SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen
September 25th 2017, Worth Press (Original Publication: 30th October 1811)
Sense and Sensibility’s two heroines – so utterly unlike each other – undergo the most violent passions when they are separated from the men they love. What differentiates them, and gives this extraordinary book its complexity and brilliance is the way each expresses her suffering.
Marianne – young, impetuous, ardent – falls into paroxysms of grief when she is rejected by the dashing John Willoughby; while her sister, Elinor – wiser, more sensible, more self-controlled – masks her despair when it appears that Edward Ferrars is to marry the mean-spirited and cunning Lucy Steele.
All, of course, ends happily – but not until Elinor’s ‘sense’ and Mariannes’ ‘sensibility’ have equally worked to reveal the profound emotional life that runs beneath the surface of Austen’s immaculate art.
Reading as part of an Ardently Austen Book Club readalong on Instagram this was my first ever Jane Austen story and from what I’ve read, her debut novel. Given the wide variety of reading material we have now this book is a bit of a slow burner and for a start I did struggle with the language used, but once I got used to the writing style, into the story and invested with the characters I found it flowed really well.
The story centres around two sisters Elinor and Marianne and their life. I found both to be strong characters, although disposed to bouts of histrionics, which to be fair I thought was within reason at times. In the modern world where women have a lot more free reign this was a reminder to me as to how life was for women in the late 18th century, how they were supposed to behave, what society expected from them and what hardships they could face.
I cannot wait to start the next book (PRIDE & PREJUDICE) in February.
My review for SENSE & SENSIBILITY is not too dissimilar to [K] in that when this readalong kicked off and I started to read the book, I found the language very try to get my head around. I found myself reading the same paragraph two or three times to understand what was happening!
I’m used to reading a lot of crime fiction with a strong female lead, one who doesn’t take any punches and goes up against pretty much all male counter parts. With this in mind, I found it a major shift to then look at Marianne and Elinor with how they behaved towards men…..then I remembered this book was written in the early 1800s! This book really does give you an insight into what life was life back then.
This was my first ‘proper’ classic fiction title and also my first Jane Austen novel. I’m glad I’ve read it now so I can try and act all smart over the dinner table (it’s not always appropriate to quote Fifty Shades….) but I wouldn’t say it’s a book I would go back and re-read.
Next on the list now is watching the movie adaption with Alan Rickman!
Have you read any Jane Austen? If so, what was your favourite?
Join in the book club over on Instagram!