Lady Susan Gets the Ending She Deserves?Now to a retelling of a different kind. Lady Susan, the epistolary novella Jane Austen wrote in her youth, will soon be coming to the cinemas in the form of Whit Stillman's new film Love and Friendship, and John Mullan, author of the book What Matters in Jane Austen?, has been looking at whether the story lives up to Austen's other work.
Many novels of the late 18th century were, like Lady Susan, written entirely in letters. In her youth, Austen, along with many of her contemporaries, was a fan of Samuel Richardson, who turned epistolary novels into a high art. In his fiction, resourceful young women record their efforts to resist the advances of scheming libertines. The young Austen signals her audacity by turning the figure of the predatory male seducer into a highly unconventional (and middle-aged) seductress.However Jane went on to tire of this form says Mullan, and Lady Susan was brought to a premature end. The film he says, has to pursue a satisfying conclusion which the original novella did not have. It will be interesting to see what this might entail... For more information on Love and Friendship take a look at our blog post which can be found by clicking here.
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