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Jane and Prudence ✮ [PDF] ✩ Jane and Prudence By Barbara Pym ✻ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk If Jane Cleveland and Prudence Bates seem an unlikely pair to be walking together at an Oxford reunion neither of them are aware of it They couldn't be different Jane is a rather incompetent vicar's w If Jane Cleveland and Prudence Bates seem an unlikely pair to be walking together at an Oxford reunion neither of them are aware of it They couldn't be different Jane is a rather incompetent vicar's wife who always looks as if she is about to feed the chickens while Prudence a pristine hothouse flower has the most unsuitable affairs With the move to a rural parish Jane is determined to find her friend the perfect man She learns that matchmaking has as many pitfalls as housewifery.

  • Paperback
  • 222 pages
  • Jane and Prudence
  • Barbara Pym
  • English
  • 09 March 2016
  • 9781559212267

About the Author: Barbara Pym

After studying English at St Hilda's College Oxford Barbara Pym served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during World War II From to she published novels but her th was declined by the publisher due to a change in the reading public's tastesThe turning point for Pym came with a famous article in the Times Literary Supplement in which two prominent names Lord David Cecil a.



10 thoughts on “Jane and Prudence

  1. Fiona MacDonald Fiona MacDonald says:

    Another hilarious and satirical look at Barbara Pym’s world It reminds me so much of Wodehouse dated and uaint yet somehow a world I wish we could all still inhabit Where a relationship was broken by a letter where a meal out with a man caused serious gossip for villagers where a woman’s unmarried status was a massive problem Jane and Prudence although different ages consider themselves close friends after being at Oxford University but affairs mix ups arguments pots of tea and general church business causes a shake up in the uiet village for Jane her religious husband Nicholas and the numerous hangers on Pym is so wonderful I adore her

  2. Teresa Teresa says:

    This is the first book I've read by Pym and on that basis alone I will say she is in the tradition of Jane Austen the main character's Emma Woodhouse comment acknowledges this Trollope whom the character Jane is a reader of and even Gaskell's Cranford While reading I also couldn't help but compare Pym to her contemporary Muriel Spark But what a contrast that is while Spark mercilessly spears us with her stiletto Pym gently skewers usI loved the character of Jane what she says and also what she thinks but by the hardest stops herself from saying And while I'm nothing like Prudence I recognized myself in her choice of reading materials a novel of the kind that Prudence enjoyed well written and tortuous with a good dash of culture and the inevitable unhappy or indefinite ending which was so like lifeAs fans of Pym know she wasn't published between 1963 and 1977 because she fell out of fashion I find it interesting that her writing style the omniscient narration the use of adverbs to describe dialogue at least in regards to literary fiction also fell out of fashion somewhere along the way

  3. Bruce Bruce says:

    After less than ten pages I found myself chuckling than once on each page the dialogue both internal and interpersonal is so droll and delightfully dated so incisive and mannered yet at the same time so fresh and honest Pym has an acute ear for both the commonplace and the minutely particular Very witty indeed And the entertainment never flaggedJane is the 41 year old former Oxford tutor now married happily to an Anglican clergyman; she is a less than ideal clergyman’s wife however prone to thoughtless repartee disinterested in social graces intent on matchmaking for her friend Pru Prudence is 29 years old a former tutee of Jane’s and now her best friend unmarried and working at a clerical job in London prone to romantic fantasies but unsuccessful in her series of day to day romances The plot is light and charming; I especially enjoyed the apt snippets of poetry interspersed throughout the narrative usually simple couplets or uatrains Donne Marvell Cowley Henry King Keats with occasional references to prose authors like AustinI kept thinking that the novel could be summarized by “Recipe 2 parts Jane Austin 1 part PG Wodehouse blend to a fine froth chill and serve” Will I remember much about this novel two months from now? Probably not Am I glad that I read it? Oh yes

  4. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    What a delightMy second Barbara Pym and I have decided to read one of her books at least once a year She is a breath of fresh airThis story could be seen as just a light romp with some very amusing company It was that We have Jane a bluestocking turned vicar’s wife “I should have liked the kind of life where one ate food flavoured with garlic but it was not to be”I kept picturing her as Julia Child odd but strangely brilliant and wickedly funny And there’s the beautiful and dramatic Prudence “Prudence’s flat was in the kind of block where Jane imagined people might be found dead ”She’s an independent woman enjoying one love affair after another and the descriptions of tea time in her workplace are hilariousBut there’s to this than a bit of fun Threaded throughout are barbs at “acceptable” society Jane clearly doesn’t fit often saying the “wrong” thing The best part is the way she doesn’t care “She had been feeling that things were pretty desperate if one found oneself talking about and almost uoting Matthew Arnold to comparative strangers though anything was better than having to pretend you had winter and summer curtains when you just had curtains”And with remarkable subtlety Pym explores the difference between the path we set off on in our idealistic youth and the one we grow to accept as we age Neither Jane nor Prudence is living the life she planned but both find ways to make it work Not with miraculous strokes of luck or saviors coming to rescue them They just keep living and figure it out kind of like so many of us do

  5. Wealhtheow Wealhtheow says:

    Pym writes loneliness the urbanmodern condition and humanity’s oft mistaken attempts at communication and companionship very well Given that her characters are generally overlooked middle aged people clinging uietly but desperately to a pretense of gentility one might assume her stories are unhappy Of course parts of them are but I get the feeling that her characters are happier by the end of her novels than at the start They definitely progress toward intimacy with another persons or toward an inner understanding This book is no exception Jane is the dreamy highly educated wife of a vicar; her friend Prudence is an eually highly educated younger woman searching for love I loved Jane dearly She’s forever uoting ancient poetry and not setting up for tea and wearing the wrong kind of dress and she isn’t unhappy about her lapses from femininity one bit She’s just the sort of person who fuels her mind and heart and lets the rest of the world go to blazes through inattention

  6. lark benobi lark benobi says:

    The bio of Pym on the back of my copy of Jane and Prudence accuses her of writing primarily about Anglican spinsters The phrase itself seems like it's from another age and so does Pym's novel about middle class British women making their way through the immediate postwar years Pym's women are intelligent and educated and ambitious in their own way but they never uite break free of their nineteen fifties views of what women are meant to occupy themselves with mainly the occupation of finding a man to marry Prudence might rebel against that fate but she doesn't rebel in a very serious way Even if she doesn't seem particularly attracted to marriage her ambition goes no further than a series of romantic attachments with men and she can't imagine a life beyond the meaning these men give to her life Pym's publisher dropped her abruptly in 1961 and she was out of print for fifteen years which seems just about right because her novels had no place in the decade of The Feminine Mystiue But going back to the novels after that turbulent era also seems right because they capture a post WWII mood so perfectly and they are testaments to that time and that world Many Pym readers are reminded of Jane Austen I also felt that affinity especially for the deft use of free indirect style and the subtle bombs Pym crams into each paragraph critiuing of the middle class and its values But it's a darker vision than Jane Austen because these women know how silly their lives are and how wasted their talents are in a world that affords them so few choices So where Austen's novels are comedy of manners Pym's novels are tragedy of manners You feel the loss of what these women might have become in other circumstancesPym is a new and unexpected favorite author for me

  7. Nadine Nadine says:

    Once I accepted that Pym world is the Waspy ist of Wasplands circa the 1950's where the only conceivable 'others' are Catholics I settled in and had a fabulous time I didn't read the publisher's description so somehow I had it in my head that Jane and Prudence were both Elizabeth Bennett types Not Take Jane Austen and stir in a touch of Lucille Ball and you get the gentle slightly wacky satire of this book Especially Jane who is one of Pym's 'excellent women' gone askew Pym's humor is a delight I especially loved Prudence's workplace itself a little comic masterpiece

  8. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    Sigh on one hand I didn't want this to end and on the other hand I couldn't put it down I am so glad to have met Barbara Pym I shall be reading of her books Gentle delightful witty lovely Written in the 1950's about life in a British village in the 1950's about a friendship between two women one a spinster and one married to a clergyman I may just have to read this book again very soon for I loved it so Thank you so much for giving it to me for Christmas Linda

  9. Antonomasia Antonomasia says:

    35 A very good example of the kind of thing it is genteel slightly humourous story of 1950s ladies but it's not uite my kind of thing I'd suspected this is what Barbara Pym and also the entire output of blog favourite boutiue publisher Persephone Books would be like whilst faintly hoping she might turn out as satirical as Stella Gibbons So although Pym has been widely recommended I'd never sought out her books but holiday cottages always seem to have at least one Virago Modern Classic in them The first page was promisingly amusingly camp but the rest of the book rather mundane I liked the main characters a lot mildly eccentric university friends who live miles away from one another each spending a lot of time among dull very conventional very 1950s people who don't really get her Jane is a vicar's wife who mentions her leftfield opinions too often she'd sound absolutely fine these days but in a society where people even mind the use of chairs from the bedroom at a gathering in the sitting room it's a different story Her faux pas are many but still almost elegant a uarter Miranda though her nervy manner I imagined as that of Bill from 24 Children Prudence would likewise be perfectly normal these days a fashion forward serial monogamist in a London PA job she's too bright for Back then it was because too few good careers were open to women sixty years later it would be the effects of the recession on graduate jobs Disappointingly the novel has nothing whatsoever to say about the content of Prudence's work for a freelance academic economist this is too much like the empty intellectual allusions of chicklit although there are at least many uotes from the metaphysical poets whom the characters studied Both women have certain introvert tendencies that people then and now often consider rude stopping using a cafe at lunchtime because one's colleagues have started to go there or running out of rooms at home when the window cleaners appear Can entirely sympathise with these though when I last had window cleaners I trained myself to acknowledge them briefly and then ignore in that situationThe elder Jane can't resist trying to matchmake for Prudence and a little village drama ensues around this when Prudence comes to visit her friend I could identify with JP in being stuck in the company of all these mainstream busybodies I admire their patience with them and also find Jane rather inadvertantly brave because she can't help being herself and being weird rather than bottling her true self up to try and have a uiet life But their environments are suffocating And it's a whole life of settling for scraps And if I want escapism from boredom I want to read about something different There's also a lot of frustration about gender roles in Jane and Prudence I've never romanticised the 50s my retro interests are a little later but this book debunks those who do It's interesting to see how much some things have changed the women spend a lot of time making food for men and will automatically tend to a man if he for example spills something on his clothes; overwhelmingly IME contemporary British men hate that sort of fuss and would rather look after themselves and most women apart from those now elderly rarely do this Yet the discussion about whether a woman should make a move on a man could have come from any number of magazine articles within the last twenty years These days a lazy suitor might copy and paste his email to than one person I'm sad to say I was once taken in by a very good example and only found out when we were friends for a while afterwards and he sent it to someone else uite openly presumably having forgotten whilst we sat together at the computer Pym has a old fashioned example also disclosed in Jilly Cooper's spoilertastic introduction view spoilerhe gives a book to Prudence reusing the same inscription and uote that his deceased wife had written in one she gave to him hide spoiler

  10. Sarah Sarah says:

    Jane and Prudence lead very different lives Jane is married to a kindly vicar and her life is concerned with their children and parish She is outspoken and often causes problems with her tactless but good hearted interferencePrudence is single elegant and has a habit of preferring unsatisfactory affairs She has a research job which she finds dull and her boredom is relieved by crushes on unsuitable men Her office colleagues add amusement to the story as they compete and gossipJane and Prudence are old friends from Oxford college and Jane feels she needs to interfere in Prudence's life She invites Prudence to visit them at their new vicarage and Jane's matchmaking beginsPym describes food and clothes with detail and extravagance Wartime rationing and austerity were still in existence when the novel was first published and Pym is generous with bothA social comedy full of uirky village characters unreuited love harvest festivals flower arranging and fun All served with tea and cake

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