Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

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‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

This edition includes explanatory notes, textual variants between the first and second editions, and Tony Tanner’s introduction to the original Penguin Classic edition.

My review

Jane Austen’s writing transports me to another time and place. A time in which simple pleasures are the focus and the English countryside is untouched. Her novels are much more than stories of romance and raise numerous issues of society and self-discovery. Although I love her writing, this is the first time I have read Sense and Sensibility in it’s entirety. This edition was the perfect one to read, not to mention how truly beautiful the clothbound cover is. I enjoyed reading the additional comments on Austen and the novel itself, giving me insight into just how special this novel was to the author, as she considered it her ‘literary baby’.

The strong female protagonists Marianne and Elinor Dashwood have a beautiful relationship. Through the characters, Austen explores the essence of family life, the connection between siblings and how to truly place others’ happiness before one’s own. I fell in love with so many of the characters in the novel and it is, as Pride and Prejudice, an extraordinary literary classic due to the intricate web spun by Austen. If I did not know the story well, I would have been surprised by the ending.

Although I love the novel, the only parts that I did not enjoy were the lengthy idle gossip and the constant talk of financial gain.

I am almost tempted to share the themes of the novel and analyse it in depth, however, I need not write a book report instead of a review. I will however, say that I feel life lessons can be learnt from the Dashwood’s world, their connections and especially the inner thoughts of Elinor and Marianne. My favourite quote by Elinor is ‘Know your own happiness.’ What simple words, yet such meaning. I found many more hidden gems in this novel.

Sense and Sensibility is truly a beautiful novel. I would recommend it for Jane Austen fans and anyone interested in reading a classic that is as influential today as the day it was written.


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