"Miss Dashwood had a delicate complexion, regular features, and a remarkably pretty figure. Marianne was still handsomer. Her form, though not so correct as her sister's . . . was more striking"
As the title of Jane Austen's first published novel suggests, the difference between two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, lies not only in their appearance but also in their temperament. Yet Sense and Sensibility not only contrasts Elinor's good sense, her readiness to observe social forms and Marianne's impulsive candor, her warm but excessive sensibility; it also highlights their shared predicament in the face of a competitive marriage market. The sisters' parallel experience of love, and its threatened loss, causes both to readjust and question their own values. Jane Austen's satirical powers of observation and expression spare no one in this lively study of the constraints placed on gentry women in the eighteenth century.
"The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!"
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behavior leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile, Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
This edition includes explanatory notes, textual variants between the first and second editions, and Tony Tanner's introduction to the original Penguin Classic edition.
Did you find this review helpful?