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Sense and Sensibility
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Sense and Sensibility > Discussion 1: Chapters 1-22

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message 1: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
We will discuss the first third of the book here.


message 2: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
Sense and Sensibility is the first novel published by Jane Austen. It was published in 1811 under the pseudonym "A Lady". A work of romantic fiction, better known as a comedy of manners, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England, London and Kent between 1792 and 1797] and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne.

Northanger Abbey was written first, but was published posthumously in December 1917.


message 3: by ☯Emily , The First (last edited Feb 26, 2016 07:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
What does the title mean? I found the following website helpful when reading the book: http://www.novelguide.com/sense-and-s...

This quote is from that article: "The cult of sensibility was an eighteenth-century literary and intellectual movement which elevated sensibility above reason and other standards of right action. It argued that to have acute and heightened feelings was a sign of superior character. The cult of sensibility led to the sentimental novel, in which the hero is preoccupied with his or her sufferings in love and other emotions. Such characters were prone to weeping or fainting fits or attacks of extreme weakness as a response to emotionally moving experiences.

Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility partly as a critique of the cult of sensibility, to which she was exposed in her youthful reading. She believed that there were problems with placing ultimate value on sensibility as a way of perceiving the world. By showing us how the two sisters, Elinor (“sense”) and Marianne Dashwood (“sensibility”), manage their love relationships, Austen attempts to show the dangers of excessive sensibility, or feeling."


message 4: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
As you read the book, try to analyze how you would or have managed your love relationships. Are you more sense or sensibility? What are the problems that can occur when you see life and love in a sensible manner and what are the issues you will encounter if you lean towards sensibility (reacting with emotion.)


Tracey (traceyrb) | 0 comments Thanks for the information. I am thinking too much of either way can cause problems; to see the world purely with emotion or purely with reason and no emotion. A balance of the two maybe is best. And some situations demand more of one than the other. Just my initial thoughts. I am waiting for the book to arrive so haven't started reading yet.


Everyman | 52 comments ☯Emily wrote: "What does the title mean?"

Sensibility meant then something much different than sensible means now. The best definition from the OED for what I think Austen's use is is "Quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling; the quality of being easily and strongly affected by emotional influences."

Here's what I think Austen meant by the title, but has a bit of a spoiler: (view spoiler)


message 7: by ☯Emily , The First (last edited Mar 08, 2016 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
What did you think of John's actions in Chapter 1 and 2 in regards to his promise to his father to provide for his sisters? I find Jane Austen was astute as she described his thought processes in order to justify his actions.


message 8: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
I read the following statement in Cliffsnotes: "Unlike contemporary novelists, Jane Austen never describes cruelty explicitly. Instead, she uses what critic Mark Schorer calls "verbal brutalities" to shock the reader into seeing the cruelty that underlies social pride. Fanny Dashwood, in this chapter, coolly urges her husband to be incredibly callous and selfish toward his stepmother and half-sisters. Although she never says so in plain words, she obviously delights in the prospect of near-penury for the Dashwoods and even begrudges her mother-in-law the china, linen, and plate that have been left to her by her husband."

Do you agree with this analysis?


message 9: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
Chapter 3 shows us Elinor's practical side and Marianne's sensibility as she describes the "perfect suitor." She said, "I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter into all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both."


message 10: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1162 comments Mod
How does Willoughby meet all of Marianne's romantic notions? Is this a good indication of a wonderful love match leading to a happy and secure marriage?


message 11: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 1 star

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
☯Emily wrote: "How does Willoughby meet all of Marianne's romantic notions? Is this a good indication of a wonderful love match leading to a happy and secure marriage?"

I would say no. One can have the same tastes and not be a good match.


Powder River Rose (powderriverrose) ☯Emily wrote: "I read the following statement in Cliffsnotes: "Unlike contemporary novelists, Jane Austen never describes cruelty explicitly. Instead, she uses what critic Mark Schorer calls "verbal brutalities" ..." Message 8

Wholeheartedly agree. What a nasty, self-possessed female


message 13: by Powder River Rose (last edited Mar 08, 2016 09:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Powder River Rose (powderriverrose) Everyman wrote: "☯Emily wrote: "What does the title mean?"

Sensibility meant then something much different than sensible means now. The best definition from the OED for what I think Austen's use is is "Quickness a..."
Message 6

Everyman, I think you are right and Austin tells us throughout who she believes has each but it's rather masked within sentences.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 357 comments I'm up to Chapter 9. Wonderful writing!


Tracey (traceyrb) | 0 comments Having read the first 22 chapters here are my thoughts:
Elinor appears to be older than her 19 years; wise and able to contain her emotions, which she does have despite Marianne's thinking that those who do not proclaim their feelings constantly do not have 'sensitive' feelings.
Marianne is more immature in her thoughts and expressions but can be brought to consider things from time to time when her sister points discrepancies in her thinking out to her. There is intelligence in both sisters.
Jane Austen writes with wit and a rye sense of humour, She is a people watcher and takes note of what people do that is contrast to what they say.
Lastly, Mr. Palmer is so droll! He gets through life by snubbing all inconsistencies by being deliberately opposite to convention.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 357 comments I've read the first 21 chapters.

I think the discussion between John & his wife is some of Austen's best writing.

Marianne's sensibility reminds me a lot (embarrassingly so) of myself as a teenager. Melodramatic & thinking my latest romance is the most important thing in the world!


Everyman | 52 comments Carol ♔ Typo Queen! ♔ wrote: "Marianne's sensibility reminds me a lot (embarrassingly so) of myself as a teenager. Melodramatic & thinking my latest romance is the most important thing in the world! "

Austen has one of the best senses of how people actually think of any author.


Karlyne Landrum Everyman wrote: " Carol ♔ Typo Queen! ♔ wrote: "Marianne's sensibility reminds me a lot (embarrassingly so) of myself as a teenager. Melodramatic & thinking my latest romance is the most important thing in the worl..."

I agree! And, most importantly, she's not limited by thinking that all people everywhere think just exactly as she does.


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