The Complete Mapp & Lucia

The Complete Mapp & Lucia : Volume Two

4.53 (326 ratings by Goodreads)
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With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Keith Carabine, University of Kent at Canterbury.

These three wonderful comic novels drolly record the battle between Lucia and Elisabeth Mapp for social and cultural supremacy in the village of Tilling (based on Rye). Their constant skirmishes ensure that every game of bridge, tea or dinner-party, church service, council meeting or art-exhibition are thrilling encounters that ensure Tilling is always on `a very agreeable rack of suspense'. Both Elisabeth and Lucia are gross hypocrites, snobs and bullies, the huge differences in temperament and style ensure the battle is usually unequal. Elisabeth is incurably mean-spirited and Lucia suffers from splendid delusions of grandeur and personal prestige. Driven by demons of revenge, Elisabeth always acts impulsively, and therefore every revelation of her meanness allows Lucia, the consummate actress, to kill her ally with a sickening kindness.

In his insightful Introduction Keith Carabine shows that these books are excruciatingly funny because Benson, like Jane Austen, invites the reader to view the world through the self-deluded chronic anger and jaundiced suspicions of Elisabeth and through the self-deluded fabrications and day-dreams of Lucia. Carabine also concentrates on the novels' disturbing, bitchy, `camp' humour whenever `that horrid thing which Freud calls sex is raised'
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Product details

  • Paperback | 672 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 34mm | 413g
  • Herts, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 1840226749
  • 9781840226744
  • 38,391

Table of contents

Mapp and Lucia (1931) Lucia's Progress (1935) Trouble for Lucia (1939)
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Rating details

326 ratings
4.53 out of 5 stars
5 64% (208)
4 29% (93)
3 6% (20)
2 1% (2)
1 1% (3)

Our customer reviews

If there were a very exclusive Hall of Fame for English humour between the two World Wars, its most honoured members would be Nancy Mitford, P G Wodehouse, Stella Gibbons, Evelyn Waugh and E F 'Fred' Benson - and not necessarily in that order! Deluded middle-aged women follow one fad after another, the resident young blade and most eligible bachelor dyes his hair and embroiders beautifully, the vicar believes it is his duty to attend as many card-games and dinner parties as possible just to show that he is not only there for the boring poor and needy, and all the characters enjoy the fierce rivalry between Mapp and Lucia. Mapp is plump and gushing: her mind is a cross between a steel-trap and a sewer. Napoleon's strategies had nothing on hers. Truly an awful woman. Lucia is thin, pretentious, and plays at being noble-minded. She fools nobody, not even herself. Narcissus had a self-esteem problem compared with her bloated ego. Warfare is waged at afternoon teas, on the village High Street, in the church (while one notes the vicar's grammatical mistakes in his sermon with a sweet smile on her face, and the other affects an other-wordly, spiritual expression of piety as she plans how to humiliate her rival and get herself elected onto the local Council)... You get the picture? E F Benson's output was prolific but his deliciously waspish humorous novels (there are six in the Mapp and Lucia series) are his best. Others include: 'Paying Guests', 'Freaks of Mayfair', 'Secret Lives', and 'Mrs Ames'. If you enjoy Mapp and Lucia, I recommend 'Paying Guests'.show more
by Fiona Sweet Formiatti
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