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Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Jane Austen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 2004 Penguin Classics

Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen's first published work, meticulously constructed and sparkling with her unique wit. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with a critical introduction by Ros Ballaster.

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

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature's most famous women writers. Austen began writing at a young age, embarking on what is possibly her best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, at the age of 22. She was the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.

If you liked Sense and Sensibility, you may enjoy Wilkie Collins's No Name, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. What she did, she did perfectly. Her work, as far as it goes, is faultless'

Anthony Trollope


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (2 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439662
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.7 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"As nearly flawless as any fiction could be." --Eudora Welty --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and magnificent 15 Mar 2005
By jfp2006
Format:Paperback
While the various cinema and television dramatisations of her books have deservedly contributed to making Jane Austen known and loved beyond the study of her writing in the classroom, it would be a shame to settle for the adaptations and never read those exquisitely written novels.
I have just reread "Sense and Sensibility" and have once again marvelled at the absolute masterliness of Jane Austen's depiction of human feelings, hesitations and dilemmas. Young ladies in 2005 may not make their emotional choices in the same way as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood had to do two hundred years ago, but few contemporary writers show the complexity of emotional relationships with the same precision and insight as Jane Austen. Then as now, the most irresistible men on the surface turn out, like Willougby, to be the most unsuitable ones when you get to know them (and that doesn't make them any less irresistible...); then as now, parents (Mrs Frears) tend to be domineering and unbearable, and yet a part of the equation to be reckoned with; then as now, it may be a good idea to realise that people are very often less predictable than they at first seemed...
But then - and very often not now... - there was the way Jane Austen plotted it all out and honed her sentences like chisels, so that the novel begs to be read aloud.
As of course it would have been once. For those who never have, time to switch off the TV and launch into Jane Austen. Start with this one; take sides with Marianne and with Elinor, marvel at how comic characters like jovial Mrs Jennings and bimbo-ish, semi-literate Lucy Steele remind you of people still very much at large today. Then treat yourself to the even more wonderful "Pride and Prejudice". And then all the others. And bemoan the fact there are only six of them (plus a couple of bits...) And then start all over again.
Magnificent.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sense dictates you buy this CD 27 Oct 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a short review of the product not the book.

It is superbly read by Ms Stevenson (as in her reading of "Persuasion") - once more every word and inflection counts. The characters - well or less ably drawn - live. Miss Austen's often stringent wit comes through repeatedly, as does her understanding of her gender. I can't think of a better way to make a series of long car journeys a delightful prospect!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duty and desire 9 Jun 2010
By Damaskcat HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent pocket sized edition of Jane Austen's first novel. The type is clear and a reasonable size and the book is nicely produced with an interesting introduction.

Elinor and Marianne are good examples of how two sisters can be completely different in character and temperament. Elinor is the sensible cautious sister and Marianne the romantic and sensitive one who delights in wild landscapes and feeling heartbroken or elated. I always love the way both sisters deal with adversity. Elinor seeks to keep her feelings to herself and to find occupations to take her mind of what has happened; Marianne wallows in disappointment and doesn't try to overcome her feelings. There are parallels to be drawn here with modern society which encourages people to let their feelings all `hang out' and with say the 1950s where there was more emphasis on duty, putting others first and dealing with your own disappointments.

As ever Jane Austen's dialogue and descriptions delight the reader. There are comic and serious characters; the good natured Mrs Jennings and the unpleasant Mrs Ferrars; the reliable and thoughtful Colonel Brandon and the completely unreliable John Willoughby. While not the most popular of Austen's novels it is still very readable and a delight to anyone who loves her work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, anything Jane Austen is just great 19 Nov 2006
By JK
Format:Paperback
This is my second favourite Jane Austen's novel after Pride and Prejudice. As usual, i find Jane Austen's style amazing, I loved many characters in the book specially Marian, i always found something charming about this girl much more charming than her sister..Her emotions are very deep, she loves deeply, grieves deeply, even her prejudice is deep. I felt very sorry for her for even though she married but it seemed to me like she will never love anyone like she loved willoughby. I first read this book in 2000, i read it again last year and i enjoyed it as if i was reading it for the first time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen's First Look at English Society 11 April 2006
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Most people who have read Jane Austen will have read Pride and Prejudice. With a title like Sense and Sensibility, most readers will assume that the two books can be interpreted and enjoyed in the same way. Other than having three word titles that employ alliteration in the first and third words, the two novels are more different than similar.
While Pride and Prejudice is primarily about miscommunication, Sense and Sensibility is about the maturation of two sisters as they find themselves confronted by adversity. The former topic allows Ms. Austen more room to roam, but within the later topic she has plenty of opportunities to display her story telling and comic talents. While maturation is an important sub theme in Pride and Prejudice, you see maturation better developed in Sense and Sensibility.
When their father dies, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret find themselves in exile from their family home with their mother. The family estate had been left to their half brother whom their father exhorted to take care of them. But that promise is soon diluted into doing almost nothing through the selfishness of his wife and his vacillation. A relative kindly offers them a country cottage near his home and takes obvious pleasure in their company.
In this new home, Elinor finds herself entertaining the welcome attentions of Edward Ferrars. Her sister, Marianne, is all aflutter over John Willoughby who seems to be committed to her. In fact, everyone assumes that there will soon be wedding bells for Marianne and Willoughby.
All of these pleasant connections are, however, soon disrupted. Willoughby leaves and ignores Marianne. Elinor finds out an unexpected secret about Ferrars that puts her on her caution in pursuing their relationship.
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