In the final year of her life, Jane Austen began writing the story we now call Sanditon. However, at the time she had given it the working title of The Brothers and she was not writing under the impression that it was going to be her last unfinished work. She completed only twelve chapters.
The story begins with the unfortunate overturning of a carriage prompting the introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Parker to the Heywoods, who offer the Parkers their hospitality while Mr. Parker recovers from an injured ankle. When he is well enough to leave one of the Heywoods’ daughters, Charlotte Heywood, accompanies Mr. and Mrs. Parker to their home in Sanditon. Sanditon is a small seaside town with ambitions of becoming a prime destination, and through Charlotte’s eyes we are introduced to Sanditon’s inhabitants and the peculiar Parker family.
This month we are reading Sanditon. In the interest of true Janeite appreciation I recommend reading Austen’s original twelve chapters before taking on any other completed version for comparison. The completed versions that I’m aware of include the following:
- Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Last Novel Completed by Jane Austen and Another Lady
- Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Materpiece Completed by Jane Austen and Juliette Shapiro
- Sanditon by Jane Austen and Anne Telscombe
Choose your own adventure, as it were. The first seems to be the widest read and rated version.
Things to note as you read:
- Character development as established by Jane Austen: How do they seem to change or remain constant under the influence of another writer?
- Thomas Parker
- Mary Parker
- Charlotte Heywood
- Lady Denham
- Clara Brereton
- Sir Edward Denham
- Esther Denham
- Arthur Parker
- Susan Parker
- Diana Parker
- Given that the working title was The Brothers what are your thoughts?
- The attitudes regarding health and medicine.
Which version do you plan to read, and what questions or topics would you like discussed?