It’s my turn to choose a book for the next Slaves of Golconda read, and what else can I do but pick something from one of my favorite centuries, the 18th? I thought I’d pick three things and let people vote. The group is open to everyone, so if you haven’t participated before you are free to join — all you have to do is read the book and post on it on your blog and/or participate in the discussion at Metaxu Cafe and in comments on other people’s posts. If you plan on participating let me know in the comments which book you’d like to read by, say, Sunday night (Feb. 11), and I’ll tally the votes then (you can also vote on my blog here).
So here are the possibilities I’m thinking of:
- Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas. I’ve read this before, but I’m happy to read it again, especially since I’m learning so much about Johnson through Boswell’s Life. Here’s the first sentence: “Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia.”
- Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent. This work is very short (it looks like about 60 pages), but if you get the edition I linked to, it comes with another novel Ennui, which could make a good bonus read. I’ve read Edgeworth’s most famous novel, Belinda, and liked it a lot, so I’m eager to read more of her work. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the book: “Castle Rackrent, a short novel by Maria Edgeworth published in 1800, is often regarded as the first true historical novel and the first true regional novel in English. It is also widely regarded as the first family saga, and the first novel to use the device of a narrator who is both unreliable and an observer of, rather than a player in, the actions he chronicles.”
- Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I’ve read all of Austen’s major novels but have yet to read her earlier work. This one is also very short, and the edition I linked to includes The Watsons and Sanditon, an unfinished novel, which would also make good bonus reads. Here’s a description from Amazon: “Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks an advantageous second marriage for herself, while attempting to push her daughter into a dismal match. A magnificently crafted novel of Regency manners and mores that will delight Austen enthusiasts with its wit and elegant expression.”
What do you think?
If we keep our current pattern, posts on the chosen book will be due on Saturday, March 31st.