TITLE: Sense and Sensibility
AUTHOR: Jane Austen
PAGE COUNT: 282 pages
PUBLISHER: Modern Library
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: 30 October 1811
GENRE: Classics, Historical Fiction & Romance
SYNOPSIS: Published in 1811, Sense and Sensibility has delighted generations of readers with its masterfully crafted portrait of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Forced to leave their home after their father’s death, Elinor and Marianne must rely on making good marriages as their means of support. But unscrupulous cads, meddlesome matriarchs, and various guileless and artful women impinge on their chances for love and happiness.
At the beginning of the year, I watched the film and ended up loving it so much that I had to get to the book as well. This was my second read by Jane Austen and I just could not get enough of this story and the writing.
Out of all the characters from the two books I have read by the author thus far, I found myself identifying most with Elinor Dashwood. Both sisters were quite different from each other. While Elinor was more reserved and hid her true feelings, Marianne felt everything with her entire heart and soul. Each character approached romance so differently but in the end, I loved how their stories unfolded.
I also could not help but fall in love with Edward and Colonel Brandon. I think they fit perfectly with the sisters they ended up with and I loved how the author developed each of their relationships.
I have to admit, I ended up enjoying this book a bit more than Pride and Prejudice and it is a book I will reread many more times in the years to come.
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”
“If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.”
“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”
“It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for dead leaves.”
“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and always will be…yours.”
“To wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect.”
“If a book is well written, I always find it too short.”
“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness. […] Shyness is only the effect of a sense of inferiority in some way or other. If I could persuade myself that my manners were perfectly easy and graceful, I should not be shy.”
She was stronger alone…
“Know your own happiness.”
“Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”
Life could do nothing for her, beyond giving time for a better preparation for death.
Sometimes one is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently by what other people say of them, without giving oneself time to deliberate and judge.
“Money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it.”
“It is not what we think or feel that makes us who we are. It is what we do. Or fail to do…”
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.
Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
Keep on reading, and never stop telling stories.