Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon
(Weldon, Fay)

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Synopsis

Taking its inspiration from Jane Austen’s relationship with her niece, Letters to Alice follows eighteen-year-old Alice and her “Aunt Fay,” whose letters preach the value of great art
With the dire warning, “You must read, Alice, before it’s too late,” Fay Weldon, or “Aunt Fay,” implores her “niece” to immerse herself in the works of enduring authors. Alternating between passages from Jane Austen’s novels and accounts of her own career, Weldon reveals the connections between art and life, and charts Alice’s trajectory from unpublished writer to celebrated author, her success ultimately outstripping that of her famous “aunt.” Letters to Alice puts Austen’s works into a contemporary perspective as it explores the craft of writing fiction, the pitfalls of publishing too early, the conventions that stifle the creative impulse, and more. In paying tribute to Austen, Weldon opens an illuminating window onto reading, writing, and why literature matters.
 

About Fay Weldon

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Fay Weldon was born in Worcester, England, where her father was a physician and her mother a writer. She was educated at the University of St. Andrews, from which she received her M.A. in 1954. Six years later, she married Ronald Weldon. Weldon worked as a propaganda writer for the British Foreign Office and then as an advertising copywriter for various firms in London before making writing a full-time career. Since the mid-1960's she has written novels, short stories, and radio and television plays. The central subject of all Weldon's writing is the experience of women, especially their relationships with men. According to Weldon, "Women must ask themselves: What is it that will give me fulfillment? That's the serious question I'm attempting to answer." Despite her concern with women, Weldon has been criticized by some feminist groups for apparently presenting fictional women with very limited options. Weldon's style is marked by a careful attention to detail, vivid images, a sharp wit, and a wry sense of humor. Although most of her male characters are disagreeable, they are not the true villains of her novels. Her villains are, in fact, the traditional roles that men and women play. Weldon looks at women in many different circumstances - at work, at home, at play, in politics, and especially in love - and shows not only how they are manipulated by men, but also how they allow themselves to be manipulated. Recently, Weldon's novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) has been made into a popular movie. It was formerly a successful television miniseries.
 
Published April 16, 2013 by Open Road Media. 127 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

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