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Austen's work is not for everyone, but if you are able to see past the teacups and dresses for the satire and wit, it becomes a whole new experience.
I read this book for the Well Read Mom's Book Club. Jane Austen is just not my cup of tea. I struggled though by making myself read at least 5 chapters a day. I did appreciate the sisterly love of Elinor and Marianne. I know this is classic literature, but I just need more than going to tea, finding a man to marry and letting others interfere in your life.
Set in the early 19th century Regency Era- the same time period in which Austen lived- Sense and Sensibility depicts the relationship and characterization of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The plot of the novel is set up by the unfortunate death of their father, which due to the inheritance system of the time, meant that the entirety of his property would go to the son of his previous marriage instead of his daughters. The rest of the story unfolds as readers follow the sisters in their pursuit of marriage, as it would be the only way for the Dashwoods to secure a comfortable, financially stable living.
Throughout the novel, the sisters share similar encounters of falling in love and prospects of marriage, though experienced in vastly different ways. The novel is written from the point of view of Elinor, who is characterized as being highly sensible. She is practical and prudent, and her romantic relationship mirrors her conduct. In contrast, Marianne is known for her display of sensibility; unlike Elinor, her path of love is strongly based on passion.
For much of the novel, Austen appears to be in the favor of prioritizing sense over sensibility, yet by the end, it becomes clear to both the protagonists and readers that it is important to have a balance of both in order to lead a happy life.
Beyond the plot of the novel, Austen also provides insightful social commentary on topics, such as classism and the agency of women of the 1800s.
Another highlight of the novel is Austen’s famous style of writing. The tone of her narration is witty and conversational so that, despite the novel being written centuries ago, Austen is able to transcend time and have even the modern reader understand her implications.
Overall, because of its lovable characters, charming plot, and Austen’s clever writing, I highly recommend this book.
I see all copies in use - you can easily download this book for free online from Project Gutenberg as it's in the public domain. Love all of Jane Austen's books!
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are loving but very different sisters. Elinor is all about social propriety, and Marianne about sentiments. One has too much sense, and the other sensibility. Yet they both struggle with love. The mother of Elinor’s love interest opposes their union, and Marianne’s lover is not who she thinks she is. What will they have to encounter to achieve the perfect balance and arrive at their happy endings?
I initially hated this book and thought it should be called “Selfishness and Superiority.” Marianne was self-absorbed and Elinor thought herself superior to everyone around her, either through observation skills or moral standards.
However, I eventually changed my opinion. Marianne learned self-control out of love for her sister, and Elinor, although still thinking herself superior, proved justified in her belief. Even Edward, whom I took to be a coward, was revealed as just overly responsible.
I came across a post noting that apparently some people consider Ang Lee’s movie Crouch Tiger Hidden Dragon an adaptation of S&S. Because I did not spot any similarities, I found an article that says that the shared message is that people need a mixture of sense and sensibility. While that is true, there are two differences here.
One difference lies in the social systems by which etiquette was defined. This might sound like a given but while in S&S it just seems to be about relationships with one’s inner circle, in the Chinese heroistic world it’s a responsibility to all society.
This means that the characters in Crouching Tiger had much more at stake, including self-worth, honor and societal influence. Thus comparing the two sets of s&s would be like comparing a frisbee to a galaxy because both are disc-shaped. That said, S&S is still a charming work, and Austen does a great job sending her message about the necessity of both sense and sensibility.
It took me a while to get into this book (partly because I had to get re-used to Jane Austen's writing style), but by the end I was definitely enjoying it. I was feeling a little claustrophobic stuck in that tiny cottage for most of Volume I, where Elinor's passivity didn't lend itself to much happening and Marianne's opinions and personality annoyed me very much, while their mother had a good portion of Mrs. Bennet's obliviousness without any of her hilariousness, Margaret barely existed, and the neighborly invasions got old very quickly. At least the Palmers were sometimes around to be funny. When the Dashwood sisters went to town, events became more interesting and Mrs. Jennings became very tolerable, but I couldn't really admire the character of any of the male characters, and I thought Willoughby's in particular did too many violent flip-flops. I do enjoy Austen's barbed wit, as always, as well as her decided support of her day's equivalent of homeschooling. There is also an emotional depth to her work that makes me enjoy her happy endings. Overall, not bad, but I would definitely rather reread Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion, the other two Austen works I've finished, than this one.
When I was in the 6th grade, I read my first Jane Austen book. Borrowing from the 5th grade classroom's books (the 6th grade library shelf didn't have a great selection as far as I was concerned), I cracked open Sense and Sensibility with a fair amount of trepidation and nervous excitement. It was the hardest book I'd ever read, but I had discovered this thing that most literary lovers are familiar with; an Austen craving. I'd heard lots about this author, and finally decided I needed to familiarize myself with her material first hand. It took me several months, but by the time I put down the book, I was a different girl. I was an Austen fan.
For the first time since that day, I reread this amazing novel. It has to be my favorite Austen book (and I love Pride and Prejudice). The characters, the plot, the situations... humor, heart, and heartbreak all wrapped into one. The challenges are real, the characters flawed, and the heroes unexpected. I think it is perhaps one of her most romantic in that she depicts so many types of love, and the progression of real love in various ways. Love never happens the same way twice. But it usually isn't dreamlike... and Austen knew that. This love was so achingly real that it made you want to stand up and cheer when the beloved Marianne and Elinor finally saw it themselves. The themes of sibling and parental love are also explored in just as talented a manner.
(And, the BBC min-series is great!)
Finally finished this, after over a month of reading it. I read Wuthering Heights not long ago, and it didn't give me *too* much trouble, so I thought this one would be relatively easy. I was so wrong.
First off, Austen's writing is so difficult to follow. Each sentence must have a minimum of eight commas, and there are so many instances of adjectives or clauses not being put anywhere near the word they're describing. There is also Austen's annoying habit of referring to people as "Mrs. So-and-so", but providing no clue as to which of the married women with that surname she is referring. For instance, there are two Mrs. Dashwoods, three Miss Dashwoods, two Miss Steeles, two Mr. Ferrars, etc., etc. This makes things so confusing for the reader. And as I mentioned in my review of Wuthering Heights, I needed a scorecard to understand the interrelationships among the various families: The Dashwood sisters' half brother is married to the Ferrar brothers' sister, and the Steele sisters are somehow related to someone, and Sir John is somebody's cousin, and I don't know what else. And understanding all these relationships is crucial to understanding the plot.
To me, the only redeeming factor was the sense of satisfaction I got when I understood one of Austen's little jokes. And, of course, the satisfaction of finally finishing the book.
One of my favorite Jane Austen books. I wish I had read this before I saw the film years ago.
I love, love, love this book!!! It is one of the best books I've ever read. Jane Austen writes so beautifully!
alright absolutely fantastico goodbye in Italian and Spanish. I did Not see the book, but I read the movie. How is that? I loved every splendid hour of power and I never thought that I would be able to sit still enough to know the beauty of E MMA can you hear me? are you there? magnified performance, because I am not sure if everybody in this movie is not considered a lead actor - too much is never enough - but who is the supporting all. The words, the laughs and kate you don't have to method try that cry he should have never jilted you. love you Emily Thomas
First Jane Austen book I've read. It's long and boring, but I find the situation comical. Elinor's and Marianne's beaux seem to have other beaux, and you just have to wait and find out what happens!
I have read and love all of Jane Austen's books, and am now listening to the audio versions one by one. Donada Peters does an exceptional job reading, and I appreciated the wonderful inflection and character traits she provides. Well worth a listen!
This is the first Austen book I've read. It came across, at first, as a soap opera written in a flowerly, pretentious manner. However, upon second thought, Austen's feminine "sense" comes through in the story of the Dashwood sisters and how they, in the final analysis, better all those in their social circle. Her writing style does take some time getting used to, though.
A true classic! It's just sad about Willoughby and Marianne :( I watched the movie afterwards and they just took out some characters; like one of the Steele sisters and Lady Middleton and her kids!
My personal least favorite Jane Austen, it is still 5 stars. Jane Austen's worst (and I don't really think of it that way, it is only my taste in question) is among the best written in the English language.
I'm generally doubtful about the quality of so-called "literary classics" as it often seems to me that people tout about how amazing they are and sing praises about them all the way to high heaven, when in reality the books only really important quality is that it is famous for being a literary classic. It's like the Kardashian's, or Paris Hilton: Famous for being famous, and people seem to love them though others don't quite know why. That being said, I give these classics a chance, and Sense and Sensibility is one such novel I gave a chance to. I have to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. It began a tad slow, but by the middle I was enjoying myself a great deal. I saw where the story was going, and thought it might end one way that would have left me entirely satisfied... and then it didn't. Instead it went completely cliche and ended with a "But then everyone realized their true feelings for everyone finally and they all got married!" kind of ending you expect from a high school roman novel, not a classic that some people feel supports early femminist ideas. So to sum up, pretty good book, but the ending ruins it.
One of my least favourite Jane Austen books, along with Emma. I couldn't relate well to the characters, and I never like it when one of the heroines ends up with someone old enough to be her father. Why couldn't he have married their mother who was closer to his age? She needs love, too!
Elinor (the sense) and Edward love each other while Colonel Brandon loves Marianne (the sensibility). Since all of Elinor and Edward’s interactions happen before the novel opens, you have to take Elinor’s word for it. You certainly can’t go by Edward’s actions, since he is almost never around – and when he is, he is engaged to Lucy. Whenever Colonel Brandon visits the Dashwoods, he spends all his time with Elinor, not Marianne; and whenever Elinor speaks of Colonel Brandon it is with more fondness than she displays towards anyone else, including Edward. Yet somehow Elinor and Edward marry, and so do Marianne and Colonel Brandon. Didn’t see that coming.
Like a German verb*, Austen's wit often comes, barbed, almost hidden, near the tail of the sentence. "He was giving orders...finally arranged (the toothpick cases) by his own inventive fancy...to imprint on Elinor the remembrance of a person and face, of strong, natural, sterling insignificance, though adorned in the first style of fashion." She almost seems to be politely complimenting a character until she cracks the whip and delivers the withering, almost snarky, blow. "Sterling insignificance" indeed!
Published in 1811, S&S is arguably the first modern psychological novel (OK, I hear the French cry, "La Princesse de Cleves" or "Manon Lescaut", so you can have your own opinion.)
*"Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth." - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain