Sense and Sensibility (World's Classics S.)

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9780192827616: Sense and Sensibility (World's Classics S.)
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Originally titled "Elinor and Marianne", "Sense and Sensibility" was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be published. The contrasting personalities of two sisters are the centre of the story, but they are supported by a wealth of satirically portrayed minor characters. This version of the text is edited by James Kinsley from R.W.Chapman's Oxford edition, and includes notes by Claire Lamont, who is senior lecturer in English literature at Newcastle University. The new introduction is by Margaret Anne Doody whose previous publications include studies of Samuel Richardson and Frances Burney, as well as two novels.

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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 neighbour. So swept away by passion is Marianne that her behaviour 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. 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, Amazon.com

Review:

"Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire" (J.K. Rowling)

"Jane Austen is my favourite author" (E.M. Forster)

"The technique of [Jane Austen's novels] is beyond praise.... Her mastery of the art she chose, or that chose her, is complete" (Elizabeth Bowen)

"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste" (Virginia Woolf)

"I am a great admirer of Jane Austen" (Alexander McCall Smith)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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