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Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 2 Sep 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 291 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Rev Ed edition (2 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439662
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

"As nearly flawless as any fiction could be."
Eudora Welty"

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the characters, from the manipulative Fanny Dashwood to the handsome stranger in Willoughby and the boring yet kind Colonel Brandon. Marianne had extreme emotions, from falling in love immediately to almost dying of a broken heart. Elinor was the more sensible of the sisters, I felt she depicted Jane Austen in this novel.

There were several aspects of this novel which really represented the time it was written in; marriage and life expectancy. Otherwise this is a timeless story, filled with witty observations and characters you may recognise from your own life.

Marriage was a huge pre-occupation for women in Austen times, it determined everything about their lives. It wasn't just about who they married, it affected what their lifestyle would be, who they would socialise with, who their children could marry. Marrying for money was preferred (mostly by the brides) but everyone else involved didn't think it mattered, much better to marry someone rich who you could grow to tolerate than marry for love and be poor.

Life expectancy also changes everything. At several points in the novel references were made to how long someone could expect to live. Mrs Dashwood (40) was only expected to live another 7 years or so, Colonel Brandon was thought extremely old at 35 to be looking for love, Marianne at 17 was already hoping she wouldn't end up as the maiden aunt. The average life expectancy in 1811 was 36, this includes the working class (80% of the population) so I would expect the middle and upper classes to last a little longer. So the pressure was on to marry and have children as early as possible with a hope of seeing your grandchildren before you're 40.

If you're new to Jane Austen or are intimidated by older novels, my advice is just to dive in.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 story - but one of the main purposes of this review is to talk about the Kindle Whispersync for Voice combination.
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