Fair travelers, journey to the master post if thou art lost.
I trust you’ve all started reading? If not, read on for some more information about where to find the book, and if you have, I’ve started a running list of characters, which is helpful with these big novels.
As I noted in the master post, it’s not easy to get your hands on Cecilia. And it’s only become more complicated since then. Let’s break down the options, and read-alongers, if you post this week, please show off your edition!
- Print: While difficult to find in libraries and physical book stores, you can order online. I believe the Oxford World’s Classics edition I have is a good one; it reproduces the first edition and does not correct “eccentricities of punctuation, spelling, and grammar” which would take all the fun out of reading an 18th century novel. You can order straight from the source.
- Ebook: Earlier, I recommended an ebook because they’re readily available. HOWEVER. My cheapie Harper Collins edition is decidedly not the same text as the first print edition; comparing to Oxford, the ebook is watered down: unnecessary capitalization removed, “everytime” becomes “every time,” and so on. Not sure if this is reproducing a later edition, or is just modernized, or what. Same deal with the Project Gutenberg edition.
- Audio: There is a free audio version on LibriVox and perhaps I’m being snobby here but shouldn’t the narrator be British?
Cecilia’s Squad: Who we’ve met so far
This is only up to about Book I Chapter 7 as of this writing. For those of you just beginning, this may help you get your bearings.
- Our Heroine: Cecilia Beverley: 21, orphan, heiress
- Her guardians:
- Mr. Harrell, husband of childhood friend, chosen simply so Cecilia can live with said friend.
- Mr. Briggs, a business man who will provide “vigilant observance” of Cecilia’s fortune.
- Mr. Delvile, ” a man of high birth and character” who will make sure Cecilia “should in nothing be injured” – i.e. remains a lady in the streets… and the sheets.
- Her suitors:
- Mr. Monckton: married to a 76-year-old crabby pants, he’s probably in his thirties or forties and was real annoyed when, just a few years after marrying this old lady for money, a 17-year-old heiress moved in next door. Timing is everything!
- Mr. Arnott: brother of childhood friend Mrs. Harrell, lays it on pretty thick, likes that Cecilia “isn’t like the other girls,” gag me…
- Sir Robert Floyer: Fashionable, friend of Mr. Harrell, weird horse obsession
- Her friends
- Mrs. Harrell: A childhood friend who moved to the big city some years ago. A very “city and country mouse” reunion so far.
- Mr. Morrice: Her friend whether she wants him or not. This guy cracks me up.
- Her frenemies
- Miss Larolle: “flirting, communicative, restless, and familiar” she is the 18th century equivalent of a basic bitch.
- Miss Leeson: “silent, scornful, languid, and affected,” definitely afflicted with resting bitch face.