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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2010
This novel was a big revelation for me. Even though I love period dramas, somehow the S&S movie didn"t manage to grab me. It was one of those movies, that I wasn't enthusiastic to rewatch, even though I love Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant, and think that they did a great job and the whole movie looks great, but it is the story that I was not fond of.

So you can imagine that I wasn't enthusiastic to read the novel either. Actually, when it was voted as the next book in my reading group, I decided I would skip it. And then my cousin just gave it to me and when I started reading it, I couldn't stop. I loved it! Somehow it is completely different from the movie. Here Elinor isn't an Ice Queen, just a private and mature girl, and Marianne didn't annoy me with her liveliness and passionate views as in the movie. I think the only character I liked better in the movie than in the book was Edward Ferrars.

I'm sorry to say that S&S is quite an understated Austen novel: Pride and Prejudice, Presuasion and Emma usually get all the praise and are the favourites of readers, but this Austen novel is excellent in its subdued pastel coloured way too.

If you love the movie or the miniseries, you ahve to read it, and if the screen adaptations didn't really engage you, I'd still encourage you to give S&S a chance, the novel is well worth the read, I'm sure you will love it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2013
As I pride myself on being an avid reader of English literature and am now close on 50, I felt it simply could not do anymore that I hadn't yet read a single novel by Jane Austen. So I recently resolved to read all of them, in the order that they were published 200 odd years ago (as I did last year with Dickens and the year before with Trollope, yes I like to think I am nothing if not methodical).

Is it any wonder I now blame myself heartily for having waited so long? 'Sense and Sensibility' is of course deservedly a classic, and, as millions before me I guess, I was captivated from page one by the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, Willoughby, Edward Ferrars and Colonel Brandon.

The action may be set 200 years ago, but the story is ultimately about that inexhaustible and timeless topic: love and love's tribulations, and as such it is most probably as captivating today as it was in 1811 when it was first published. I found this splendid story to be a real page-turner, very 'easy-to-read' with a limited cast of characters (but what characters!) and an incomparably fluent style and yet, at the same time, there's ever so much to reflect upon that I wonder not that many, of whom I will become one I hazard, keep on re-reading these novels. But first I am eager to discover what joys Pride and Prejudice (Oxford World's Classics) will bring!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
Two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are opposites in nature. Elinor, the older sister, is sensible, practical and responsible. Whereas, Marianne is impassioned, spontaneous and a believer in romantic idealism. How will their personalities shape their futures?

After reading Pride and Prejudice - an all-time favourite of mine - I naturally had to try some of her other works. This was her first book and I found it an enjoyable read, however, I took me a month to read this and I got a little confused...

The confusion was due to the number of characters and the different relations between them. Fairly often at the beginning I would have to look up side-characters to check who they were. I'm not saying the characters were unnecessary but they were broader than the typical modern novel.

One of the things I've noticed is the amount of sisterly affection in both novels. The concern they have for one another is almost unparalleled in today's society. They share each other’s joy and misery quite literally. It’s refreshing to see when it seems that today it’s often a case of “that’s not my problem”.

Sense and Sensibility is a good read but I think I’d make even more out of it on my next time around. Once again I was blown away by Austen’s strong development of her characters and look forward to more of this in her other novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2009
Intially, I wasn't that impressed with Julie Christie's reading of Sense and Sensibility. It was sometimes harsh to listen to and unsubtle, but as it progressed Christie improved greatly. It is abridged and runs over 6 cds. It is a lovely cd to listen to, and of a great novel.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 March 2010
This book was chosen for my reading group and I had mixed feelings before starting it. I did not enjoy Pride and Prejudice at school, probably because of the way it was taught; I hated Emma (she must be the most irritating heroine ever!); and although I quite enjoyed Mansfield Park I wouldn't say it was one of my all-time favourite reads.

Sense and Sensibility to me is in a different class. For a start it is quite a page-turner in that you really want to know what happens next. Yes, it is a story of thwarted love, but it is much more a comedy of manners. Austen's subtle wit and observation of her characters is masterly. Her depiction of the cruelty of Lucy's "friendship" towards Elinor is perfect, so that when she Elinor is to leave for London, Austen writes "she was pleased to be free herself from the persecution of Lucy's friendship". What a wonderfully expressive way to describe it.

Of the nine members in my group, six of us loved the book and the other three were less enthusiastic, partly through having been put off the classics at school. We also watched the Emma Thompson film and all enjoyed that, even those who didn't care for the book. In my opinion, though, the film lacks the subtle nuances and deliciously acid wit that comes across so well in the book.

One criticism that was widely shared - some of the sentences are immensely long so that you lose the thread by time you get to the end. This, I think, is simply an aspect of 18th/19th century literature and it just means you have to give the book your full concentration. I also made a note of the various characters names as I went along as there are quite a number and it can get confusing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2009
So you want to read Sense and Sensibility. Great choice! Jane Austen's first published novel (1811) can get lost in the limelight of her other `darling child', Pride and Prejudice, but is well worth the effort. There are many editions available in print today, and the text can stand on its own, but for those seeking a `friendlier' version with notes and appendixes, the question arises of how much supplemental material do you need, and is it helpful?

One option is the Oxford World's Classics new revised edition of Sense and Sensibility that presents an interesting array of additional material that comfortably falls somewhere between just the text, and supplemental overload. This volume offers what I feel a good edition should be, an expansive introduction and detailed notes supporting the text in a clear, concise and friendly manner that the average reader can understand and enjoy.

The material opens with a one paragraph biography of the life of Jane Austen which seemed rather slim to this Austen enthusiast's sensibility, and most certainly too short for a neophyte. The introduction quickly made up for it in both size and content at a whopping 33 pages! Wow, author Margaret Anne Doody does not disappoint, and it is easy to understand why after eighteen years publishers continue to use her excellent essay in subsequent editions.

Amazingly, the introduction is not at all dated. The material covered is accessible to any era of reader, touching upon the novels publishing history, plot line, character analysis, and historical context. Doody thoughtfully presents the reader with an analysis of the major themes in the novel such as; the dichotomy of sense and sensibility as it relates to the two heroines Elinor and Marianne, the portrayal of negligent mothers, men represented as the ultimate hunter, secrecy, deceit and concealment, and the crippling impact of the inheritance laws and primogeniture on women during the Regency era. Interlaced with Doody's interpretations are her astute observations of Austen's writing style with references to pages in the novel and outside sources. The entire essay is well researched, populated with footnotes, and an enjoyable complement to the text.

The notes on the text explain the editorial trail since the novel's first publication in 1811, whose subtle changes and their significance I will defer to my more learned colleague Prof. Moody. The select bibliography is indeed select, and includes many editions that deserve recognition as the best of what is available in print on Jane Austen's life, works and critical analysis. One of my favorites listed is Jane Austen: A Family Record (1913) by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh, revised and enlarged by Deirdre Le Faye (1989). I was also pleasantly surprised to see a category including film versions and commentaries which is often overlooked by other publishers.

The chronology of Jane Austen's life lists both significant events and what transpired historically in matching columns. The choices are relevant and interesting with the exception of two events that this writer found humorous; - 1795 Jane Austen flirts with Tom Lefroy, and in 1815 Humphry Davy invents miner's safety lamp. I have yet to be convinced that Austen's flirtation with Tom Lefroy had a significant impact on her life, nor am I clear how a clergyman's daughter living in southern England would be directly affected by the invention of a miner's safety lamp. Just thinking out loud here!

The two appendixes on rank and social status, and the intricacies of country dance touched upon both subjects clearly, but briefly, using stories from Jane Austen's life to put the era in context. I appreciated the humorous example of how young women attending balls and assemblies were accompanied by chaperones, usually a mother or an older woman, who were expected to pass the time with cards or socializing rather than dancing themselves. In a letter to her sister Cassandra, thirty-seven year-old Austen recognizes the transition from dancer to on-looker when she writes "Bye the bye, I must leave off being young, I find many Douceurs in being a sort of Chaperon for I am put on the Sofa near the Fire & can drink as much wine as I like." Too funny! Even though each of these appendixes is short, they do offer a list of books to explore further reading, which I was inspired to investigate.

Since contemporary novels do cease to be contemporary the day that they are published, growing even more distant with each generation, notes can become indispensible to the enjoyment of the modern reader. Prof. Claire Lamont has supplied excellent and insightful explanatory notes, allowing for instant gratification with detailed descriptions of language usage, social and historical context, and character and plot insights. I found this the most interesting aspect of this edition, and reading the explanatory notes alone was like reading a condensed dictionary to Jane Austen, her times, and the plot and characters in Sense and Sensibility.

In short, Oxford World's Classics has pulled together just the right amount of supplemental material from reputable and readable sources for their revised edition of Sense and Sensibility. I found very little wanting in this edition, and recommend it to first time readers, or veterans seeking new insights.

Posted by Laurel Ann, Austenprose
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2010
This edition of "Sense and Sensibility" is accessible to everyone, thanks to its cheap price and good narration. The expression from ancient English are very intelligible, the annotation on the last page of the novel are short, explanatory and welcome, and some illustrations give more comfort or reading.

Moreover, "Sense and Sensibility" is still very in phase with a modern context, and it might be funny for teenagers to find themselves quite well described in one of the protagonists...

A must-have, whatever your age and interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2011
Not perhaps so immediately delightful as Pride and Prejudice, this is still one of the finest English novels ever written. It lacks a Mr Darcy that can be said, the romantic hero here Edward is a bit on the worthy side for some tastes.

The opening chapters in which Mrs John Dashwood talks her husband out of honouring his father's death bed wish that he should look after his sisters is a masterpiece, showcasing Jane Austen's famed irony at its best.
I find Marianne the most engaging character, wearing her heart on her sleeve so open to total love and so set up to fail. Spurned lovers everywhere, will feel her gut wrenching, curled up to die, suffering, on learning of her loved one's betrayal One of the themes of the book is whether 'second loves ' are any good.Marianne is certainly well shot of her first perfidious lover but Colonel Brandon??? I have problems with him, to me it seems as though the author wasn't too whole hearted about him either! All ends that ends well and because of the exquisite writing I can not give it less than 5 stars but purely as a personal matter I am not that taken with any of the characters except perhaps Sir John!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2011
This is one of my favourite Jane Austen books, though I like most of them I have to admit. It's a sweet read, rather like Pride and Prejudice, in the same style with the same sort of characters. I find that it has less whit than Pride and Prejudice, with a lot of the characters being on the silly side, and unlike some of Austen's other books the smaller characters in Sense and Sensibility seem under-developed. If you enjoy this genre though I do think you will enjoy this book, it is a good read.
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