series features essays on John Donne, Daniel Defoe, Dorothy Osborne, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Hardy, among others. Table of Contents: - Chapter 1 -- The Common Reader - Chapter 2 -- The Pastons and Chaucer - Chapter 3 -- On Not Knowing Greek - Chapter 4 -- The Elizabethan Lumber Room - Chapter 5 -- Notes on an Elizabethan Play - Chapter 6 -- Montaigne - Chapter 7 -- The Duchess of Newcastle - Chapter 8 -- Rambling Round Evelyn - Chapter 9 -- Defoe - Chapter 10 -- Addison - Chapter 11 -- The Lives of the Obscure - Chapter 12 -- Jane Austen - Chapter 13 -- Modern Fiction - Chapter 14 -- 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights' - Chapter 15 -- George Eliot - Chapter 16 -- The Russian Point of View - Chapter 17 -- Outlines - Chapter 18 -- The Patron and the Crocus - Chapter 19 -- The Modern Essay - Chapter 20 -- Joseph Conrad - Chapter 21 -- How it Strikes a Contemporary

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 272
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9788074845062
    Verlag: e-artnow
    Größe: 484 kBytes
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The Common Reader - First Series (1925)

JANE AUSTEN

It is probable that if Miss Cassandra Austen had had her way we should have had nothing of Jane Austen's except her novels. To her elder sister alone did she write freely; to her alone she confided her hopes and, if rumour is true, the one great disappointment of her life; but when Miss Cassandra Austen grew old, and the growth of her sister's fame made her suspect that a time might come when strangers would pry and scholars speculate, she burnt, at great cost to herself, every letter that could gratify their curiosity, and spared only what she judged too trivial to be of interest.

Hence our knowledge of Jane Austen is derived from a little gossip, a few letters, and her books. As for the gossip, gossip which has survived its day is never despicable; with a little rearrangement it suits our purpose admirably. For example, Jane "is not at all pretty and very prim, unlike a girl of twelve ... Jane is whimsical and affected," says little Philadelphia Austen of her cousin. Then we have Mrs. Mitford, who knew the Austens as girls and thought Jane "the prettiest, silliest, most affected husband-hunting butterfly she ever remembers ". Next, there is Miss Mitford's anonymous friend "who visits her now [and] says that she has stiffened into the most perpendicular, precise, taciturn piece of 'single blessedness' that ever existed, and that, until Pride and Prejudice showed what a precious gem was hidden in that unbending case, she was no more regarded in society than a poker or firescreen... . The case is very different now", the good lady goes on; "she is still a poker-but a poker of whom everybody is afraid... . A wit, a delineator of character, who does not talk is terrific indeed!" On the other side, of course, there are the Austens, a race little given to panegyric of themselves, but nevertheless, they say, her brothers "were very fond and very proud of her. They were attached to her by her talents, her virtues, and her engaging manners, and each loved afterwards to fancy a resemblance in some niece or daughter of his own to the dear sister Jane, whose perfect equal they yet never expected to see." Charming but perpendicular, loved at home but feared by strangers, biting of tongue but tender of heart-these contrasts are by no means incompatible, and when we turn to the novels we shall find ourselves stumbling there too over the same complexities in the writer.

To begin with, that prim little girl whom Philadelphia found so unlike a child of twelve, whimsical and affected, was soon to be the authoress of an astonishing and unchildish story, Love and Freindship ,1 which, incredible though it appears, was written at the age of fifteen. It was written, apparently, to amuse the schoolroom; one of the stories in the same book is dedicated with mock solemnity to her brother; another is neatly illustrated with water-colour heads by her sister. These are jokes which, one feels, were family property; thrusts of satire, which went home because all little Austens made mock in common of fine ladies who "sighed and fainted on the sofa".

1 Love and Freindship, Chatto and Windus.

Brothers and sisters must have laughed when Jane read out loud her last hit at the vices which they all abhorred. "I die a martyr to my grief for the loss of Augustus. One fatal swoon has cost me my life. Beware of Swoons, Dear Laura... . Run mad as often as you chuse, but do not faint... ." And on she rushed, as fast as she could write and quicker than she could spell, to tell the incredible adventures of Laura and Sophia, of Philander and Gustavus, of the gentleman who drove a coach between Edinburgh and Stirling every other day, of the theft of the fortune that was kept in the table drawer, of the starving mothers and the sons who acted Macbeth. Undoubtedly, the story must have roused the schoolroom to uproarious laughter. And yet, nothing is more obvious than that thi

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