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Sense and Sensibility (Bantam Classics)by Jane Austen
Synopses & Reviews
In 1811, Jane Austens first published work, Sense and Sensibility, marked the debut of Englands premier novelist of manners. Believing that “3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to work on,” she created a brilliant tragicomedy of flirtation and folly. Romantic walks through lush Devonshire and genteel dinner parties at a stately manor draw two pretty sisters into the schemes and manipulations of landed gentry determined to marry wisely and well. Neither sense nor sensibility can guarantee happiness for either—as romantic Marianne falls prey to a dangerous rascal, and reasonable Elinor loses her heart to a gentleman already engaged. Wonderfully entertaining yet subtle and probing in its characterizations, Sense and Sensibility richly displays the supreme artistry of a great English novelist.
Published in 1811, Sense and Sensibility has delighted generations of readers with its masterfully crafted portrait of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Forced to leave their home after their father's death, Elinor and Marianne must rely on making good marriages as their means of support. But unscrupulous cads, meddlesome matriarchs, and various guileless and artful women impinge on their chances for love and happiness. The novelist Elizabeth Bowen wrote, "The technique of [Jane Austen's novels] is beyond praise....Her mastery of the art she chose, or that chose her, is complete."
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition contains a new Introduction by Pulitzer Prize finalist David Gates, in addition to new explanatory notes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in the village of Steventon, Hampshire. Where her father was the rector. She was the seventh child in a boisterous family of six boys and two girls. Reading and playacting were favorite family pastimes, and Austen began writing as a young girl. Her Juvenillia, written between 1787 and 1795, survive in three notebooks and include Lady Susan, a shot novel-in-letters. In 1796 she completed another epistolary novel called Elinor and Marianne, later revised to become Sense and Sensibility. In 1797 she finished the first version of Pride and Prejudice, called “First Impressions.” Northanger Abbey, the last of the early novels, was written in 1798 or 1799 as “Susan.”
Until 1801, when her father retired and the family moved to Bath, Austen enjoyed a comfortable life, mixing in the best society in the neighborhood, keeping a carriage and a pair of horses, and attending dances at the stately homes of the local gentry. Neither she nor her sister Cassandra married, but the reason for this remains conjectural, as Cassandra burned or censored Austen’s surviving letters after her death. The eight years following the move from Steventon were evidently unsettled and unhappy ones. The Watsons, her only writing from this period, was never completed. But from 1809, when settled again in her beloved Hampshire, until her final illness in 1817, she lived a productive life in a pleasant cottage in Chawton provided by her wealthy brother Edward.
In 1811, Sense and Sensibility was published anonymously: the title page stated only that it was “By a Lady.” Immediately successful, this first novel was followed by Pride and Prejudice in 1813 and Mansfeild Park in 1814. Emma, written between 1814 and 1815, was “respectfully dedicated” at royal command to George IV. In 1816, already in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised “Susan” into Northanger Abbey. Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at he death on July 18, 1817. Austen’s identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her favorite brother, Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in 1818.
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