Review: Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”

by writereaderly

This one, as MM so aptly put it, was the “palate cleanser” I needed to compensate for the pathetic Aboulela and the wartime intensity of other part-time reads. Elinor is all sense, her sister Marianne an adolescent model of sensibility (aka melodrama); the two suffer early 19th-century scandals and end up with the best men available, the end. But that’s just Austen for you: delightful, as ever. She’s so droll, so sharp in her characterisation, such an excellent wordsmith – I can add nothing new on that front, I’m sure.

This rereading fulfilled the long overdue task of separating Sense and Sensibility and Howard’s End in my head, forever merged by an Emma Thomson/Merchant Ivory-infused year some time in the mid ’90s. I was struck by the emotional isolation caused by Elinor’s unrelenting good sense, and reminded of my own frequent transports into ridiculous sensibility (sigh). I was also entertained to read Marianne’s opinion of a 35-year-old suitor as one who “might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment”, and who was now in an “advanced state of life”. This review goes out to all my elderly friends, with love and not too much good sense.

Where it came from: Opshop
Time and manner of reading: All the time which could be spared around dental kerfuffle
Where it went: Gifted on the AL
Reminds me of: —
Who I’d recommend it to:
Those in need of a dose of classic Austen
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; Selected Essays by George Orwell; Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks; Picturing Canada by Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman (just the images); The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler