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Sense and Sensibility (Barnes & Noble Classics) Hardcover – October 21, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,002 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Austen is the hot property of the entertainment world with new feature film versions of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility on the silver screen and Pride and Prejudice hitting the TV airwaves on PBS. Such high visibility will inevitably draw renewed interest in the original source materials. These new Modern Library editions offer quality hardcovers at affordable prices.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Laura Engel’s Introduction to Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s first published novel, tells the story of the lives, loves, and longings of two sisters, the sensitive, romantic Marianne and the practical, even-tempered Elinor. With its extended cast of supporting characters, including the garrulous Mrs. Jennings, the stern Mr. Palmer, and the censorious Mrs. Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility revolves around two narratives: the possible romances of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood and the day-to-day existence of everyone else. The constant anxiety that pervades the story stems from the possibility that the sisters may have to make do with the mundanity of country life, cluttered with gossip, clamor, and superficiality, instead of being swept away by the men of their dreams. In typical Austen fashion we are made aware from the outset that Marianne’s choice of suitor, the dashing and theatrical Willoughby, may be a disaster. Elinor’s more subdued love object, the shy and awkward Edward Ferrars, on the other hand, just might prove himself worthy if he could manage to articulate a full sentence.



Austen began working on Sense and Sensibility in 1795 with an epistolary fragment entitled “Elinor and Marianne” (now lost). The final version was not published until 1811, with a second edition issued in 1813 (Austen-Leigh, Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters). Once described as “bleak, dark, and nasty” compared with the “brightness” of Pride and Prejudice or the complexity of her more mature works Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility has recently undergone a critical renaissance. New editions, renewed scholarship, and a critically acclaimed film version have put the novel center stage.



Sense and Sensibility is a coming-of-age novel, and also a work that chronicles Austen’s own “coming of age”—her development as a writer. When she began working on “Elinor and Marianne” she was only twenty, a young woman with the possibility of courtship, marriage, and family open to her. By the time the second edition of the novel was released, Austen had moved from Hampshire to Bath, lost her adoring father, been disappointed in love, rejected a marriage proposal, and relocated again with her mother and sister to Chawton, where she turned her attention to writing. Austen’s sense of herself in the world must have been influenced by her close relationship with her only sister, Cassandra, who similarly was disappointed in love and in the awkward position of elder spinster aunt to a large and noisy upper-middle-class country family.



The only surviving portrait of Austen, a watercolor sketch by her sister, depicts the author as a plain, pensive subject with large eyes and a slight hint of a smile. She appears proper and subdued, unlike the description of her by a family friend, who pronounced her “certainly pretty—bright & a good deal of colour in her face—like a doll” (Tomalin, Jane Austen: A Life). Austen’s niece Anna’s view of her aunt matches Cassandra’s portrayal of her: “Her complexion [is] of that rare sort which seems the particular property of light brunettes: a mottled skin, not fair, but perfectly clear and healthy; the fine naturally curling hair, neither light nor dark; the bright hazel eyes to match the rather small, but well shaped nose” (Austen-Leigh).



In keeping with Austen’s status as a respectable daughter of a clergyman, Sense and Sensibility was first published anonymously. The initial advertisement for the novel, which appeared in the Morning Chronicle on October 31, 1811, refers to the author as “A Lady.” A subsequent notice in the same paper on November 7, 1811, bills the work as “an extraordinary novel by A Lady.” A few weeks later the book was announced as “an Interesting Novel by Lady A” (Austen-Leigh, p. 254). Austen apparently made some money on the first edition. Her biographers Richard and William Austen-Leigh note that the £140 profit from the first edition of Sense and Sensibility was a considerable sum compared to the lesser proceeds her female contemporaries earned from their novels—the £30 Fanny Burney gained from sales of Evelina or the £100 Maria Edgeworth received for Castle Rackrent.



Austen was influenced by the writers of her youth. She adored Samuel Richardson, read Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Dr. Johnson, Alexander Pope, William Cowper, Henry Fielding, and Daniel Defoe, and recited passages from Fanny Burney aloud (Gay, Jane Austen and the Theatre). In Sense and Sensibility Austen echoes earlier novelists while at the same time anticipating the format of the nineteenth-century novel. Austen’s choice of translating “Elinor and Marianne” from an epistolary narrative (a novel in letters) into a story told by a central narrator allowed her to juxtapose the internal and external facets of her heroines. What we see Elinor do is often contrasted with what we know she is thinking. This gap between thought and action is highlighted repeatedly throughout the novel.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics (October 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159308336X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593083366
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,002 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,479,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
One of the Dashwood daughters is smart, down-to-earth and sensible. The other is wildly romantic and sensitive.

And in a Jane Austen novel, you can guess that there are going to be romantic problems aplenty for both of them -- along with the usual entailment issues, love triangles, sexy bad boys and societal scandals. "Sense and Sensibility" is a quietly clever, romantic little novel that builds up to a dramatic peak on Marianne's romantic troubles, while also quietly exploring Elinor's struggles.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, his entire estate is entailed to his weak son John and snotty daughter-in-law Fanny. His widow and her three daughters are left with little money and no home.

Over the next few weeks, the eldest daughter Elinor begins to fall for Fanny's studious, quiet brother Edward... but being the down-to-earth one, she knows she hasn't got a chance. Her impoverished family soon relocates to Devonshire, where a tiny cottage is being rented to them by one of Mrs. Dashwood's relatives -- and Marianne soon attracts the attention of two men. One is the quiet, much older Colonel Brandon, and the other is the dashing and romantic Willoughby.

But things begin to spiral out of control when Willoughby seems about to propose to Marianne... only to abruptly break off his relationship with her. And during a trip to London, both Elinor and Marianne discover devastating facts about the men they are in love with -- both of them are engaged to other women. And after disaster strikes the Dashwood family, both the sisters will discover what real love is about...

At its heart, "Sense and Sensibility" is about two girls with completely opposite personalities, and the struggle to find love when you're either too romantic or too reserved for your own good.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sense & Sensibility has been reviewed ad infinitum, but I wanted to say that this is one of the most beautiful books I own.

I was looking for a series of classics that I could purchase in hardcover to spruce up my personal library. I stumbled upon these special editions from Penguin Classics, with covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. I love books, but these books still make me giddy with delight when I pick them up. The covers have so much character and they're sturdy. The fonts are classic and easy to read, and the paper is substantial. The ribbon bookmarks, that match the cover, are a really nice touch. The only bad thing I can say, and it's so minor, is that the binding is a little stiff when the book is new. It loosens as you read.

There are more titles available, though some are still exclusive to the UK. I truly hope Amazon and Penguin make all editions available in the US and keep them coming!
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Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase
The audio is great if you can play it. Before buying the CD I tried to find out if it came in CD version so that I could play it in my car on my 35 minute commute to wk. I had bought Jane Austin compact disc collection and was able to play it in my car; so I compared it's notes with this version and they both said CD. I wished they had included the notation from the back of the CD. It would have saved me lots of time in research. on the back of the audio case it says "Please note that this MP3-CD will play only on CD and DVD players or computers that have the ability to play MP3-formatted discs. For more information about MP3 format and MP3-CDs, please visit our website at : [...]," as I was not able to play the CD in my car and visiting the website gave no info on MP3 format and MP3-CDs,needless to say I was a bit disappointed; as I had ordered Northhanger Abbey,Sense and Sensibilitiy and Mansfield Park all with the same format.
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