Thursday, 10 March 2011

Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)

Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics)
Jane Austen | 2003-04-29 00:00:00 | Penguin Classics | 368 | Classics
New chronology and further reading; Tony Tanner's original introduction reinstated

Edited with an introduction by Ros Ballaster.
Though not the first novel she wrote, Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen published. Though she initially called it Elinor and Marianne, Austen jettisoned both the title and the epistolary mode in which it was originally written, but kept the essential theme: the necessity of finding a workable middle ground between passion and reason. The story revolves around the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. Whereas the former is a sensible, rational creature, her younger sister is wildly romantic--a characteristic that offers Austen plenty of scope for both satire and compassion. Commenting on Edward Ferrars, a potential suitor for Elinor's hand, Marianne admits that while she "loves him tenderly," she finds him disappointing as a possible lover for her sister:
Oh! Mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward's manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!
Soon however, Marianne meets a man who measures up to her ideal: Mr. Willoughby, a new neighbor. So swept away by passion is Marianne that her behavior begins to border on the scandalous. Then Willoughby abandons her; meanwhile, Elinor's growing affection for Edward suffers a check when he admits he is secretly engaged to a childhood sweetheart. How each of the sisters reacts to their romantic misfortunes, and the lessons they draw before coming finally to the requisite happy ending forms the heart of the novel. Though Marianne's disregard for social conventions and willingness to consider the world well-lost for love may appeal to modern readers, it is Elinor whom Austen herself most evidently admired; a truly happy marriage, she shows us, exists only where sense and sensibility meet and mix in proper measure. --Alix Wilber
Sense & Sensibility tells the story of the Dashwood sisters: Elinor-the level headed elder sister and Marianne the impulsive, emotional sister. When the girls' father dies unexpectedly, they and their mother are obliged to move out of their house now occupied by their half brother John and his self centered wife Fanny. They are offered a cottage at Barton by a distant relative which while cozy, suits the Dashwood women well.

Elinor wonders if she saw more into the attachment she formed with Fanny's brother Edward before they departed their old home. Marianne meets the dashing Willoughby and soon falls in love with him but suffers great heartache when he abandons her unexpectedly. The Dashwood sisters spend the next three months at numerous social engagements. Elinor discovers that Edward had a courtship with another woman while Marianne finds that Willoughby was not who she thought. She is so distraught at the turn of events that she rebuffs the affections of the kind Colonel Brandon.

Growing tired of the social scene in London , Elinor and Marianne agree to leave for Cleveland , the estate of one of their acquaintances. On the way Marianne falls gravely ill. Colonel Brandon confesses his true feeling for her but it remains to be seen if the girls will find a true happy ending or not.

Jane Austen can always be relied on for a good romance story with subtle nuances. I really enjoyed the characters of Elinor and Marianne as their personalities reminded me a lot of me and my older sister. The cast of characters are what you would expect for the time period and for a Jane Austen novel-the deserving girls who fall on multiple misfortunes in their lives, the snooty society people who refuse to accept them, the silly society girls, the handsome gentleman who is secretly a rogue and the dashing gentleman (or men) who come in at the end to sweep the much loved heroines off their feet.

I find the whole courtship rituals of this time period fascinating. This book also provided a few twists to keep it interesting. Even minor misunderstandings (such as Mrs. Jennings, the older woman the girls are travelling with mistaking some good news delivered to Elinor by Colonel Brandon as a marriage proposal) are well played. I don't think this one was quite as good as Pride and Prejudice as that book and its irreplaceable Mr. Darcy will always hold a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf but I really enjoyed this one.
"Sense and Sensibility" is a book about two girls who are looking for someone to love. I believe that this can relate to a lot of girls in today's culture. All of the girls in today's culture are always looking for love. They are always seeking for a boyfriend. This book is about two older women who are searching for the love of someone. This book can also relate to the lives of people today because it is about broken hearts and finding the right person. A lot of people today think that the first boy that they date, they are going to marry. That is not true in a lot of cases and that is a lesson that can be learned from this book.

This book is about two sisters. Marianne and Elinor are both looking for someone to marry. They are at the age when it is time for them to be married and that is what they want. In the beginning of the book, Elinor has fallen for a man named Edward Ferrars. He is a respectable gentlemen who Elinor falls on love with at first site. When Elinor and her family move away, he promises to come and see them soon. He never comes and only sends a letter. This makes Elinor very upset. While all of this is happening, Marianne meets a man. His name is John Willoughby. He is also very respectable and helps Marianne when she falls down. He carries her home because she cannot walk. This is when it happens. When John meets her family, they instantly like him. He hangs around and is then called out of town. Then, before they know it, Willoughby is called out of town.

When the two sisters go into town for a few months, they hear some devastating news. They hear that Willoughby is marrying another woman and so is Edward. This devastates both of the girls and they are in a wreck. In the end, They both ended up getting married. You will have to read the book to see how the end turns out because I don't want to give away the ending for those of you who have not read it yet.

In the end, The book was good and I would recommend it to some people. I would not recommend it to all people because as I would put it: "The book is a chick flick". I would recommend this book to people who like romance and fiction. This book I think would best fit teenage girls. This is what I feel about the book.
The Kindle edition was well-formatted with only two recurring issues: (1) every 4-5 pages or so, some sentences or phrases were repeated on separate lines near (but not perfectly next to) where they first appeared or were about to appear, but they were easy to spot and ignore; and (2) bracketed numbers appeared occasionally within the text, but it was unclear what they referred to. Content includes table of contents with chapter titles and a somewhat antiquated preface (not by Austen, of course) from the out-of-copyright text.

With respect to the content itself, Austen's story and story-telling is amusing and witty, her language is ornate and sometimes a bit tedious, and most (though not all) of the characters are sketched vividly. This was the first Austen book I've read (and the first she published), but I rather doubt it would have remained so popular without the success of her other books; I would recommend Pride and Prejudice or another of her books as a first read. Nevertheless, though I'm primarily a non-fiction reader and a reader of science fiction and adventure otherwise, I found the book to be enjoyable and very satisfying.
I've read only Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen before, and I am a huge lover of that novel. As such I've been somewhat (stupidly) hesitant to read other Austen novels - for surely nothing could live up to that book!

I finally have read Sense and Sensibility and I am sorry that I did not read it earlier. I must say that S&S was a very easy and accessible book to read. The plot wasn't overly complex and it did not feel bogged down and dense like some old classic novels can. I think this would be a great book for someone who wants to read classics but who is worried or scared to.

The two main characters are easy to love and I was wondering what would happen the whole way through. Without saying anything specific, Austen kept me on my toes and I was very satisfied with the ending.

Now I'm off to read more of Austen's books!
My favorite Austen because I can identify with Elinor Dashwood. I also have a younger sister that often makes me say, "WTF? Think a little before you act!" But I love her anyway.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow-my entire review for Sense & Sensibility is posted here but is not credited to me or the site it originally came from at all. Intentional or not this is plagiarism. Please remove my review from this post.

    Here is the link to the original review proving it is mine: