In its marvelously perceptive portrayal of two young women in love, Sense and Sensibility is the answer to those who believe that Jane Austen’s novels, despite their perfection of form and tone, lack strong feeling.
Its two heroines, Marianne and Elinor—so utterly unlike each other–both undergo the most violent passions when they are separated from the men they love. What differentiates them, and gives this extroardinary 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 Marianne’s “sensibility” have equally worked to reveal the profound emotional life that runs beneath the surface of Austen’s immaculate and irresistible art.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
One of England s most beloved authors, Jane Austen wrote such classic novels as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. Published anonymously during her life, Austen s work was renowned for its realism, humour, and commentary on English social rites and society at the time. Austen s writing was supported by her family, particularly by her brother, Henry, and sister, Cassandra, who is believed to have destroyed, at Austen s request, her personal correspondence after Austen s death in 1817. Austen s authorship was revealed by her nephew in A Memoir of Jane Austen, published in 1869, and the literary value of her work has since been recognized by scholars around the world.
Peter Conrad is Tutor in English at Christ Church College, Oxford.
“[Sense and Sensibility] is a subtler and a more searching novel than [its critics’] blunt instruments of perception have been capable of registering, because it deals not with the categories of romantic philosophy but with the transformation of those categories into ways of feeling and behaving. It explores the unsettling romantic alteration of the internal life.” –from the Introduction by Peter Conrad