Jane Austen's first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, is a witty satire of the sentimental novel, a popular genre in Britain throughout the 1790s and the Regency. When it first appeared in 1811, the words in its title carried significant cultural weight beyond the confines of the novel and into both popular and learned discourse. Through her dual heroines, Austen addresses, and satirizes, notions of sense and sensibility and engages with the issues of inheritance, marriage, and love.
The story concerns two sisters: the level-headed Elinor and the passionate and impulsive Marianne. When their father dies, his son by a previous marriage assumes possession of the family home. Marianne and Elinor, left to the care of their mercenary brother John and his wife Fanny, must move to a cottage with their mother. Each sister meets a man in whom she is interested, and, as with other Austen novels, requited love does not come easily.
This newly annotated edition offers a thorough and perceptive introduction and a wide range of carefully selected contextual materials that further explore the term "sensibility."
In SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, Jane Austen writes about two ways of looking at the world in the personalities of two sisters, Elinor the determinedly practical and Marianne the madly romantic. Forced to live in reduced circumstances with their widowed mother and younger sister, the Dashwood girls must rely on marrying well if they are to survive in the world, and the way in which this goal is eventually accomplished provides the plot of this delightful novel, the first of Jane Austen's to be published (1811). As SENSE AND SENSIBILITY progresses to the requisite happy ending, Elinor and Marianne and their suitors are subjected to a volley of misunderstandings, jealousies, and manipulations--and to Jane Austen's mercilessly satirical look at provincial life. As she herself stated, "Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on"--and in doing so, Austen perfected the comedy of manners, zeroing in on her characters and their relationship to the society in which they live--an achievement that brought her closer to the later novels of the Victorian era and the 20th century than to those that preceded her.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Literary, Classics, Money + Finance, Family + Friendship, General, Love + Relationships + Sex, Types of Characters, Settings, Romance
- March 1, 2001
- March 1, 2001
- Jane Austen