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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to Jane Austen's Works
Although SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is not of one Jane Austen's best novels, it is nonetheless a major novel, with the author's then-young talent in full display. Its publication in 1811 marked Austen as a huge literary talent, and its significance reverberates even today as contemporary readers re-discover the works of this author so adept at uncovering the foibles of...
Published on June 23 2004 by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

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3.0 out of 5 stars Austen City Limits
There are two schools of Austen. The first, her ardent admirers, adore everything she does; the second find the snobby world her characters inhabit a perpetual turnoff. Belonging to neither category myself, this book strikes me as somewhat tentative, in regards to Austen's development as a writer. This opinion I'm sure won't endear me to the legions of Austen fans who...
Published on July 16 2001 by empty71


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Similar to Pride but Holds Its Own by the End, July 10 2004
By 
Jennifer B. Barton "Beth Barton" (McKinney, Tx) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Classics Sense And Sensibility (Paperback)
In Sense and Sensible the storyline dwells on the two elder sisters of the Dashwood family, Elinor and Mariane. Elinor is always in control of her emotions and is governed primarily by prudence (sense). Her younger sister, Marianne, is an emotional whirlwind whose sensibilities dictate that those who do not evidence wholly encompassing emotions are without them entirely. As in Pride & Prejudice, the family home of the Dashwoods has been willed to another member of the family not in the immediate nuclear family. In Pride & Prejudice, the home was entailed to Mr. Collins, a distant cousin. Where there was only an overshadowing of the loss of the estate in that book, in Sense & Sensibility, the house is actually lost to the half brother whose wife, a Ferrar, not only talks her husband out of the generous support to his half sisters that he promised (albeit vaguely) his dying father but makes life in general unpleasant for the Dashwood ladies until they find a situation with a cousin, John Middleton. Part of the unpleasantness surrounds an apparent but unprofessed affection of her brother, Edward Ferrars, for the eldest Dashwood, Elinor.
It would seem that the move has quashed the supposed attraction, leaving Elinor attempting to contain her disappointment. Marianne meanwhile strikes up an intense relationship with equally extroverted Willoughby. When Willoughby suddenly disappears, the two girls come together to support each other emotionally through a storm of discoveries, pleasant and unpleasant.
Sense and Sensibility develops into its own independent storyline after many similarities with Pride & Prejudice. Although this novel holds its own and is an enjoyable book, I still feel that Pride & Prejudice is its superior in pace, story line and general feel. Sense came out well before Pride and it almost feels that the same idea is being worked out in both - an idea that got clearer and was better communicated in Pride. Pride had a much more natural (believable) feeling to the events where Sense does require a little suspension of disbelief in some of the contrivances to get to a happy ending (specifically referring to the actions of Robert Ferrar). If you liked Pride and want more Austen, this is your book. If you are choosing between the two, choose Pride ... than come back for this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to Jane Austen's Works, June 23 2004
By 
Debbie Lee Wesselmann (the Lehigh Valley, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Penguin Classics Sense And Sensibility (Paperback)
Although SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is not of one Jane Austen's best novels, it is nonetheless a major novel, with the author's then-young talent in full display. Its publication in 1811 marked Austen as a huge literary talent, and its significance reverberates even today as contemporary readers re-discover the works of this author so adept at uncovering the foibles of nineteenth century aristocracy.
The title refers to the two eldest Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, one of whom (Elinor) embraces practicality and restraint while the other (Marianne) gives her whole heart to every endeavor. When the Dashwoods - mother Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and youngest sister Margaret - are sent, almost impoverished, to a small cottage in Devonshire after the death of their father and the machinations of their brother's wife, they accept their new circumstances with as much cheer as they can muster even though their brother and his wife have taken over the family estate and fortune. Their characters, albeit wildly different in their approaches to life, are impeccably honest and intelligent - and their suitors take notice. Elinor falls in love with the shy, awkward Edward, while Marianne's affections are lavished on the dashing hunter Willoughby. As in all Austen's books, love and marriage don't come easily, as affections aren't always returned and social jockeying sometimes takes precedence to true love. In an interestingly twist, the end of this novel brings into question which sister represents which part of the title.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY only hints at the social skewering Austen would use to such great effect in her later novels, and the humor here is only occasional and slight, as this novel adopts a generally serious tone. Parody is largely limited to the gossipy Mrs. Jenkins, who jumps to wild conclusions about situations she knows nothing about. Though arranged marriage and true love figure prominently in all of Austen's novels, this novel focuses almost exclusivity on the prospects of the two main characters, making it less complex than the novels that followed. Reserved Elinor and exuberant Marianne are expertly drawn, with Edward, Willoughby, and Colonel Brandon (whose lovesick hopes for Marianne are dashed again and again) also engaging creations. Except for the first page or two where the circumstances of the Dashwoods are set up through a series of deaths and relations, possibly causing some confusion, this novel is exceedingly easy to follow for contemporary readers.
This novel is an excellent introduction to Jane Austen's works because of its relative simplicity (though readers should not dismiss it as simple) and the use of typical themes and social situations. Book clubs and students might want to explore the influence of money on nineteenth century British society as well as the meaning of the title as it applies to both the sisters and the other characters. It is also interesting to note both the helplessness and the extraordinary power of women in different circumstances.
Just because this is not Austen's best novel, I could not take away a single star because it is such a delightful book. I highly recommend this novel for all readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars still relevent for today, June 1 2004
By 
A. Dan "simoril" (israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a story of two sisters, marrian and elinor, which, though very similar in some aspects, and share a very similar unfortunate love affair, are total different in their behavior and approach toward matters of the heart. Tough both emotional in both seeking love and addressing it, one lets her emotions take over just about everything else, and the other have better balance between love and logic.
I'm not much of a period novel fan, and didn't like the emma tompson movie so much - so i wasn't too keen on reading this book at first, but as i got into the pace of the story, i enjoyed reading it. what i mostly liked about this book is the fact that though it was written a few centuries ago, the emotions describe in it, and the moral this story tells are still very true till today. the way we all need to balance our inner world with consideration and respect for the outer world.
I've been helping two friends through a pretty messy break up while i was reading this book, and i kept quoting parts of it for them, trying to explain how the choice between "being a marrianne" and "being an elinor" is their's and how dealing with grief and lose might be effected by their own approach to love and life in general.
I recommend this book to anyone who ever suffered from a broken heart and had to deal with a break up. It's inspiring and interesting
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5.0 out of 5 stars From the Editor, May 26 2004
By 
Beth Lau (Long Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sense and Sensibility (Paperback)
"Sense and Sensibility," Jane Austen's first published novel (1811), tells the intertwined stories of two contrasting sisters, the lively, passionate, impulsive Marianne and the reserved, self-disciplined, dutiful Elinor. Both experience love, heartache, and eventual happiness in marriage, and both have their beliefs and value systems tested. A host of memorable, comic minor characters combine with the principal heroines and heroes to develop a tale that is both lively and thought provoking, humorous and psychologically astute. Anyone who has ever struggled with conflicts between spontaneity and caution, heart and head, can identify with the central characters of this novel.
This edition of "Sense and Sensibility" includes a number of helpful supplementary materials that enhance the reader's understanding and appreciation of the novel. Excerpts from contemporary texts clarify the historical context of the terms "sense" and "sensibility." Among the works included are selections from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther," a classic example of the novel of sensibility, and Maria Edgeworth's "Letters of Julia and Caroline," an earlier novel of contrasting female characters, in this case two friends, one of whom is sensible and the other romantic and impractical. The edition also includes the whole of Jane Austen's "Love and Freindship" (sic), a hilarious parody of sentimental fiction written when Austen was fourteen. Besides background materials, the volume includes four essays from recent critics that represent a range of different interpretations of the novel.
Finally, the introduction provides useful biographical and historical information and outlines a variety of critical approaches to the novel: some critics believe Elinor is clearly the favored sister and the sense she embodies the preferred value system; some critics by contrast believe the novel either consciously or unconsciously betrays sympathy for Marianne and the sensibility she represents; and other critics believe the novel advocates a middle ground between sense and sensibility, according to which both sisters need to abandon aspects of their initial beliefs and adopt attitudes and behaviors associated with the other sibling. "Sense and Sensibility" has sometimes been criticized for being too didactic and formulaic, but those who read the novel along with the various background, critical, and introductory essays in this volume should discover a work that is richly complex, ambiguous, and many-sided in its exploration of the competing values of emotion and reason, spontaneity and restraint, and personal fulfillment versus duty to others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars With Passion & Reason I Give 5 Stars To Sense & Sensibility!, July 19 2003
Jane Austin is one of my favorite authors. I think that "Persuasion" is her best novel, with both "Sense And Sensibility" and "Pride And Prejudice" tied for second place. "Sense And Sensibility" is an absolutely wonderful book, capturing beautifully the English Regency period's mores, manners, and lifestyles. The central theme deals with the extreme differences in temperaments between two sisters, and the eventual reconciliation and moderation of both their characters and temperaments.
Marianne Dashwood is a passionate young woman, with a definite inclination toward the humanities: art, music and literature. Her heart rules her head, more often than not, and she has a very spontaneous nature. Elinor Dashwood, the older of the two sisters, is much more practical and sensible. While Elinor appreciates the music and literature that her sibling so passionately loves, she definitely thinks things through before making decisions, or taking action, and keeps her personal feelings to herself. She feels tremendous responsibility for her family's well-being. Elinor does have a wonderful, dry sense of humor, and her witty comments enhance the novel. Throughout most of the narrative, Marianne believes that Elinor, whom she dearly loves, is too cold, and restrained - more concerned with propriety than with feelings. She is obviously judgmental concerning Elinor's reticence to freely express her emotions, and she also pities Elinor, for her perceived inadequacies. Elinor, on the other hand, is concerned about Marianne's open and guileless behavior. She fears her sister will be hurt by indulging in her strong emotions, and that conventional society will condemn her for this attribute.
The story opens with the death of Elinor and Marianne's father. He, unavoidably, has left them, along with their mother, (his second wife), and younger sister with little money. They are forced to leave their home, the Norland estate, and move to Barton Cottage, close to a distant relative's estate. Norland and all its treasures have been left to Dashwood's son, by his first wife. The four women have been left on their own, to pursue life, love, and loss in their different manners. 
Both Elinor and Marianne fall deeply in love, while at Barton, and each, in turn, are disappointed by their choices. These devastating losses, plus their adjustments to an entirely different lifestyle, serve to modify their temperaments and change their lives.
"Sense And Sensibility" is a deeply moving novel, with biting satire, especially demonstrated in the characters of Fanny and John Dashwood, and Lucy Steele; and of course Elinor's fine wit adds much to make the reader smile. Ms. Austin's writing is pure elegance. Her female characters are well developed, including those in minor roles. The men, particularly John Willoughby, Edward Ferrars, and Colonel Brandon are very different in nature, and not at all stereotypical. I loved the scenes at Barton Cottage with Marianne and Willoughby, and with Willoughby and the Dashwood family. I also really enjoyed the visit to London and the tragic ball scene.
I found myself laughing and crying while reading this book. So with all the discussion about moderation and passion, Jane Austin, once again, brought out the gamut of emotions in me. I cannot recommend this delightful novel highly enough!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Doat Upon Broadview's "Sense and Sensibility", Sept. 10 2002
This review is from: Sense and Sensibility (Paperback)
Jane Austen's 1811 novel, her first published, "Sense and Sensibility," receives a grand treatment in this Broadview Literary Texts edition, edited by Kathleen James-Cavan. Anyone who knows me knows how I doat on Jane Austen, and for the first time reading her in a Broadview edition, I find myself doating excessively. "Sense and Sensibility" was the first public exposure of Austen's masterful characterization, plotting, and satire to reach the reading public of the Romantic Era. Austen thrives on what I like to call 'the middle of the book,' writing the situations that complicate the lives of her characters, better than almost anyone - almost, it seems, preferring getting her characters and readers in a position to learn from their mistakes, than actually getting them out.
"Sense and Sensibility" begins with the illogic of early 19th century British inheritance law. The hereditary owner of Norland Park is on his deathbed, and invites the heirs of his estate, the Dashwood family, to reside at Norland. The Dashwood's and their three daughters come to live there, but are put into jeopardy soon after by the demise of both Mr. Dashwoods - bringing the next male heir (and the girls' half-brother), John Dashwood and his manipulative wife, Fanny to Norland. Greedy as they are, John and his wife soon drive their half-sisters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, along with their mother, out of Norland, Sussex, to the Devonshire countryside. Here in Devonshire, in a small cottage, and at a considerably reduced income, the Dashwood sisters and their mother struggle to rebuild their life, while the two eldest daughters, Elinor, 19, and Marianne, 17, try to deal with life and love in the English countryside.
Like the well-known "Pride (Darcy) and Prejudice (Bennet)," "Sense and Sensibility"s title can be seen to refer to the character traits that mark its two principle characters - Sense on the side of the Enlightenment-influenced, almost certainly emotionally-repressed Elinor, and the overfine Sensibility of Marianne, a great admirer of dead leaves and the dirty ground. As opposed to the former novel, Austen does not really disparage either, except when carried to excess, as each young woman does, instead seeking, as was popular during the period, to reconcile, or strike a balance between rational logic and emotional response. In their love affairs, Elinor's with a distant cousin, the diffident and somewhat mysterious 24-year old Edward Ferrars, and Marianne's with a younger, and very handsome rogue John Willoughby, the young ladies' moral, social, and aesthetic principles are put to the test. While Elinor and Marianne are two of the most cultured, educated, and refined characters in the novel, and while Austen certainly privileges the country over the London metropolis, she makes clear that the ladies' limited interaction with society at large leaves them in a kind of sheltered ignorance which they must come to terms with, both for their sakes and for the sake of their lovers.
Austen always does a great job with her minor characters, especially those who serve in comic relief roles - or as the butts of her satire, and "Sense and Sensibility" is no different. In their avarice and greed, John and Fanny Dashwood are the epitome of wholly uncultured social climbers and mindless landowners. In her less than refined, but wholly maternal attitudes toward the Miss Dashwoods, Mrs. Jennings (mother of the neglected, but ever cheerful wife Charlotte Palmer and the reticent to a fault Lady Middleton) is as amusing a character, and as warm a mother as one will find in Austen. Colonel Brandon is a fit counterpart to Mrs. Jennings, in his reserved melancholy, while caring just as much about those around him as Mrs. Jennings. The comic pairings of Mr. Palmer and Sir John Middleton with their wives is absolute genius, both being the mirror opposite in style and attitude to their wives - and in particular the relationship between the Palmers, including the continual laughing of Charlotte at the fact that Mr. Palmer "never listens to me" and "never tells me anything," is both highly entertaining, and at the same time, one of the most troubling relationships in the novel.
I've praised James-Cavan's handling of this Broadview edition, and now may be a good time to say some more on that head. Broadview and its editors, like the people who put together the Norton Critical Editions, concern themselves with really presenting literary texts in a solid foundation of cultural, theoretical, and critical contexts. "Sense and Sensibility" contains a real treasure trove of such material - the two contemporary reviews of Austen's novel from 1812, generous selections of essays from the late 1700's and early 1800's on contemporary debates on the meanings of the words "sense" and "sensibility," and on the cult of sensibility and the picturesque. Also included are exerpts from poems referenced by Marianne throughout the novel, illustrations of the vehicles they travel in, and a map of the character's London residences. James-Cavan's excellent introduction also lays out the novel's issues in their contemporary, cultural, critical, and theoretical contexts, none more obtrusive than any other, and all quite helpful. Altogether, the Broadview "Sense and Sensibility" is a tremendous edition for Austen scholars and casual Janeites alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Doat Excessively on Broadview's "Sense and Sensibility"!, Aug. 28 2002
This review is from: Sense and Sensibility (Paperback)
Jane Austen's 1811 novel, her first published, "Sense and Sensibility," receives a grand treatment in this Broadview Literary Texts edition, edited by Kathleen James-Cavan. Anyone who knows me knows how I doat on Jane Austen, and for the first time reading her in a Broadview edition, I find myself doating excessively. "Sense and Sensibility" was the first public exposure of Austen's masterful characterization, plotting, and satire to reach the reading public of the Romantic Era. Austen thrives on what I like to call 'the middle of the book,' writing the situations that complicate the lives of her characters, better than almost anyone - almost, it seems, preferring getting her characters and readers in a position to learn from their mistakes, than actually getting them out.
"Sense and Sensibility" begins with the illogic of early 19th century British inheritance law. The hereditary owner of Norland Park is on his deathbed, and invites the heirs of his estate, the Dashwood family, to reside at Norland. The Dashwood's and their three daughters come to live there, but are put into jeopardy soon after by the demise of both Mr. Dashwoods - bringing the next male heir (and the girls' half-brother), John Dashwood and his manipulative wife, Fanny to Norland. Greedy as they are, John and his wife soon drive their half-sisters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, along with their mother, out of Norland, Sussex, to the Devonshire countryside. Here in Devonshire, in a small cottage, and at a considerably reduced income, the Dashwood sisters and their mother struggle to rebuild their life, while the two eldest daughters, Elinor, 19, and Marianne, 17, try to deal with life and love in the English countryside.
Like the well-known "Pride (Darcy) and Prejudice (Bennet)," "Sense and Sensibility"s title can be seen to refer to the character traits that mark its two principle characters - Sense on the side of the Enlightenment-influenced, almost certainly emotionally-repressed Elinor, and the overfine Sensibility of Marianne, a great admirer of "dead leaves" and the "picturesque." As opposed to the former novel, Austen does not really disparage either, except when carried to excess, as each young woman does, instead seeking, as was popular during the period, to reconcile, or strike a balance between rational logic and emotional response. In their love affairs, Elinor's with a distant cousin, the diffident and somewhat mysterious 24-year old Edward Ferrars, and Marianne's with a younger, and very handsome rogue John Willoughby, the young ladies' moral, social, and aesthetic principles are put to the test. While Elinor and Marianne are two of the most cultured, educated, and refined characters in the novel, and while Austen certainly privileges the country over the London metropolis, she makes clear that the ladies' limited interaction with society at large leaves them in a kind of sheltered ignorance which they must come to terms with, both for their sakes and for the sake of their lovers.
Austen always does a great job with her minor characters, especially those who serve in comic relief roles - or as the butts of her satire, and "Sense and Sensibility" is no different. In their avarice and greed, John and Fanny Dashwood are the epitome of wholly uncultured social climbers and mindless landowners. In her less than refined, but wholly maternal attitudes toward the Miss Dashwoods, Mrs. Jennings (mother of the neglected, but ever cheerful wife Charlotte Palmer and the reticent to a fault Lady Middleton) is as amusing a character, and as warm a mother as one will find in Austen. Colonel Brandon is a fit counterpart to Mrs. Jennings, in his reserved melancholy, while caring just as much about those around him as Mrs. Jennings. The comic pairings of Mr. Palmer and Sir John Middleton with their wives is absolute genius, both being the mirror opposite in style and attitude to their wives - and in particular the relationship between the Palmers, including the continual laughing of Charlotte at the fact that Mr. Palmer "never listens to me" and "never tells me anything," is both highly entertaining, and at the same time, one of the most troubling relationships in the novel.
I've praised James-Cavan's handling of this Broadview edition, and now may be a good time to say some more on that head. Broadview and its editors, like the people who put together the Norton Critical Editions, concern themselves with really presenting literary texts in a solid foundation of cultural, theoretical, and critical contexts. "Sense and Sensibility" contains a real treasure trove of such material - the two contemporary reviews of Austen's novel from 1812, generous selections of essays from the late 1700's and early 1800's on contemporary debates on the meanings of the words "sense" and "sensibility," and on the cult of sensibility and the picturesque. Also included are exerpts from poems referenced by Marianne throughout the novel, illustrations of the vehicles they travel in, and a map of the character's London residences. James-Cavan's excellent introduction also lays out the novel's issues in their contemporary, cultural, critical, and theoretical contexts, none more obtrusive than any other, and all quite helpful. Altogether, the Broadview "Sense and Sensibility" is a tremendous edition for Austen scholars and casual Janeites alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for women, lovers and . . . sisters, Dec 3 2001
By 
Kimberly M Wilson "precisioner" (Newport News, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"Sense and Sensiblity" is a masterpiece. It's greatness and universality, besides it's pure entertainment value, can be extolled all day long. So its very easy, when you are dealing with a masterpiece, to lean on clichés to describe a work.

But I don't want to do that. I will, however, tell you that for young romantics who believe in Mr. Right and long walks on the beach, this novel takes you through the breathtaking ride of falling, captively, into love and falling, quite willfully, out. Also, you vicariously experience the emotional stupor of coming out on the other side of such a relationship exhausted...and wiser. Also, if you're like me, you can wrestle with the tale of a woman who believes in the security of decisiveness. Her conflict is how to be sensible in an insensible world, and then, finally, how to reconcile the whimsicleness in herself. Where does the mind retreat and the heart take over? "Sense and Sensiblity" lastly is a tale for sisters. A truly unique relationship, Jane Austen captures the complexity of sisters--persons, peers even, that are equipped with the same tools in life but that often are very different. And despite these differences, share an eternal bond that can only be severed by themselves. "Sense and Sensibility" is worth the time and money any day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Nov. 25 2001
By A Customer
I have to say I loved this book. Most of the cogent points about this book have been pointed out already, so I'm not going to repeat them, but add some comments additional to what has been stated already.
It's not Austen's best book, it's a simpler book than the ones that come after it, but that does at least make it easier to read - each successive book is a quantum leap in terms of style, narrative, dialogue and plotting over the previous, and Austen was changing the way novels would be written forever.
Not that this is a bad book. Personally I liked it because it has something that's not so obvious in her later books, with the exception of Persuasion - the rock hard scathing judgment that comes accross in her letters - her obvious contempt for characters like Sir John Middleton, Lady Ferrars is searing in it's acidity.
There are some excellent scenes - the scenes with Lucy and Elinor are classics in their own right, and the coup de theatre scenes when Edward bursts in on Elinor and Lucy, or Elinor throwing open the door after waiting for her mother when Marrianne is desperatly ill, instead finds only - Willoughby!
Although the habit of the author colouring the narrative with her own opinions does get irratating at times, (a lesson she'd learnt by the time she wrote Pride & Prejudice, which is neutral and unbiased) this still makes for a marvellous read. Marianne's sensibitility is breathtaking, and the revelation of how individual behaviour is fundamental in preserving the very fabric of society is unsurpassed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Austen City Limits, July 16 2001
By 
This review is from: Sense and Sensibility (Paperback)
There are two schools of Austen. The first, her ardent admirers, adore everything she does; the second find the snobby world her characters inhabit a perpetual turnoff. Belonging to neither category myself, this book strikes me as somewhat tentative, in regards to Austen's development as a writer. This opinion I'm sure won't endear me to the legions of Austen fans who treasure every word she wrote. But though the story itself is a fine one, the novel as a whole lacks the attention to detail, character, and metaphor that Austen would perfect in her later novels (particularly "Mansfield Park," which never seems to get the accolades this novel and "Pride and Prejudice" do). Though Austen compensates for this with various literary techniques (creating an opposite foil for all of her characters, constructing parallels for various scenes, etc.), when it comes right down to it, this is the work of a beginner, a writer just beginning to get her bearings. I know "S&S" has its passionate proponents, mostly on the basis of its romantic plot, and heartfelt depiction of the love lives of two very different sisters. But on the whole, this book derives its strength mostly from straightforward storytelling, rather than imaginative and poetic writing. Not a bad beginning, but Austen definitely improved her game with her future novels. (...)
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Penguin Classics Sense And Sensibility by Jane Austen (Paperback - Dec 30 2014)
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