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Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 25 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620429
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,004 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

Review

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

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By jfp2006 on 15 Mar. 2005
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jun. 2010
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Mar. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have recently started to listen to audio books of Jane Austen's novels but I prefer the unabridged editions. This one is shown on the product description as `unabridged' but in fact it is abridged. That said, I enjoyed listening to it though I didn't think the sound quality was as good as BBC Audio books - or maybe it was just Julie Christie and the way she reads it. I found the ends of words kept disappearing.

This edition was worth listening to though I think perhaps too much was omitted as it was sometimes difficult to follow the storyline. The story involves two sisters - Elinor and Marian - who find themselves in straightened circumstances following the death of their father. The two sisters are complete opposites with Elinor representing `sense' and Marian `sensibility'. What happens to them when they move to a rented cottage on the estate of Sir John Middleton and make new friends is interesting even if you know the story.

The book is not as gripping as the author's `Emma' or `Pride and Prejudice' but it repays careful study and its lessons are still relevant today. You cannot always judge by appearances and it is perhaps better to settle for someone who cares about you rather than someone who appears only to care about himself.

The reading is recorded on 6 CDs lasting 5.75 hours.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 July 2014
Format: Paperback
The Dashwood sisters: calm, sensible Elinor, and impetuous and passionate Marianne, are forced to leave their home, Norland Park, after the death of their father when the family estate is left to their half-brother, John. Elinor is especially reluctant to leave Norland, as she has become rather close to a kind but diffident young man, Edward Ferrars, who is the brother of John's grasping wife, Fanny. With their mother and much younger sister, Margaret, Elinor and Marianne move into a large cottage in the grounds of Barton Park, the home of a kind and generous distant relative, where they meet retired officer and gentleman, the gallant Colonel Brandon, and the dashing, handsome, but unreliable, Mr Willoughby. Later, Elinor is introduced to the seemingly affable Lucy Steele, who does her utmost to ingratiate herself with the Dashwood girls, especially Elinor - however, Lucy has a secret that when revealed is particularly injurious to Elinor, and when Marianne also has her heart broken, Elinor struggles to keep a calm head and cope with the onslaught of emotions that suddenly befall her.

A real pleasure to read, this is a beautifully written, sensitive, yet witty and very entertaining novel, complete with a host of manipulative, deceitful and grasping supporting characters, who contrast well with the sensitive and sensible Elinor and her intimates. I have been reading and re-reading Jane Austen's novels for many years and I cannot remember how many times I have read and enjoyed this book - but one of the main purposes of this review is to talk about the lovely new Vintage Classic editions of Jane Austen's classics.
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