Best and Worst Jane Austen Novels

Well, Emma is best, of course! Why would Jane think no one else would like her?

I like Mansfield Park least–I’m not a big Fanny fan.

Fighting words? Rank order all 6 if you are so inclined.

Pride and Prejudice is the best.

Persuasion is the dullest.

Jeebus, you would think as the third poster I would have to say “Me, too” but that is exactly what I came in here to post. I had a hard time even finishing Persuasion.

Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are tied for first with me. Least favorite is Sense and Sensibility.

Forgot to add: are you raising the tone of the board, Humble Servant? :wink:

Glad it was something I could answer and not a Proust thread.

Oh, but how could you possibly dis Anne? Why, she plays! she dances! she parlays Italian! she nurses! she knows navy stuff!

She won’t damn speak up for herself even when all plot obstacles are swept aside!

Pistols at dawn!

She spoke up for herself fine. Her way of speaking up for herself was that conversation at the end to which Captain Wentworth eavesdropped. That was all she needed to do.

Me too, too, with the caveat that I’ve read each of the six once only, at various intervals but none of them really recently.

1 - Pride & Prejudice.

2 - Sense & Sensibility.

3 - Persuasion.

4 - Emma.

5 - Northanger Abbey.

6- Mansfield Park.

Mansfield Park is my creepy favourite! I do like Fanny a lot and will defend her to the death -she does her best to speak up and stick to her principles. But the older I get the creepier I find Edmund. Oh well! I still love it. Plus Mary ‘rears and vices’ Crawford.

Northanger Abbey and Emma are tied for least favourite. I find Emma excruciating.

I always had a soft spot for Sense and Sensibility. Elinor is so gosh darn stiff upper lip. P & P got better once I got old enough to appreciate Mr. Darcy and his awkward broodiness. Yum!

Persuasion has a sentimental spot for me because it was my grandmother’s favourite, but I don’t re-read it as often as MP, S&S and P&P.

Who me? I just threw up a couple of posts during the commercial. I’m going back to Sponge Bob now.

  1. Emma

  2. P&P

  3. Persuasion

  4. Northanger Abbey

  5. S&S

  6. Mansfield Park

I don’t. But she is more likeable than Fanny.

Persuasion is best.

I hope this isn’t considered thread-shitting, but I figure this is the proper venue in thich to throw in my opinion that Pride and Prejudice is probably the worst book I can recall trying to get through in my adult life. I couldn’t force myself to read more than about ten pages. So I guess that’s my least favorite Austen novel? I’m not too tempted to try the others.

Persuasion is my favourite.
Then a tie for *Pride & Prejudice * and Mansfield Park.
*Northanger Abbey * and *Sense & Sensibility * are also-rans.
*Emma * is my least favourite. I’ve always found it hard to like because its chief character Emma is such a pain in the neck.

No love for Northanger Abbey? P&P, S&S and Emma are worthier, sure, but Northanger Abbey is damn funny: c’mon, we’ve all met the guy in Bath who’s bullshitting the chicks about how pimped his ride is and what a shit-hot driver he is. The language has changed over 200 years, sure, but you know this guy.

Eh. NA feels contrived, to me, and isn’t up to her usual standards of sly wit, although there are moments of lovely humour. Also, Catherine bugs the crap out of me. OK, so you want your heroine to be just some average girl who’s not overly bright or accomplished, I get that and it’s a ballsy move for a novelist, but she’s just so plain old blah that Austen pretty much flat out says at the end that Henry only falls for her because he’s flattered that she’s into him. Which is a nice way to puncture the romantic novel’s conventions, but not terribly satisfying. I think Henry could have done better for himself!

I guess that’s funny because I loathe her wealthy and accomplished heroine (Emma) and her poor, thick heroine. It’s the in between girls that work for me.

Since it’s hard to seperate how I feel about the heroines from anything else in the book, so it’s hard to rank them in terms of literary merit.

However, I do detest Fanny Price, priggish, smug, judgemental thing that she is.

I like Anne from Persuasion, though. She’s not a whinger, gets on with life, and doesn’t search for reasons to dislike love rivals. The latter is a trait I dislike in a few heroines. Of course they’re always right, but they have no real evidence to impute bad motives to the various women they see as rivals. They are never of such a good family so must be up to no good etc

  1. Pride and Prejudice. Not only my favorite Austen novel, but my favorite novel period. Aside from the financial disparity in their situations, Elizabeth and Darcy have the most balanced relationship.

  2. Persuasion. I didn’t care for it much when I was young, but appreciated Anne more as I got older.

  3. Sense and Sensibility.

  4. Northanger Abbey.

  5. Emma. I want to smack her.

  6. Mansfield Park. The story itself isn’t bad, but when you like the bad girl Mary Crawford so much more than the supposed heroine of the novel, it casts a pall over everything.

Anne is so accomplished it hurts–Persuasion is still 3rd on my list but Anne herself isn’t as human as she should be.

Emma is human–young and so certain she can run the world better than anyone else–a typical bossy teenager one wants to smack. But even in this phase of the novel, she shows flashes of who she may be when she grows up–one of the ways in which she wants to run the world is in being generous to the poor (which girls of the time paid lip service to but Emma really means), and she is patient with her foolish old father (whom she really loves). Knightly is waiting to see whether she will grow up, not physically but intellectually, with these stealth good bits intact.

Emma is much more real then Miss Perfect Anne because she moves from smackable to spirited but sensible, which is why I like the book more.

I’m fond of NA too for some of the same reasons–Catherine is not Miss Perfect but she is open, honest and doesn’t build a crust of social convention around herself–she’s like a starry-eyed farm girl seeing the big city for the first time.

Lama Pacos–critics often say it is chick lit with no explosions or anything and written in some foreign language. Why don’t you add to the body of Austen criticism by saying what you didn’t like about the first 10 pages of Pride and Prejudice?

Although liking or disliking an Austen novel does seem to hang on our feelings toward the heroine for most readers, I don’t think it’s a matter of how perfect or imperfect she is. Elizabeth Bennet isn’t perfect (being all prejudiced and proud as she is), but her good qualities make her likable even before she sees the light about her flaws and corrects them. Nor do I see Anne as perfect; she was “persuaded,” after all, to give up an engagement to the man she loved, and while she tells herself it was the right thing to do at that time, her choice has blighted years of her life. It’s only through her author’s intervention that she gets a second chance at happiness. :slight_smile:

Emma, on the other hand, I’m no closer to liking at the end of the novel than I am at the beginning. Her treatment of Harriet Smith at the end, for example, is no improvement–the girl turns out to be a nobody, and can therefore be dropped.

OTOH, Fanny Price is perfect in her miss-prissiness, but it doesn’t make her likable either.

But I do like Catherine Morland.