The Monkey Princess (stellanova) wrote,
The Monkey Princess

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notes from the invalid's couch

You know what's really, really funny (and sort of in keeping with my current 18th century theme)? Jane Austen's juvenilia. I got the urge to read it last night, and while I remembered it being funny, I'd forgotten how laugh-out-loud hilarious a lot of it is. Of course, as my edition is a late '80s Penguin classic (which also contains some of Charlotte Bronte's early writings), it doesn't say this in the blurb. No, it says "Jane Austen exhibits a merciless wit as she lampoons human vanities and vices." Which isn't quite as appealing as it should be, considering how good the jokes are.

I'm very glad that when Penguin Classics underwent a total redesign a couple of years ago, they redid all the blurbs. It's always really annoyed me that "classics" were sold as books you were going to study, not read for pleasure, with dry-as-dust blurbs which didn't actually give any real indication of the plot. Penguin didn't dumb anything down when they revamped the imprint, but they start presenting the books as books you might actually read because you wanted to, not just because you had to write an essay on them, and they actually started warning you that the introduction might contain enormous spoilers - previously it was assumed that you wouldn't care if you were spoiled, because of course you weren't reading it for the plot. Alas, the Juvenilia of Jane Austen is currently out of print, but when Penguin reissue it next year, I hope they'll give it the triumphant blurb it deserves. They can keep the old cover, though, because I really like it.

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