Sense and Sensibility
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
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"I wish as well as everybody else to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else it must be in my own way."
Following the death of Mr. Dashwood, a beloved father and noble squire, his widow and three daughters look to John Dashwood, a son by Mr. Dashwood's first wife, to ensure their financial security now that he is to come to Sussex to inherit Norland. But as an avaricious man under the influence of a manipulative wife, John soon convinces himself he is not betraying his father's dying wishes when he sends his step-mother and half-sisters away to Devon to live under debased circumstances and to rely upon the kind interest of Sir John Middleton, a distant relative and very charitable squire— besides other wealthy neighbors, among them the rather mysterious Colonel Brandon of Delaford. Thus harmed, and thus helped, are the marriage prospects of the eldest daughters, Elinor and Marianne. And yet, Elinor— sensible, and though reticent, deeply sentimental— comes to love the virtuous, though shy and awkward, Edward Ferrars; and Marriane— passionate and spirited, but not very perceptive— quickly falls for John Willoughby, who may be lacking in virtue where he has an abundance in charm. But marriage is not near at hand for either sister, as time reveals, and preoccupations with poverty and avarice, at the cost of virtue— or virtue at the cost of happiness— exacerbate.
Though neither overtly nor essentially a political novel, it is noteworthy that Sense and Sensibility, as set in England at the end of the eighteen century, in the years following a naturally-caused famine that left the lower classes dependent upon the charity of the higher to keep them from starvation, exhibits the humanity of those gentries from whom charity sometimes came and sometimes was but promised.
A novel subtle and profound, from an authoress who has been held in high esteem by many of the great writers and intellectuals of the past two centuries, Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility belongs in every library.
All of Jane Austen's novels are masterful works of art, and Sense and Sensibility is particularly thoughtful by way of the decisions and reflections of our two heroines. I own all of Jane Austen's novels and often come back to reread them. I believe her one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Everyone should read her— men, let not the film adaptations scare you away, her novels were written for your enjoyment as well as that of the other sex.